Re: You don't even want to know how many goddamn dicks he has

1

A three-year-old wife? I can't approve of that.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 5:59 PM
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2

This is amazing.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 6:01 PM
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3

Who would say to him, come and work for me lifting rocks?

Wittgenstein, that's who!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 6:04 PM
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4

ZOMG homesick. His nonchalance = way more hilarious in Arabic.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 6:08 PM
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5

So Mr. Incredible lives in Egypt. Good to know. I find that story totally believable.

Fifteen times a day, though? If he's not careful, he'll wind up like Chuck Negron.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 6:09 PM
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6

Also, he can put bricks to sleep by hypnosis.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 6:12 PM
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7

We always knew that aliens built the pyramids. Evidently, they left some of their work force behind.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 6:13 PM
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8

I like the bit about not joining the army as a precaution to avoid hurting anyone.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 6:15 PM
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9

Speaking of Egypt, a new pyramid has been found, purportedly of Queen Sesheshet. Maybe the archaeologists have rocks they need moved.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 6:17 PM
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10

Why is this video no longer available? Insert frowny face here.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 6:20 PM
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11

10: Really? Can you see it here?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 6:28 PM
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12

When I'm doing my dissertation defense, I'll try this rhetorical strategy.

"And how did you arrive at this conclusion?"
"Allah be praised."
"Um, what historical sources are you citing here?"
"I can't show you, because it is too scary how smart I am."
"How did you come to be so smart?"
"There is a vein in my spine. Doctors say I'm not allowed to do any actual writing, because I have the brain of 30,000 humans. What, you would ask me to give a conference paper? Ha. Allah be praised."
"Erm."
"Also, I need to have sex 15 times a day. Please supply me with lovers."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 7:29 PM
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13

12: IT'S A TOTALLY FLAWLESS PLAN!

(So the video worked for you and recently?)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 7:32 PM
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14

The video works if you have the strength to withstand its power.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 7:37 PM
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15

I wound up abandoning the video, but 12 seems an excellent summary: thanks!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 7:39 PM
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13: Yes, no problem.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 7:40 PM
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17

OK, I apologize if this sounds xenophobic or whatever, but is all that God talk really that ubiquitous? I know some of it is, essentially, verbal filler, but when the reporter on the scene said, "God has given him...," I just thought, whuh? It would be like the sports reporter starting his interview by saying, "So, the Good Lord really blessed you out there today - any thoughts?"

Also, I just drank a cup of melted butter. I either have superhuman strength or will be dead by morning. Either way, no more work for me!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 8:27 PM
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18

OK, I apologize if this sounds xenophobic or whatever, but is all that God talk really that ubiquitous?

Well, there is no God but Allah. And Muhammad is his messenger, you know?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 8:31 PM
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17: I either have superhuman strength or will be dead by morning. Either way, no more work for me!

You should be able to figure out which one already. Do you have that vein in your spine?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 8:32 PM
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20

A lot of the God-talk consists of stock phrases that don't necessarily have any explicit religious intent behind their usage. We have the same thing in English; "for God's sake," "God bless you," etc. Keep in mind that the translation is by MEMRI, which is hardly a neutral source.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 8:58 PM
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21

12 was indeed the highlight.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 9:00 PM
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22

20: I was curious about the translation, which is why I was happy to see m. leblanc show up and confirm it (uh, sort of). Is it off?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 9:01 PM
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23

I guess Egypt has some Saudi-style stealth-welfare that makes it at least not a ridiculous notion that this guy doesn't work?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 9:01 PM
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22: I've only watched part of the video, and that with the sound off, but MEMRI tends to translate things pretty accurately. The main problems are their choice of what to translate (not really an issue here), and a tendency to emphasize differences when an equally accurate translation could emphasize similarities (note how they use "Allah" instead of "God").


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 9:16 PM
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24: Gotcha. By the by, you seem to be more internet-having of late. Back from the internship?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 9:32 PM
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26

No, still here. Things are starting to slow down, though, so I have more free time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 9:34 PM
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26: Well, I hope it's going well, and it's nice to see you about.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 9:35 PM
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28

A lot of words in Arabic (and Turkish and Persian) contain the term for God, but it would be strange to translate it that way -- for example, translating the extremely common expression inshaallah as 'if Allah wills it' instead of 'hopefully'. MEMRI has its agenda.

Also, it's clear that the guy comes from a fairly rural/traditional background and God-language probably figures very naturally into his speech.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 9:36 PM
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29

It is, thanks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 9:36 PM
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30

Applying at change.gov, teo?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 9:38 PM
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31

"God willing" is actually a pretty normal throwaway phrase in old-fashioned American Christian circles, or "God bless.....", or "in the name of God".

For example, "Why in the name of God would anyone do something as fucking stupid as that?" is perfectly idiomatic, though there's a bit of code-switching right after "as".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 9:42 PM
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32

28: Yeah, but there is something else going on here, because they keep trying to ask the guy how he got to be so strong, or about whether he can ever demonstrate his strength, and he seems only to use God as his reason for everything. This isn't all just figure-of-speech stuff.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 9:42 PM
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33

This isn't all just figure-of-speech stuff.

The rest is probably rural-oddball stuff, I'd wager.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 10:00 PM
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34

Yeah I mean, "how'd you get to be so strong, rural hick?" "Aw well I'm jest blessed."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 10:02 PM
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35

The rest is probably rural-oddball stuff, I'd wager.

Or con-man stuff.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 10:05 PM
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36

What's the deal with the coin thing? Do they just have more pliable coinage?


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 10:11 PM
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37

35: Rural con-man stuff.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-08 10:22 PM
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38

Hicks with many dicks.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 6:19 AM
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39

NPH, are you checking work email?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 6:27 AM
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40

OK, I apologize if this sounds xenophobic or whatever, but is all that God talk really that ubiquitous?

"God willing" is actually a pretty normal throwaway phrase in old-fashioned American Christian circles, or "God bless.....", or "in the name of God".

"God is good" is another common one. And of course in Irish the standard form of greeting is "God be with you", to which the correct reply is "God and Mary be with you." Unless someone starts off by saying "God and Mary be with you" --- then the reply is God and Mary and [St] Patrick be with you".

My grandparents talked like this, and my mother still does. Whene I was a child, if someone turned on the living-room lightswitch in the evening they (and I) would automatically say "The light of Heaven to all the poor souls, Amen."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 6:45 AM
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41

Seriously, can everyone else see the video but me? It's not that the video won't play, as though it were a Flash issue, it just gets that black-screen "this video is no longer available" thing. I ask because this has been happening to a lot of stuff on YouTube for me lately, and I'm naturally coming to the conclusion that it's all part of an elaborate international internet conspiracy to deprive me of fun.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 6:54 AM
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42

The video was fine for me, yesterday and today.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 7:02 AM
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43

32 describes my impression well. 40 provides excellent examples of the same weird (to me) thing, from a more familiar culture. I cannot conceive of saying a blessing (or however you want to call it) when someone switches on a fucking light.

"Praise the Lord, the food in the fridge is still cold!"
"Thanks be to Mary and all the saints, our automobile is transporting us at speeds well beyond what we could achieve on foot!"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 7:28 AM
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Think about how when someone sneezes, (most people) will automatically respond with a "bless you." Basically every time the reporters use various god-containing phrases, it's an exchange like that. Like when someone says "la illah allah" (allah is the one god) you automatically respond "wi muhammad al-rasul-lillah" (and mohammed is the prophet of god). Someone says "insha'allah" you say "insha'allah" (as if to be clear that you are not imposing your will upon god). Arabic is an language with hundreds of these kinds of statement-and-response patterns, that are indoctrinated into you. Most of them I don't even know what they mean, but I've heard them so many times I can respond correctly. There's one for when you get out of the shower, when you finish eating, when you see someone who's had a relative die, on someone's birthday, at any time during Ramadan...

Teo is, of course, right about MEMRI's translation. I guess I didn't even think about the "otherness agenda" factor, because to me it is hilarious to see it all translated literally (rather than figuratively), and I don't have the "Muslims are scary" reaction.

Incidentally, it's very important to note that though these phrases have religious origins, they have become far more cultural than religious. All of my Egyptian family is Christian, not Muslim, and the way they speak (in terms of religious verbal filler) is virtually indistinguishable from what you see here.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 7:46 AM
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45

I didn't notice the "God" stuff in the subtitles. But I did think the whole premise was quite odd.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 7:52 AM
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46

Poor, traditionalist people of any religion tend to be fatalists who believe in mysterious spiritual causes, more than in individual initiatives or knowable scientific causes.

That sort of thinking remains useful for understanding macroeconomic events.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 8:01 AM
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There's one for when you get out of the shower

This happens here, too. When I get out of the shower, I'll frequently hear, "Praise the Lord for the great gift he has bestowed on you!" and such. It's very annoying.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 8:06 AM
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When I get out of the shower, I'll frequently hear, "Praise the Lord for the great gift he has bestowed on you!"

The proper response is "God is indeed great, praise him", and the exchange is then formally closed with the rejoinder, "Inshallah, never have I seen a back so hairy as yours."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 8:11 AM
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49

yesterday i almost cried reading this
my almost is like almost synonymous to done


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 8:20 AM
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Incidentally, it's very important to note that though these phrases have religious origins, they have become far more cultural than religious. All of my Egyptian family is Christian, not Muslim, and the way they speak (in terms of religious verbal filler) is virtually indistinguishable from what you see here.

I've mentioned before the strange phenomenon of American women meeting (usually Egyptian or Moroccan) Arab men online, marrying after a couple days of meeting, and then converting. It's like orientalism with a likely divorce attached. But it's very funny when the new converts (reverts) start peppering their online immigration forum English speech with 'inshallah.' ("It just slipped out!" "You're typing. Bullshit." I say) Effect: an affect as annoying as if I spent a week in Paris on spring break and insisted I was now French.

But what's funny is that there are similar (though less extensive) patterns in English. No one bats an eye at 'bless you' as you mentioned; my grandmother often said 'if the good lord willing and the creek don't rise' (meaning "I hope so, but we'll see what happens"; certainly not a prayer), less Christian-centered, we have phrases about fate, mother Nature, etc., that if translated literally would probably confuse the hell (oh, look at that, another one) out of people.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 8:32 AM
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based on not understanding the language and knowing nothing about egypt or its television conventions, my theory is this:

the TV hosts are thinking -- throughout the piece -- "wtf! what is this guy on!" but they are too courteous to pull a letterman on him on air -- when they give the civil formal replies to his invocations, they comes across as people who would normally skip most of that for TV, but not wanting to seem rude or disdainful towards someone who seems to want to insist on the etiquette big-time AND old-school (in other words, it's a bit of inter-class awkwardness -- the liberal coastal media elite letting the "real egyptian" do his thing)

actually it reminds me a bit of the very first (brit) TV shows that uri geller appeared on, bending forks -- geller's actual shtick is very different, obviously but it's similarly disarming (misdirection, to use a word i seem to need a lot at the moment) and makes claim to similarly superhuman powers (mind powers rather than physical powers) (physical powers this guy has a doctor's note excusing him from ever having to demonstrate)

i like when he starts to get up to show them something and the male host blurts out "no! stay there! i can see from here!"

as in "DON'T TOUCH ME YOU SCARY INSANE MAN"


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:03 AM
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Honest to God, the First Amendment is important. I mean, holy shit, can you believe how much the Republicans weakened it? Thank god Obama got elected. Heaven help us if Republicans retake the majority in Congress 2010.

Sure, when I string them together that densely, it looks odd, but you get the idea. And then if you count expressions where the religious content isn't there anymore, but it used to be - "I swear" is generally a contraction of "I swear to God," I think, and using "bloody" as a curse word in English refers to Jesus' blood, and so on - there's definitely quite a bit of religious idiom in our language too.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:22 PM
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The guy may not really be the strongest man in the world, and pronbably he misses fine points of irony, but I'd be courteous to him too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:57 PM
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