2/20/2008

The Golf

Thanks to everyone for your comments on my last post. 

I'd like to spend more time writing about important things on 13Months, but, you know how I feel about feelings and specifically about sharing them. I would much rather post a video of Fergie spelling things than write a post about my struggles, emotional or otherwise.

The alternative, I fear, is a whiny blog which morphs into some sort of creepy therapy. Although I know that'd be an extreme scenario, it's not what I want here at all. 

I do appreciate having a place where I can be honest, however. Even if it's only every now and again, so thanks for cooperating with me.

I'd also like to write more about my life here in Iraq, so I'm making it my goal to do more of that as well. I'm not making any promises at this point, but I think it'd be a good idea.

Here's a humorous story from one of my English classes today:

I teach four classes of the same thing. They all started at different times, so they hit the same chapters at different times. Well, yesterday one class got to the end of chapter 12. The end of chapter 12 is a reading assignment with three e-mails describing three different places. 

One e-mail tells the reader a little bit about Buenos Aires. My teacher's edition reads that Buenos Aires is the birthplace of the Tango and that I can see performers in the street doing the Tango.

While I don't beleive that the fine citizens of Buenos Aires spend their entire day Tangoing, I can accept this passage for teaching purposes. No problems.

Well, yesterday's class pointed out an error in their books. Instead of "tango" they had the word "golf." As in, Buenos Aires is the birthplace of the golf!!

I explained that there were many problems with this not the least of which is that no native English speaker has ever referred to golf as the golf. I also explained that Buenos Aires was indeed NOT the birthplace of the golf. 

No problem, right? I knew enough for today's class to explain this error before they read the e-mails. I said "See the picture of the two people dancing? That e-mail has some errors."

There were all "What two people?"

In my book, the Buenos Aires e-mail has a picture of Tango dancers - male and female - attached. In their books, the female tango dancer had been removed leaving just the man with his arms in an awkward upraised position. 

Perhaps this is why the word tango was replaced with golf. He didn't seem to have his arms in any golf position I am familiar with and they certainky didn't take the care to photoshop in a golf club, but still maybe...

I was shocked. I said, "Well, my book has a man AND a woman dancing. It's called the Tango. Do you know the Tango?"

They said, "Of course we do. These books come from Iran."

And, as we all know, they hate the Tango in Iran.

I hadn't considered that the books had come from Iran. Before today, we've had other errors in the book. In one conversation, the books tell us that a woman named Karen went to a restaurant to sing, while the audio CD clearly explains that she went to a Karaoke bar. 

In another conversation Tom asks Liz if she likes Rap music. His favorite singer is Eminem, you see. Well, the student books say that Tom asks Liz if she likes classical music. His favorite singer is still Eminem and the entire chapter is called "Do You Like Rap," so I'm not sure whether this one is simply an error or gross incompetence in censorship.

Just for the record, there are no discrepencies in the conversation about Celine Dion.

In related news, I heard a story about angry young Iranian women ripping off their headscarves and dancing on them in protest of the requirement that they must be worn. These protests, of course, occurr behind closed doors out of the sight of the police, but they happen nonetheless. Often, I am told, with expressive language which I will leave to your imagination.

In my imagination, these women tango on their headscarves and curse the golf.



2 comments:

Mobea said...

I once had to explain to a Mexican guy who worked for us that the crew was going to go out of town for a few days to install an electronic basketball scoreboard and that he needed to take a few days clothes with him. Since I could speeak Spanish and he couldn't speak English, I got the bright idea of going to AOL translation and printed the instructions out in Spanish. When I handed it to him, he just started cracking up laughing. I then went back and decided maybe I should check to see what I had just told him. So I translated it from Spanish back to English. I didn't think that I would ever be able to face that man again. You wouldn't believe what it said the basketball was for and what was going to be packed for three days and that he didn't need clothes for three days. From then on, he started teaching me Spanish and I started teaching him English. Funny though, even though sometimes we all do not speak the same language at the same time, we somehow learn to communicate in some form or fashion. Like the tango!

Ness Kinney said...

Ha Ha who does not love ...

the golf or
the tango or
the Celine Dion.

Do you remember Guierllmo? He was in my Spanish class, worked in one of the parking garages at OSU, would not let us leave the parking garage until I said something to him in Spanish. Niether Spanish nor English were his first language, in fact I think he was Dutch. I bet he loves The Celine Dion