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Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Donald Luskin presents a comparison of US and UK covers for four books by left wingers. This has something to do with the lurid UK cover for Paul Krugman's book, The Great Unravelling. Scroll up and down on Luskin's site for more on that.
I must say I like the UK cover of Michael Moore's childishly-titled Dude, Where's My Country? better than the US cover. The UK cover shows Moore and Bush in boxing poses. There are cut lines around them, as if you could cut them out as paper dolls and put them on sticks and make them fight. This, to me, represents the momentarily - amusing - but - ultimately - pointless nature of Moore's oeuvre.
The US cover, on the other hand, shows Moore hauling down the statue of Saddam Hussein (except it has Bush's head on it). This is more in line with Moore's conception of himself, as the brave iconoclast and toppler of empires.
Speaking of which, here's a translation of a fun article from the German magazine[? newspaper?] Die Tageszeitung (or TAZ, for short). (Here's the original.)
Maybe it's just me, but Babelfish's German translations stink. It has a hard time with German verb order, and chokes on those long compound words. Of course, their translations aren't perfect in French, either, but I studied French for three or four seconds and can usually smooth over the rough spots. In German I'm helpless.
That said, here's the opening of TAZ's piece, titled "An American Martyr", just as Babelfish delivers it:
(Hey. No cheering in the back there.)
Well. Dramatic, eh?
To continue in that theme:
But later---and here's where my ignorance of German hampers me---the author (Stefan Kuzmany) says Moore is speaking in a falsetto, apparently making a joke about dying:
Naturally Babelfish cannot cope with that. But cleaning up the extended vowels only helps a little:
"Gesehn" might be a form of "gesehen", "seen" (a couple of web sites with the word show that it makes sense---or at least does not make nonsense---in context). "Uwir" is hopeless; a Google search turns up mostly gibberish. It might be archaic.
Anyhow, this sounds like Moore is making jokes about his own assassination, which is not only creepy, but a little egomaniacal.
Now, for those (like me) who like to become outraged at such things, here's some fresh meat (translation cleaned up very slightly):
Moore assures his German audience that his life is safe:
Because of the limitations of the translation software, I can't tell whether Kuzmany is mocking Moore, or agrees with him. He seems to be ambivalent. I can't tell whether the emphasis on martyrdom is Moore's, or Kuzmany's, and if the latter, whether Kuzmany is making fun of him.
It seems pretty clear, though, that Moore is telling his German audience what idiots Americans are, and how badly we've screwed up our country, and urging the pure and innocent Germans not to screw theirs up too.
With that kind of pandering demogoguery, it sounds as if Moore is running for Hitler.
It's probably just the translation.
Speaking of lurid covers, check out this cover for the German version of Bowling for Columbine, a special offer to TAZ subscribers.
TAZ link via Davids Medienkritik where there is much more.
[Corrections, context, and nuance welcome on those translations, by the way.]