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Cyanide Warning in Nyc?



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Franks in Charge?



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Monkey Business



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Danish, eh, Jonah? Be warned that, since my last post on those translated apes, new versions of the phrase continue to pour in. Amongst the highlights – Turkish, Estonian, Georgian, Russian, Arabic, Pidgin and an approving comment that one of the rival Polish texts cited on Monday used the term ‘Malpiszony’, a diminutive – and thus, apparently, additionally insulting, way of describing our cheese-eating friends. Another revelation was the discovery that the Polish term for monkey wrench literally translates as ‘French key’, not inappropriate when one considers what Chirac has thrown into NATO’s machinery.

Web Briefing: January 26, 2015

Simpsons, The French Et Moi



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From a good piece in the Philadelphia Inquirier:

Creator Matt Groening has been skewering Gallic mores since the show’s first season. In the 1990 episode “The Crepes of Wrath,” Bart goes to France as an exchange student, only to be exploited by unscrupulous wine dealers.

But it was an episode eight years ago that spawned an insult for the ages. Groundskeeper Willie, forced by budget cuts to teach French at Springfield’s elementary school, bellows to the class in his rich Scottish burr, “BONJOURRRRRR, ye cheese-eatin’ surrender monkeys.”

The phrase, kept alive ever since by Internet bloggers and columnist Jonah Goldberg, has caused puzzlement in France. On Saturday, conservative newspaper Le Figaro translated it as “primates capitulards et toujours en quête de fromages,” or, roughly, “capitulating primates always questing for cheeses.”

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Guess Where Mugabe Is Headed?



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White House Estrada Letter



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The PDF version of White House Counsel Al Gonzales’ letter responding to Senate Democrats on Miguel Estrada is now online here.

Duct



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Psychiatrist/Historians Wanted



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I’m noodling something. I was wondering if anybody knows whether paranoid delusions about the government pre-dated the welfare/national security state. In other words, did people in the 19th (or 14th) century believe the government was watching them? I would assume not, but I simply don’t know. I’m wondering if certain forms of paranoia — religious, superstitious, demonic etc — have been transferred to fear of the state. I know this isn’t an entirely new idea. After all the whole idea of the “anti-Communist witch hunt” — the quotation marks are necessary since there were real witches in our midst — is predicated on the notion that government-enabled hysteria is a real fear. But what I find interesting is that even real mental cases think the CIA bugs their brains, talks to them through receivers in their heads etc. I know that there are real physiological reasons for this, but what form did these physiological manifestations take before there was a CIA? Was it the devil? God? The Masons? (Before we imagined rectal-probing aliens were constantly visiting us, what malevolant forces were making us sing moon river?)

I ask, because maybe it’s possible that one of the major historical factors explaining the rise of secularism and liberal society — among other things — is that the State replaced other forces as the object of our fears and hopes. Anyway, it’s just something I’m noodling.

Mary McGrory



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Last week, she wrote that Colin Powell persuaded her that Saddam Hussein “is more of a menace than I thought,” and that while she is “not ready for war yet” she understands “that it might be the only way to stop a fiend, and that if we do go, there is reason.” She trusts Powell because he’s not one of those Bush warmongers. This week she spends more time bashing those alleged warmongers, and encouraging various worthies to go to Baghdad to act as human shields for Saddam Hussein–i.e., to deter Bush from bombing. So the president’s policy may be necessary, but meanwhile let’s throw sand in the gears? If we’re to read these columns as representing a coherent point of view, which is admittedly a stretch with McGrory, we would have to conclude that shielding Saddam is a more hawkish position than she would have taken before Powell’s presentation. Amazing.

I Rest My Case



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Scroll down to the tenth cartoon, “An American in Paris.”

But....



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If I don’t think the French are being cowardly, why do I keep using the phrase? That’s the question several reporters and interviewers have asked me over the last week or so. The answer is simple: They keep asking me to. It’s become my own “Whatyoutalkingwillis?” or “Well, excuuuuse me!”

I did one live debate for British TV a couple weeks ago and the host of the show, went out of the way during the commercial break to ask me to say the words for his audience. It’s very weird.

Duct and Duck



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An answer to the big question of the week: Is it duct or duck?

“Oste-ÆDende Kapitulationsaber”



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That’s Danish for — you guessed it — cheese-eating surrender monkeys. I learned this because one of Denmark’s leading newspapers, Berlingske Tidende, translated the phrase for their readers. In the last few weeks the Economist, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, The Times (London), the Straits Times (Singapore) and a half-dozen other newspapers and magazines around the world have mentioned the Oste-ædende kapitulationsaber, usually giving me credit for popularizing the phrase. I’ve got a piece coming out in this Sunday’s LA Times explaining my actual position on the French. But, in the meantime, let me say that I’ve been wronged by all of them, including Rich Lowry.

I have never argued in the current context that France is afraid of Iraq.
Yes, yes, yes, I have referred to the Chee….er…the Oste-ædende kapitulationsaber on more than a few occassions. Yes, I was Frog-bashing before Frog bashing was cool. But many people, Rich and Mark Steyn included, have conjured the CESM phrase, attributed it to me in the context, and then asserted that I think France is being cowardly. I don’t think they’re being cowardly. I think they’re being jerks, but not cowards.

Re: I Have Returned



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I Have Returned



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Baby Lucy and Momma Jessica are doing great, but still in the hospital until at least tomorrow. So, I’m clearing the decks, getting back in gear etc. Thanks to everybody for their kind notes, advice etc. You might not be surprised to hear that I haven’t been able to respond to many/any of them, but I am still reading and saving them for Jessica and Lucy to read (though probably not at the same time). Anyway, I might address everything I’ve learned about fatherhood in a column later on, but in general I am not inclined to make my daughter into regular column fodder. I mean, what would my couch and my dog think?

Sadddam Hussein - Eco-Criminal



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Maybe this will convince some environmental groups to support regime change in Iraq.

Geez, Rod



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I don’t know why I didn’t think of this yesterday: Ever consider the silence in the subway was people in shock from the Millionaire cliffhanger?

“Doomsday Has Been Democratized”



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No Way!



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Not before I find out if that mouth-breathing Joe Millionaire lug chooses the nice girl or the hoochie mama!

Parents Prefer Abstinence



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According to a new Zogby poll:
–73.5% of parents approve or strongly approve of abstinence-centered sex education.
–61.1% of parents disapprove or strongly disapprove of “comprehensive” or “safe sex” education.
–75.3% of parents disapprove or strongly disapprove of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sex education curriculum. (More info here.)

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