Friday, September 19, 2008

They Would Not Listen, They Did Not Know How. Perhaps They'll Listen Now.

I don't watch local TV much anymore, but when I do, I invariably encounter buffoonery in one form or another. Sometimes it's a pitifully produced local commercial, sometimes it's cringe-worthy reportage, sometimes woeful anchoring. One shouldn't mock. We're not in New York City, baby. It's West Virginia. It *should* be a training ground for teh teevee n00bz to get better, but one would like to think that whilst training, people would at least *try* to get things right.

This evening, on one of the Charleston stations, I caught part of a report about some event or other happening this weekend, called, bafflingly, "Starry Starry Night". The reporter chirpily quipped, "Starry Starry Night! Which is also the title of my favourite Van Go painting!" Like, zomg!!11 teh gr8 coinsydense!11

Firstly - and let's get the somewhat understandable error out of the way first - she prounounced his name "Van Go". Coming from a country that is just as guilty of mispronouncing the famous Dutch painter's name ("Van Goff"), I shouldn't complain. But, if one is to split hairs, phoenetically, it's "fingoch", as one word, with a hard G and "och" as in "loch". But, as the phlegm-loaded "ccchh" sound isn't one that's native to Americans (or the English for that matter), I'll give her a free pass. Ish. I still think people should try harder to get it right, rather than plumping for "Van Go". That's what you should say when your minivan won't start, not how you address a man who is, arguably, the finest of the post-impessionists.

Secondly - No, "Starry Starry Night" is NOT the title of your favourite "Van Go" painting. It's the first line in a Don MacLean song. What you're thinking of is "THE Starry Night", or, if you're feeling particularly pretentious, "De Sterrennacht". If you were such a big fan of Mr. Go, you'd know that.

Thirdly - van Gogh walks into a bar, and Paul Gauguin is sitting there. "Alright, mate?" says Gauguin, "can I get you a drink?" "No thanks, " says van Gogh, "I've got one 'ere." (say it out loud.) Also, technically wrong, as van Gogh only cut off his earlobe (which he sent to a prostitute he was in love with), but never let accuracy get in the way of a good joke.

2 comments:

Chris James said...

I'll say his name the correct way if you can get one--ONE---Brit to say "jalapeƱo" in a manner that doesn't, at first, make me knee-jerk think "is he being cute in a mildly racist way or does he really say it like that?" for about .4 seconds before I remember that the British are every bit as offended of regarding the way that I mangle French and, well, English.

All Click said...

I love the contrast of the pretenious, persnickity correction of pronounciation...and the awful, awful, one ear joke.
Pure brilliance.
You even managed to get some German in there! Bravo!