Wednesday, March 20, 2013

simon, carnal

Jimmeh. He was a good guy, and I remember him well. It's been 35  years, but seems like last week.

I remember when he went to Poland in '77. Those over 50 will recall that Poland was still behind the dreaded "iron curtain" in those days, and its people in a state of more-or-less permanent rebellion against their Russian masters.

Carter had major problems on this trip, however, mainly because of the translator that whoever handles those things had hired for him. Steven Seymour, a freelance linguist, was added to staff for $150 a day, but it soon became obvious he had problems with the spoken word.

For example, when Carter said he wanted to know more about the hopes and aspirations of the Polish people going forward, Seymour's translation had him saying he was curious to know more about the carnal lusts of the Polish people for the future.

At the end of his speech Carter said he was returning to America and would often recall his visit to Poland. Seymour's version of this was so garbled the crowd believed Carter was saying he was leaving to go home and pack up, and planned to leave America forever.

it was stuff like that the gave Jimmeh's administration kind of a slapdash, improvised feel, which in a way is reassuring. We should never forget that we're ruled by human beings, no different than ourselves.

No comments: