Friday, April 11, 2008
Israelis generally speak English pretty well. They start learning that lingua franca somewhere around first or second grade. The TV show "Friends" was a huge hit, and I personally was involved with an Air Force intelligence officer who spoke perfect English; she claims it was from watching that show. I was on the bus recently and saw an Israeli high schooler reading an English novel. They speak English!
So how on G-d's green earth do these misplaced and inappropriate words and expressions go unnoticed?! I love it, don't get me wrong, I love it, but aren't we trying to be a first-rate country over here? The real joke is whether or not they plan on trying to export anything to an English speaking country. I love me some sugar candy, but maybe this isn't just candy...
If you notice, I already got my fix. Pretty powerful sugar if you ask me. Look at those faces! I can just hear them now:
"Hey man, hey, I swear it's good, man. Just take a hit, bro, it'll mess you up!" Says the winking guy in the upper left corner.
Tongue hanging out, drool dribbling down his chin, this joker manages to slur "I can't feel my face, man. Why you starin' at me?"
"Withdrawal is a bitch..." says the frowny face in the lower right.
And the best? What kind of advertising is this, at least for parents who may buy this drug for their kids? Yes, I want my child to be so high on "Magic Dust" (say that slowly) that his eyes go in different directions. "You gotta try it, you gotta try it!"
Finally, look at this sedated face. "I'm so messed up I can barely keep my eyes open, my pupils are so dilated you can barely see the color, and damnit, it feeeeeels goooood."
I had the brilliant idea to take a picture of this bag next to a line of salt and a rolled up bank note, making it look like a real drug scene. I figured my mom and Google wouldn't share my humor, though. Hey, quit stifling my creativity, stupid anti-drug society! We here in Israel know how to do it, even if we do advertise candy corn on a bag of pure sugar in a country where I have never even seen candy corn. Good riddance to that stupid Halloween treat. I'd rather have the Dust, baby. Yeah, get me some more of that Magic Dust.
I love Israeli candy.
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I remember the last time I had the dust. gotta love the eighties.
"So how on G-d's green earth do these misplaced and inappropriate words and expressions go unnoticed?!"
First of all, I'm not so convinced that Israelis' Hebrew is so terrific. Maybe I'm just picky, and maybe it's just subtle resentment because of when I speak to them in Hebrew, and they answer me in English (sometimes, English poorer than my Hebrew). But, okay, some are great in English and some not so great.
But the candy wrapper is part of something much bigger. I think that Israelis are so PROUD of their English, that they won't dare ask anyone to proofread it. I've been taking pictures of signs and wrappers since I got here, too. From the Psak Zman "4-play" candy bar (to put you in that special mood) to Kenvelo's F.B.I t-shirts ("Inspect body girl" -- get it?!), to permanent storefront signs ("Burger's Bar"), they just will not ask a native speaker to give it a once-over before it goes to the printers, I guess.
I have some hilarious signs from the Kinneret that I'll send you.
I agree, actually, now that I think about it. I remember the first time I cam here on Birthright and talked to my new Israeli friends (in English, of course). I thought it was so amazing. I thought they spoke so well. I know one of them still, and I talked to him recently... great English, but honestly no where near a native speaker's ability to just instinctively understand what's said and how to say it.
I still still still cannot get it through my head that Israelis are that stubborn. I know it through and through, but their chutzpah and lack of ability to say "I don't know" is too astronomical for me to grasp. If they were just slightly arrogant I could accept it, but the infallibility of every Joe on the street makes it too much for me to handle.
The craziest thing about all these signs is that in Jerusalem just about every third person is from America or an English speaking country. Just say, "hey, come check this sentence. I'll give you a free iced coffee." That's it!
Send them on over!
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