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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #374
David Gunn

Operation TIPS, or the Terrorist Information and Prevention System, is the FBI's latest civil liberties erosion toy. Concocted by an attorney general who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the program will recruit thirty million volunteers to act as spies and informants against their neighbors. All suspicious--and, therefore, potentially terrorist-related--activities will be reported to the Office of Homemaker Security, which will forthwith dispatch agents to dispatch the suspects. Members of Congress, who were last seen being asked to submit to FBI-administered polygraph tests, are naturally a tad skittish over this latest assault on the 18th Amendment of the US Constitution. But they're not alone. A contributor to a certain radio program, me, is also just a bit apprehensive. Here's why.

On the same day that Tuvalu gained independence from Britain, I granted independence to "Suspenders," a composition that featured translations of elastic trouser strap-related texts into half a dozen foreign languages. And now, 291 months later, thanks to, in my opinion, pure and simple coincidence, these languages--Italian, French, Spanish, German, Japanese and Hungarian--reside at the top of the US military's Axis of Evil list. An undercover federal agent disguised as a shoehorn with an overactive thyroid gland recently showed me alternative translations that he said were pure and simple seditious. He threatened to take me into custody for questioning unless I paid him thirty dollars. I negotiated the figure down to fifteen, but I suspect he'll be back for another monetary helping. He also warned me to not make this information public, so I'm somewhat complying by using this obscure carrier wave to inform you, our listening audient, of the situation. Here’s the original foreign language text, my translation, and the government's recontextualization. Do they smack of terrorism? You be the judge.

Italian: Canterò circa le bretelle. Mio zio non è un cammello. Tu sei uno certriol--la vostra testa è coś piena di formaggio!
English: I will sing about suspenders. My uncle is not a camel. You are an imbecile--your head is so full of cheese!
Gummint: The words suspenders, camel and cheese first raised the suspicions of cryptologists during the Persian Gulf Police Incursion because they regularly appeared in internal Iraqi communiqués. Suspenders was decoded to mean state secrets, a camel was an infidel, and to have a head full of cheese referred to a jellied loaf made from the chopped and boiled head and feet of a hog. Thus, to "sing about suspenders" is to reveal state secrets; "my uncle is not a camel" means he is not an infidel--and, by extension, neither is the writer of the message; and to have a "head full of cheese" suggests the person has no dietary restrictions and therefore is an infidel. The logic of this last statement is unclear.

French: Les chameaux ne mangent pas de jarretelles parce qu'il leurs font avoir soif.
English: Camels don't eat suspenders because it makes them thirsty.
Gummint: Here, the meanings of the first two words differ. Camels are jihad warriors, suspenders are headcheese, and thirsty is, presumably, thirsty. The result is a commonly heard battle cry from sworn enemies of the state.

Spanish: Mi camello es enfermo, pero cómo es sus ligas? O son buenas. Cupieron mejor que el queso.
English: My camel is sick, but how are your suspenders? Oh, they're all right. They fit better than the cheese.
Gummint: A simple change in inflection alters the meanings of camel, suspenders and cheese. The exchange which, on the surface, sounds like innocent banter, really is a query about the status of germ warfare, plus another recondite reference to jellied hog's heads.

German: Hosenträger sind grösser als Gamaschen aber nicht so groß wie das Kamel.
English: Suspenders are bigger than spats but not as big as the camel.
Gummint: Here, suspenders are infidels, spats are either bivalve mollusks in the larval stage or brief quarrels, and camel is the jihad, meaning that the infidels may win the battle of the oysters, but the holy war will prevail.

Japanese: Moshi watashi ni akai zubonturi ga arimashi tara watashi wa rakuda wa hitu yo arimasen.
English: If I had some red suspenders, then I would not need the camel.
Gummint: Substitute herring for suspenders and headcheese for camel and you get a real red herring designed to draw attention away from more significant covert messages.

Hungarian: Joban szeretem a nadrak husomat mind a puposhatas tehent. Az en angyum szereti a turat nem szereti a puposhatas tehent.
English: I love my suspenders even more than I love the camel. My aunt likes the cheese; she does not like the camel.
Gummint: In this instance of perverse logic, suspenders and cheese both mean jihad, camel is headcheese and my aunt is a camel. Thus, the only rational thinker here is the camel.

In my judgment, the only irrational thinker here is the government. If you agree, why not ring up Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar--this 374th episode would be a fine time to do so--and register your support! The telephone number is mnemonically known as GLIPSOB, which a different controlling body has translated to mean a group of insurgents bent on wresting control of a radio station away from its rightful feudal proprietors, but that's another story. For a still different story, we turn to the head cheeseball of the 2:30 to 4:30 musical marketplace, Kalvos.