“Safeguarding our way of life depends on economic strength and standing up to terrorism and international aggression.”
Though the second half is standard-issue meaningless tough talk, that “economic strength” set my heart aflutter. Had these two powerful world leaders finally concluded that Islamic terrorism’s primary cause was neither violence inherent to Islam nor barbarism native to Middle Easterners but the region’s explosive mixture of poverty, hopelessness, and youth unemployment? Would we be cutting spending on our mind-bogglingly massive defense budget and battling future terrorism by reinvesting it in a global pro-education, anti-poverty fund?
No, of course not. Here’s what they actually wrote: “We reaffirm our belief that our ability to defend our freedoms is rooted in our economic strength.”
In other words, we need to focus on making sure our own wealthy nations stay wealthy so we can keep pouring money into whack-a-mole military solutions.
It’s obviously not a coincidence of any statistical significance, but it’s still interesting to note that America is either violent enough or unequal enough (or both) that the same number of people are shot to death yearly as own more than a tenth of the country’s wealth.
Today’s Translated Thai Joke is the product of an unusual aspect of Thai society.
Two young lovers carry each other back to their hotel room. After making love, they lie holding each other. The girl reaches a hand under the covers and places it over her partner’s privates. She: I miss it so much. He smiles proudly and shoots her an incredulous look. He: Oh, yeah? You miss me already? She: No, it’s not that. It’s just…I used to have one.
Trans women and cross-dressing men are extraordinarily common in Thailand. You’ve almost certainly met one of these if you’ve ever been to Thailand, whether you know it or not. The English term used in Thailand for a trans woman or effeminate man is “Ladyboy,” while the Thai word is kathoey (กะเทย). You’ll hear these terms all the time if you visit the Land of Smiles.
You might even encounter one of Thailand’s infamous kathoey kwai (กะเทยควาย, literally “buffalo ladyboys,” figuratively “Trannosaurus Rex”), a term used to refer to particularly poorly camouflaged cross-dressers. While “buffalo” is an uncommon insult in the Anglophone world, it’s very popular in Thailand as a way to refer to an especially large or slow person.
That’s all for now! If you didn’t like today’s joke, at least enjoy this clip of one of the most popular contestants in Thailand’s Got Talent history:
Today’s Translated Thai Joke, below, comes to you in illustrated form courtesy of Thailand’s massive “Fan Club Man U” – and its members’ no-bull approach to appraising their team.
Welcome to Old Trafford, Angel Di Maria! Good luck handling the pressure.
“Quite A Bit Of Pressure”
In case you can’t read the cartoon:
Juan Mata: “Angel…you’re going to be under quite a bit of pressure in the first match.” Angel Di Maria: “Because I’m wearing the #7 shirt and the club paid a lot of money to buy me, right?” Mata: “No…because Young, Evans, Jones, and Fletcher are all playing.” Di Maria: “…………”
Thais love jokes. Especially blue jokes. As a proud member of an all-Thai (besides me) group chat on Line, I’m privy to a constant stream of off-color Thai humor. I’ve decided I’ll translate the jokes that come my way for the enjoyment of the Anglophone world. (Disclaimer: I take no credit for the content of these jokes. The faint of heart and weak of stomach should read no further.)
“The New Secretary”
Mr. Krieger is interviewing a new secretary. Mr. Krieger: Turn around, please. Secretary: Yes, sir. Mr. Krieger wraps his arms around her and places a palm over each of her breasts. Mr. Krieger: Do you know what I’m doing? Secretary: Measuring for my shirt size, sir. Mr. Krieger, breathing deeply, passes his nose along the secretary’s neck and up and down the side of her face. Mr. Krieger: Do you know what I’m doing now? Secretary: Checking for body odor, sir. Mr. Krieger begins removing the secretary’s clothing, one piece at a time. Mr. Krieger: How about now? Do you know what I’m doing? Secretary: Reviewing my general bodily health, sir. Finally, all of the secretary’s clothing has been removed. Mr. Krieger: And do you know what I’m doing now? Secretary: Yes, sir. You’re performing some type of acupuncture to help cure my AIDS!
These two sides have met in World Cup finals before. Diego Maradona led Argentina to victory at home in 1986, but couldn’t overcome a dubious red card and penalty in Italy 1990. It might be telling that each of those two matches was won by the country playing on its home continent. European and South American sides have met in the final on nine previous occasions; European teams are 0-7 outside Europe and 2-1 on the old continent (Pele’s Brazil beat Sweden at Sweden 1958). Still, the Germans have knocked Argentina out of the last two World Cups, and they can certainly have no fear of hostile crowds after their last match. This one will be decided by the players, plain and simple.
We witnessed soccer history yesterday in Germany’s 7-1 destruction of Brazil. The Germans were worth every bit of that scoreline – in fact, Mesut Özil’s late miss and Oscar’s even later consolation goal mean 7-1 might have flattered Brazil – and the specter of a final against Joachim Löw’s new Wunderteam hangs over today’s match.
But both nations competing this evening have their own place in the sport’s history: Holland is home to totaalvoetbal and Johan Cruyff, while Argentina can point to a pedigree of two World Cup victories and two of the game’s greats in Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi. Messi has been a player-of-the-tournament candidate in his first five matches, but so has Holland’s Arjen Robben (pictured above), the unstoppable dribbler and incorrigible diver. Which superstar will inspire his team to progression to the final against Germany?
And then there were four. And arguably the best four in the competition: Brazil, Germany, Argentina, and the Netherlands, although Colombia and Chile could argue for their inclusion in the top tier.
The first match features five-time champions and hosts Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002) against three-time champions Germany (1954, 1974, 1990). They’ve only met in the World Cup once, in 2002, when Brazil beat Germany 2-0 in the final on the strength of two Ronaldo goals. Germany have been one of the strongest sides in the world for years and are currently ranked second by FIFA; Brazil are ranked third, but they’ll carry onto the field with them the hopes, dreams, and energy of the world’s greatest soccer nation.
The second quarterfinal features hosts Brazil and surprising Colombia. Despite failing to impress so far, the Brazilians will still be favorites in front of their home crowd. Their South American neighbors, meanwhile, have been the best side in the Cup, with the best player in young James (“HA-mace”) Rodriguez. The world will be watching the matchup between James (pictured above) and Brazil’s own young star Neymar.
Happy Fourth of July! Appropriately, today’s two World Cup matches should bring the pyrotechnics; the world is expecting Football Fireworks of the highest luminosity. The second match features Neymar’s Brazil, the hosts and most successful team ever, against James Rodriguez’s Colombia, the best side in the tournament so far. But first, it’s France and Germany, the old neighbors and rivals, who have scored a combined seventeen goals in three previous World Cup meetings. Can the technical class of the French overcome the speed and power of the Germans?