The Dawn of the ‘Issues’ Issue

Today the Economist’s Johnson blog posted a story Issues with “issues” that looks at how the word “issue” has become the replacement word of choice for “problem.” The post’s author R.L.G. (AKA “Johnson”) writes: A problem is a type of issue, of course: in politics we talk about the Iranian nuclear issue, the unemployment issue, […]

My Love of Mangled English: Reb Sox

I took this sometime in the 1980s in Paris. Back then, I scoffed at this half-assed appropriation of American culture, but maybe it was a means of wearing an American-style baseball jacket without having to pay licensing fees. Or not. I remember going clothes shopping with some wealthy Italians in Modena right after I graduated […]

Malapropism #1: The Coup D’Etat

Given that my blog’s tagline mentions malapropisms, it seems only logical I recount my favorite one of all time: My second-cousin Edward used to work for the Borough of Queens as some type of engineer (civil or industrial), and one Monday an older pompous coworker of his returned from a week in the Poconos. “The […]

My Love of Mangled English: Introduction

Like John Berryman, I am a monoglot of English, and so for all intents and purposes, [1] I have not experienced the pleasure of overhearing someone ridiculing me in a foreign language, and then saying in their language, “Mothafucka, I heard what you just said!”

As a consolation, perhaps, I really enjoy seeing and reading mangled English. Like this one, from a Japanese car rental brochure, which I originally found in some out of print book I bought from Quality Paperback Book Club back in the 90s:

When a passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigour.

I wish someone would take a photo of this brochure because it verges on the apocryphal, which may be half the fun.

  1. And I used to say “for all intensive purposes.” It’s by the grace of G-d or whoever that I never got caught writing it (or that no one ever called me on it) before I realized my error – and the laziness of the phrase.  ↩

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