'JFK' in other langs (was: 'JFK: Just For Kerry')

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Feb 10 18:10:05 UTC 2004

At 8:33 AM -0800 2/10/04, Peter A. McGraw wrote:
>I thought I remembered that this sort of word play had been common in
>communist-era Czechoslovakia, but all my resident expert could come up with
>was this:
>"Yeah--though I can't think of any off-hand, except one: Somebody in my
>grade school writing "Long live the U.S.A!" on the wall of the school; when
>questioned by the principal, he claimed it meant "Udatna sovetska armada"
>-- the 'brave Soviet Army.'"
>Not really the same, but I thought I'd pass it along for a chuckle, at
>Peter Mc.
As someone else was saying earlier, the natives of Eastern Bloc
countries during Soviet hegemony were especially renowned for their
exploitation of hidden meanings, puns, and ambiguities. My favorite
example concerns the infamous "Palace of Culture" in Warsaw, a not
particularly welcome "gift" from Stalin to the Polish people,
prompting this classic (if perhaps apocryphal) exchange:

Western tourist:  "You must be very grateful to the Russians for this gift."
Polish guide:        "Yes, we must."


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