“I Don’t Think That Word Means What You Think It Means”
The Associated Press has righted a historic wrong. A while back, President Chavez called President Bush a “pendejo.” Now, depending on what country you live in, that word takes on a variety of meanings. In some countries, like Mexico, it’s pretty harsh. You could translate it to, say, “asshole.” In other countries, like Venezuela, it is much softer. It’s still not a compliment, but the translation is closer to “fool,” or “jerk,” or “idiot.”
At the time, the press was all atwitter after Reuters reported that Chavez had called the President of the United States an asshole. On the wires, the story was headed by the warning:
“Please note that paragraph 7 contains language that may be offensive to some readers."
I mean, really.
But Venezuelans, who take great pride in their language, were sort of ticked that the translation was so unfair. They pled with Reuters, and the reporters who followed up on the original story, to get it right.
Eighteen months later, Chavez took the opportunity to set the record straight by using the word once more. Referring to OAS President Jose Miguel Insulza (pictured above), AP reports that the president “used a vulgar word roughly meaning “idiot’.”
Our long linguistic nightmare is over. Anybody got a peanut?