The Witzelsucht Memorandum

Where Top-Hat, Red-Carpet Service is practically a motto

early October '04:
Frenchie la Bush?!?

What was the big shocker George W. Bush uncorked during the first Presidential debate, the one missed by a billion-and-one bloggers, who are supposed to have all bases and angles covered?

No, it wasn't when the President said "Saddam Hussein" when he was supposed to say "Osama bin Laden" - although that didn't get much coverage either. But after all, he is bit rusty at saying that name, and even his loquacious Secretary of Defense has been known to confuse Saddam and Osama, sometimes twice before the same audience

No, that wasn't it.

The big surprise was when the President spoke French.

French. And at a time when the French are probably our Least Popular former ally! When House majority leader Tom "the Hammer" Delay begins the day's session with "good morning ... or, as John Kerry would say, bon jour," and when Kerry himself, wouldn't be Caught Dead displaying his French fluency, not for all the money in the world - Bush ups and speaks French, and during his most-anticipated television appearance ever.

The Big Moment (La Momente Grande?) came about two-thirds of the way through the debate, when Bush was busy repeating his oft-repeated point that Kerry's changed positions on the war:

I've been listening very carefully to what he says, and he changes positions on the war in Iraq. He changes positions on something as fundamental as what you believe in your coeur, . . .
Coeur?!? What could that mean? Ever thoughtful, Bush supplied an immediate translation:
. . . in your heart of hearts, is right in Iraq.
Now, plenty of Americans have heard of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, but only a rare, fluent few, the bona-fide Francophiles, know that "coeur" is French for heart.

Granted, him being George W. Bush and all, the pronunciation left something to be desired, but his inflection and cadence were so natural, so unforced, so quintessentially Dubya, that most big-media operations (who long ago gave up making fun of the President's verbal gaffes, lest they be seen as ivory-tower elitists woefully out of touch with "real" Americans) didn't even notice the sly shift to Gallic and erroneously transcribed the word as "core.

First, they get every right-thinking American to despise France and all things French, and then he goes and pulls the rug out from under us by speaking their damn poofy language.

And if we're supposed to hate the French -- and rightly so, given the way they tricked us into taking over their mess in Vietnam; their greatest writer, Louis Ferdinand-Celine, was a Nazi collaborator; they're so lazy that their vacations stretch on in excess of two weeks; they stole their vaunted "French fries" from the Belgians; their pricey, pallid wines turn to water before the might of our California "fruit bombs;" and they can't even win their own silly bike race -- then what are we supposed to make of this guy, now that were finally starting to find out what he's really made of?


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