After reading this everyone is going to thing I'm very unPC,
although Bill Maher will not be inviting me onto Politically
Incorrect, especially when it's taped "live" (which by all accounts
beats the shit out of being taped dead) at the Playboy Mansion... but then
the Playboy Mansion, much like Old Hugh himself, gets old pretty quick.
So for what reason do I propose guns be placed to everyone's
head? Actually, I don't suggest that at all... I just thought it
was kind of a catchy title. What I do suggest is that.... well, let me
relate what happened yesterday when my good friends Mr. Peabody and
Sherman came by toting their Way Back Machine like one of those
portapotties in the commercial for Flomax, the pill that allows
men with prostrates the size of basketballs to pee less frequently.
The three of us piled in and whizzboinggggkazow we stepped out
into 10th Century North America, although no one there knew it was the
10th Century or North America.
The three of us sat upon a grassy knoll, scarfing some peyote
buttons, vomiting, laughing and training our telescope on a small
encampment of the Sioux Nation, watching a family of ten Mohican refugees
from some sort of slaughter of innocents who had come many miles and
sought to join up with these Sioux as they embarked on their annual
charity buffalo hunt.
Since none of us could understand 10th Century Siouxish or
Mohican, especially after ten buttons each, we sort of had to guess what
was going on, but all three of us realized that the Mohicans were
unwelcome - not because of their weird haircuts and lack of feathered
headdresses, but because the Sioux couldn't understand a fucking word they
We popped back into the Way Back Machine, set the controls for 12
Lunar Phases in the future and whizzboinggggkazow we stepped out to see
the Sioux untying the Mohicans, who had been kept on poles and toted from
place to place.
The Mohicans were now speaking Siouxish, had grown out their hair and were
welcome on the Charity Buffalo Hunt.
Now the First Wave of Euro Trash to hit these shores is often
spoken of as a negative event, but one of the things that happened was the
homogenation of language, so those Mohicans, if they chose, could move
about and not be tied to stakes or otherwise ostracized for a year or so
and could immediately join in any buffalo hunt (theorhetically since one
of the first things that went were the buffalo).
The next day, back in my own time period I was watching some
abortion of Morning Entertainment News in which they happened to interview
Starving Ethiopians with opens festering sores covered in
Some Chechnyans complaining about Russians;
Some Israelis complaining about Yassar Arafat;
Some Russians complaining about Chechnyans;
Some Colombians complaining that the US was fighting a war in
their country who could not figure out who had invited the Marines;
Some guy in New Delhi explaining why his deli did not carry
Pimento Loaf and other tasty beef byproduct based luncheon meats;
An average Japanese citizen expounding on the beneficial effects
The Taiwanese Parliament socking it out; and
The owner of a small hole in the wall taco stand in Century
The truly amazing thing is that the only one of these
people not doing the interview in English was the guy with the taco
stand. All the others understood English and spoke it a damn sight better
than I can handle Spanish
(que hablo un pocito solamente).
See, due to some bizarre twist of fate, or maybe because various
German war machines were always over running France, a few decades back
the so-called international language was changed from French to English,
and despite the fact that English is a rather difficult, illogical
language to learn being part Latin, part "Germanic" and part
Anglo/Saxon/Celtic/Danish and Lord only knows what else, it seems most
people, from your keeper of a grimy little shop in out of the way Merida,
Mexico (the hammock capital of the world) to the soldiers of the Taliban
to the Prime Minister of Zaire and his youngest son, all can rattle
on pretty well in English.
Indeed, it seems most "foreigners" to these shores can speak
English... until, they get here. This was not always the case. Members
of my own family arived her without knowing a word of English and simply
kept their mouths shut for three months until they could speak it fluently
with no accent and many are today working in the exciting field of
Once in the US, possibly due to an overly broad reading of the
First Amendment, immigrants feel completely free to abandon English and
revert to their native tongue, or just never bother learning English
since, e.g., institutions like the California Department of Motor Vehicles
offers Driver's Tests in every language from Swahili to Mandarin and
Cantonese to Polish to Spanish and... and... well go down there and try to
find a book explaining the rules of the road in English, I think
you'll see the point.
For the past week I've been getting on an elevator in a big old
city block sized building (huge for LA) and I haven't come across anyone
else who bothered speaking English save for a delivery guy who was old and
deaf and frankly depressing. So, "Big deal," right? Hey Bub, YOU try
getting into a tiny box where eight different languages are being spoken
ever louder by conversationalists trying to be heard over the cacophony of
three different (and very foreign sounding... nothing melodic like Spanish
or French or Italian) of Asian languages and YOU don't think:
"Somebody ought to put a fucking gun to the heads of
these... people, and force them to speak American, or at least
and then say I'm losing my grip on reality because I'm intolerant and/or
overly sensitive or a fascist of whatever.
Let's close with an example -- a sweet woman who has been in the
US for four decades or so who is the mother of a woman I know. Granted,
this woman may not have spoken a word of English when she snuck across the
San Ysidro Border Crossing from some tin shack squalor in central Mexico,
but since she and her family have landed a pretty nice place in the San
Gabriel Valley and she has raised her children, sending them to US schools
where they spoke US English (and oddly never took Spanish - you don't
think your average US kid wouldn't take English if he found himself in a
escuela publica de Mejico? - since none of them have the first clue how to
read or write it, although they can rattle it off at dizzying paces).
Well, this woman recently settled a lawsuit for a large amount of
money against some third rate sexual harasser and I wanted to congratulate
(okay, "free" money and I tend to try to get together, but I'm pretty sure
I had noble intentions). So I call and mama answers el telephono. I ask
for the woman (who lives there), and while mama, who as far as I know is
neither senile or stupid, happily acknowledged this person still lived
there (I assume "Yes!!!!!" meant that, but I've been wrong before), but
could only explain "No hablo Ingles" when I tried to get across the idea
that I wasn't checking up on her daughter, but actually wanted her to come
to the phone.
Being unprepared with something like "ĀViene a telephono?" which
may or may not mean something like "Any chance I can talk to her?" I gave
up with a
"Gee, I don't think this is going to work out."
Hey, I could have said, "Yo' bitch! You've been in this country
for half a freaking century. When some asshole asks for your daughter by
name on the phone haven't you figured out it means he wants to talk to her
and not hear about how you managed not to learn the language being yakked
around you 24/7/52?"
But I'm polite. I just can't help wondering why if all the people
in foreign countries (e.g. Elian Gonzalez' father, a poor supposedly
repressed Cuban truck driver or something) can do such a good job with
English why modern immigrants to the US feel no need to bother... well,
most of them... and can't help wondering how fast they'd pick it up with a
.44 nuzzled against their skull.
Not that I'll ever find out because this mental meandering usually
takes place in a small elevator in which the people are so busy competing
to speak the foreign language of the day, they probably wouldn't
notice the gun... or with my luck the elevator would be stopped and
invaded by a SWAT Team made up of Cambodians or something.
I suppose I could always make up my own language and see how these
idiots feel when I start conversing in it with my blow up doll Li Tokusan
Gonzalez Pierreitta al Hassim.