Tuesday, March 18, 2003

The first casualty of war: language

My favourite scary news station is Fox News. It could have been invented by Ray Bradbury or George Orwell. The newscasters look like Real Dolls and there's an air of mad dystopic future society-gone-wrong about it. The reporting is somewhat right-wing and fuzzy, and I keep expecting to hear reports about invading ants from Mars (Starship Troopers), or hearing that the president's nose has been kidnapped (Sleeper). Oddly, the last time I watched Fox News, they were showing the weather of the world - but they missed off France altogether. There it was, on the map, but it didn't have any numbers showing its temperature attached to it. Maybe it was a co-incidence, but I got the impression that like a jilted lover, Fox News has decided to cut France out of all its photos.

And today I read that "French fries" have been banned by the cafeterias in the House of Representatives three office buildings by Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican. Instead they will be known as "Freedom fries". French toast will also be now known as "Freedom toast".

I don't even think Bradbury and Orwell could have come up with a more crazy use of language regulation, but there you go.

I've decided to take it further - Debbie Harry - how dare you! I demand you re-record your 1980s hit pop song as "Freedom kissing in the USA!" Prostitutes will now have to advertise their "Freedom polishing" in the shop windows of newsagents.

Of course - the word "cafe" is French anyway - so that needs to go to. Perhaps it could be renamed "Freedometeria". And woebetide anyone caught using the following words: baguette, faux pas, rendezvous, nouveau riche, laissez faire, en masse and cuisine. Their days are numbered.

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