Good evening, Guten Abend, Bon soir, Buena sera, Buenas noches, Goeden avond, Dobrij wetscher! (bow)
You know, in real life I am a translator. Now that's a typical job for an expatriot American like me here in Berlin. See, I usually translate from one language to another; like from German into English.
But recently I just got an unusual kind of translation assignment. You may have heard in the news that now, after the war in Iraq is over, the Bush administration has been putting pressure on other countries because of their lack of support and participation. You know: the so-called "axis of the unwilling". Well, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the French government would suffer the consequences (evil laugh). Well, one of the consequences is that the word "French" will be cut as much as possible from the English language - or should I say the American language (evil laugh).
So, you can help me now in translating government policy into language by helping me going over my list of suggestions that I shall submit to the Secretary of State. You won't believe how many terms there are with the word "French" ...
(Pull out roll of toilet paper, let unroll to floor.)
Oh well, guess that's much too long a list for one evening. We'll take just a few off the top then. (Rip off 3-4 sheets.)
I'm sure you've all heard of french fries now being called liberty or freedom fries. And some people call it freedom kissing instead of french kissing.
Well, what do you think about these colors: french beige, french gray, french green, french ocher, french scarlet, french ultramarine, french vermilion, and french yellow?
Oh well, who needs so many different hues? We'll stick to the good 'ol red-white-and-blue. Hope though that they don't go so far as what the Sherwin-Williams paint Company suggests with their slogan: "Cover the earth" with those three colors.
And there are so many terms that deal with fashion:
french cuff, french foot, french-headed curtains, french heel, french hem, french hood, french kid, french knot, french seal, french seam, french tack, and french toe?
Good grief! If we cut all those out, half the country is going to walk around naked! I don't think the President will stand for it when the outfits of the First Lady fall off of her 'cause they don't have anymore french seams. So how about "security" seams? Nice and tight, so that they don't come apart. Let's just hope security doesn't get so tight you can't breathe.
And then there are so many other so-called french foods. I won't eat them all now, ... I mean go through them all now, but french toast is one of my favorites though. You know, the French don't know about french toast. They actually call it "pain perdu" - that means "lost bread". You know how you make french toast; white bread dunked into an egg-milk batter and then fried. (pantomime mixing) Hey, where'd my bread go? I dunked it in the batter and now I can't find it anymore! Well, so I suggest we call it 'lost toast' from now on. Just don't tell anyone where we got the idea from, shh, OK?
I already mentioned french kissing. Actually it is already also known as deep kissing, so I guess we can simply fall back on that. No need to force a new term down anybody's throat.
So, continuing down lover's lane, we have the verb "to french" - you know what that means (a-hem): oral sex. Well, that makes me think: - oh no, not like that, folks - remember how french fries turned to freedom fries? And you know the official name for the war is "Operation Iraqi Freedom", so when the Iraqi army was being attacked, they were really getting a good licking.
Then there is the french disease. Do you know what the proper medical term is? Anyone know? (Get audience response.) Syphilis. Hey, that's one we might as well keep. (evil laugh)
But, to prevent the french disease from spreading, there is something that the British call french letter, and the Germans for that matter call "Pariser" - the ol' condom.
(Pull out balloon.) No, this is not what you think it is.
But speaking of "Pariser", I'm sure most of you are aware that sooner or later the United States Embassy is going be rebuilt on the Pariser Platz over there next to the Brandenburg Gate. Now the State Department is not too comfortable with the fact that this 'Platz' or square is named after the French capital. Now that just wouldn't do! So they are pressuring the German government to change the name of this Platz.
(Start blowing up balloon.) They'll change the name, won't they? As a gesture of German-American friendship, sure, why not. Well, they had better! (Blow balloon up fully; Pres. Bush caricature becomes visible) And what will we call this Platz? Well, how about naming it after our President: Bush Platz.
(Pop balloon with hidden pin.) Oops!