miércoles, 5 de noviembre de 2008

Necedades post-electorales

Ayer se realizaron las elecciones presidenciales en los Estados Unidos y el senador Barack Hussein Obama se convirtió en el nuevo presidente electo del vecino país del norte, con lo que será además el primer presidente de raza negra (o afroamericano, para aquellos con sensibilidades políticamente correctas) de ese país. Con el fin de la era Bush se espera un cambio importante en la forma de manejar la política internacional de los Estados Unidos, lo que sin duda dejará a muchos humoristas y analistas en busca de nuevos temas para hacer su trabajo.

Un ejemplo de cosas que tal vez no volveremos a ver es la famosa carta abierta con un texto presuntamente escrito por John Cleese, comediante británico y miembro de Monty Python, en la cual el actor recriminaba con humor a los ciudadanos estadunidenses por su falta de capacidad para elegir gobernantes apropiados, anunciando la revocación de su independencia y su reintegración al imperio británico. Obviamente el texto está en inglés, pero por tratarse de tal vez la última vez que lo veamos, lo reproduzco en su integridad... al menos de una de sus múltiples versiones, claro.
A Message from John Cleese, British comedian
to the citizens of the United States of America.

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy). Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
  1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up aluminium and nuclear, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing them.
  2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (Look up 'vocabulary').
  3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize.
  4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
  5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.
  6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
  7. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
  8. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) at roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.
  9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
  10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth and see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
  11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
  12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). In the meantime don't try rugby, as the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.
  13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game that is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
  14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
  15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
  16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes, plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
God save the Queen!
Seguramente notaron que antes del texto mencioné "presuntamente escrito por John Cleese". El actor británico ha negado repetidamente que el texto sea de su autoría, así que podemos asumir que luego de algún tiempo circulando por la web de manera anónima a alguien se le ocurrió anexarle el nombre de una figura pública para darle mayor credibilidad y respetabilidad. En Snopes.com, sitio especilaizado en leyendas urbanas, es posible leer varias versiones del texto y un breve recuento del origen de la presunta autoría del mismo. Si alguien lo solicita, tengo una versión parcialmente traducida del texto que aparece arriba que podría completar y agregar aquí o como una entrada nueva.

También han circulado varias respuestas a este texto, algunas de las cuales aparecen reproducidas en la misma entrada en Snopes.com, excepto mi favorita, la del escritor de ciencia ficción John Varley, misma que el propio autor publicó en su sitio hace algunos meses. Aquí está el texto.
Dear Mr. Cleese,
Your recent message has been received here “across the pond,” and we Americans are giving it due consideration. You make some very good points, and I will acknowledge them here, and then get on to a few little matters on which we differ. It can’t be denied that we are currently a country severely in need of some guidance. Since the fall of the Soviet Union we seem to have been flailing about, “the world’s only superpower,” unable to decide what to do with all that military might. Sadly, we’ve decided to use it on the flimsiest of excuses, blundering about and tipping things over and generally making a bloody nuisance of ourselves. However, I wonder if you in Blighty are actually the ones best suited to straighten us out. You, after all, have been governed by the appeasing Neville Chamberlain, the near-fascist Margaret Thatcher, and Tony “Bush’s Butt Boy” Blair. (Let’s just forget all about that Mad King George III business. Water under the bridge.) Mr. Blair was single-handedly responsible for giving a veneer of legitimacy to the term “coalition.” Without your support in Iraq the invasion would have consisted of the USA and assorted rabble.
  • I have no excuse or reasonable explanation for our pronunciation of “aluminium.” I’ll see if we can fix that. However, it should be noted that only idiots mispronounce “nuclear.” You have your idiots, too.
  • Yes, we have too many guns, lawyers, and therapists. They are all as hard to eradicate as a bad case of the penicillin-resistant clap, and I despair of curing any of them. And a vegetable peeler may in fact be too lethal for many of us to handle.
  • We’re slowly getting used to UK prices for gasoline, believe me. I expect we’ll be caught up to you by next summer, unless the decline in value of the US dollar brings that about sooner.
  • Metrification … I can’t explain that, either. But you might bear in mind that you are the chaps that foisted your system of weights and measures on us. We still call it the “English system,” in fond memory of the odd people who invented it, and though you have had the good sense to abandon it, I suspect that some Englishmen still call for a pint of bitter down at the local.
I think that pretty much covers our points of agreement. Now, I’d like to make some points of my own.
  1. Tea out of cups and saucers is for pussies. Serious cultures drink coffee out of mugs. Tea was one of the reasons we went to war with you. (That was the first time. We whipped you twice, if you recall.) Tea was what got you into that whole Black Hole of Calcutta unpleasantness in India, and all sorts of contretemps in your Empire. And if you hadn’t noticed, the sun now sets on the British Empire regularly, once a day.
  2. While I agree with you about American beer, it is fatuous for you to hold up the brown swill you drink as a potable beverage. There are only two cultures in the world who know how to brew beer, and that is the Germans and the Australians, as they drink more of it than all other countries combined.
  3. You presume to lecture us about food? You, whose entire contribution to world cuisine is the good old “fry-up” of fish and chips? That is, unless you want to count steak and kidney pie, bully beef, the meat pastie, and Marmite? (I’d advise you not to count them; it only hurts your case. Especially the Marmite.)
  4. Soccer is for pussies.
  5. A lot of your words sound rather … effeminate, which may be why we don’t use them. What is this “lorry” business, anyway? You can’t even say it without holding your pinkie in the air. A large vehicle for moving goods from place to place is a truck, and always will be. Those who operate them are truckers, not lorry drivers.
  6. I believe we Americans understand the British sense of humour quite well, thank you. We completely understood the brilliant humour of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” If we hadn’t, you might be delivering a stand-up routine on the sidewalk in front of a chip shop in Brighton instead of relaxing poolside at your estate in Santa Barbara, which is where I last saw you.
  7. Again, I agree with you about American actors playing British people, and you didn’t even mention two worse examples: Julia Roberts and Kevin Costner. However, that goes both ways. Anthony Hopkins has recently played a Louisiana judge, a psychotic American psychiatrist, and John Quincy Adams. Kate Winslet and Jude Law also tried to speak Louisianan, and Law pretended he was from North Carolina in Cold Mountain. Cate Blanchett hardly plays anything but Americans anymore, except when she takes a holiday as one of your Elizabeths. She even played Bob Dylan, for crying out loud. Yes, I know she’s an Aussie, but what is an Aussie but a Brit who says “G’day” a lot?
  8. And now, language. First, I should point out that, like the “English system,” you are the ones who invented this most illogical, difficult, and inconsistent of languages and fobbed it off on an unfortunate world. And now you presume to lecture us about cleaving to the stupidities inherent in its very structure? Take that “u” in “colour,” etc., that u are so insistent we use. You don’t pronounce it. We don’t pronounce it. It’s useless, it’s superfluous; we abandoned it. Why not coulour, while you’re at it? Our “neighbours,” the Canadians, kept it, and what has it gotten them? Just extra keystrokes, a bit of time wasted. (If keeping the u in honour helped keep them out of the Coalition of the Willing, I take it back, and will endeavour to use honour in future.) English has around 300 irregular verbs. Each one must be memorized, as there are no rules governing this. Every rule in the English language has at least one exception. Take one of the most notorious ones: i before e, except when we don’t fucking feel like it. Or something like that. Who was the English genius who thought up this –ough business? What the hell is that? Ooh? Uf? Ow? Ug? O? Up? (Hiccough.) Answer: All of the above. And how did you manage to stretch “knight” into a six-letter word? –ght? Where did that come from? I think it was George Bernard Shaw who pointed out that “fish” can be spelled “ghoti” in English. (Gh as in enough, ti as in nation … and you figure out the o.) What was wrong with a nite in shining armour? Maybe you’d confuse it with night … no, that isn’t rite … The very alphabet sucks in English. You want us to use “ise.” Why? It sounds just like “ize.” The letter Z (Zed, if you insist) is entirely superfluous, as is Q. But the worst is the 23rd letter. All the other 25 are one syllable. So why is W pronounced “double-u?” Three syllables for one lousy letter? Why not “wah,” or “wee?” And it doesn’t even look like a double-u, it’s a double-v!
  9. Everything nancified about England can be summed up in one word: Cricket. I’ll grant you that we shouldn’t call the American Baseball Championship “The World Series” until we start inviting Japanese, Chinese, Cubans, and other South Americans who are good at it. But cricket should be stamped out entirely, it is an abomination. I think that, even more than high tea, cricket was one of the main reasons people around the world through (that is, threw) off the yoke (or is it yolk?) of British Colonialism. No one understands it. I’m not sure if even the players understand it. American football may stop to rest every 30 seconds, but at least the games end. I understand a cricket game started in Wapping in 1932 is still in progress. “Bowling” is a game where a large ball is rolled along a lane to strike 10 wooden pins. It has nothing to do with hurling a small brown spheroid. That’s pitching. And what are those croquet sticks in the middle of the playing field? Somebody could fall down and get hurt on those. Pitchers throw curve balls, knuckle balls, sliders, change-ups. No self-respecting American could bring himself to throw a flipper, a yorker, an indipper, or … god help us all … a “googly.” (In Australia, a googly is a “wrong ‘un.” And the fact that Aussies play cricket proves my point, above, that they are just Brits who favour sheep and pronounce a as oy.)
  10. Finally, we would gladly pay our back revenues, but we’re a bit tapped out at the moment. Our president has been spending money we haven’t got, as Republicans are wont to do. The treasury is full of IOUs. Could you come back sometime next year, say on Guy Fawkes Day?
Up the Revolution!
March 13, 2008 Hollywood, California
Nunca he intentado traducir esa respuesta, pero si alguien manifiesta interés con gusto la traduciré y pondré junto a la carta original.

Finalmente, ya para dejar atrás el tema de las elecciones norteamericanas, los dejo con una de mis campañas publicitarias favoritas dentro de las vistas durante la campaña electoral, la cual quería comentar hace unos días pero no tuve oportunidad. Se trata de un poster diseñado por Tor Myhren, director creativo de la agencia Grey NYC en el que hacía un llamado a dejar atrás el tema racial en la campaña bajo el slogan de "Let the issues be the issues" (Dejen que los temas sean los temas).