Friday, July 14, 2017

When spark plugs attack

See if you can guess where the Editor In Chief Emeritus of the Washington Times is going with this one:

The Donald finally caught a break in Paris, basking in rare Franco-American bonhomie as he joined the new president of France on Bastille Day, this year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the American arrival on the battlefields of World War I.

A contingent of American troops even led the parade down the Champs-Elysees. Not even a president can resist a parade, especially a military parade with marching bands and serried ranks of fighting men. On Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron of France did not even try.

I think you've got the wrong "not even" -- is there some reason heads of state should be especially immune to the old blare of bugles and ruffle of drums? But we're about to get to the point:

Neither did Donald Trump, once a schoolboy at a military academy. Regimental flags floating on a peaceful breeze, despised as nationalist symbols to some, are but reminders to all that “greater love hath no man than this,” in the words of Christ as recorded by the Apostle John, “that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

So whatever his offspring have been up to with the Russians, the Bright Sun of the 21st Century is still reminding Europe who's the real defender of Western Civ. Which makes the Times's venture into period history all the more interesting:

... The 100th anniversary celebrations are particularly poignant reminders of Franco-American friendship when it was backs-to-the-wall time.  ... When the Germans, advancing through a grain field, got within a hundred yards, the Marines opened ferocious rifle fire, mowing down the ranks of the Bosch until the survivors fled into the woods.

Formez vos ranks of brushed stainless steel! Surely that's a single slip,* though?

... Said a French officer at the time, “the Americans were irrepressible! They climbed like cats into the highest trees to ‘kill the Bosch’ and began to fire into the enemy sentries or on the German platoons running between the first and second line of trenches.”

Normally it's poor sport and worse karma to pick on individual spelling errors. But after the cheap foul in the third paragraph, one has to ask: Would this be the same paper that misspelled "Heckler & Koch" in its paean to Massster's Second Amendment skills? The one that can't tell the barrel of a shotgun from the front stock? The one that happily joined in the Murdoch-led plot to declare that Obama ordered all Marines to look as girly as Sgt. Dan Daly?

Yeah, that paper. Now that France is the new Great European Hope for the Times and its ilk, shall we see how France looked a few years ago?

Marines are decrying a new look President Obama has planned for their uniforms — namely, a unisex-style cap that they say looks more French than American, more “girly” than hard-charging.

Please, never pass up a chance to make fun of these folks.

* If only newspapers still employed people who looked stuff up in dictionaries. We could call them ... copy editors! Anyway, here's the OED on "boche":

The origin of the French noun as a derogatory term for a German is unclear. It probably shows either:

(i) a sense development of boche scoundrel (1866; compare tête de boche obstinate, ignorant, or unintelligent person (1862; 1886 as a derogatory term for a German)), probably shortened < caboche blockhead, head (see cabbage n.1);

or (ii) a shortening of Alboche (also Alleboche ) (1860 as a derogatory term for a German, 1868 in tête d'alboche in the same sense), apparently an alteration of Allemand German (see Almain adj.), either after boche or caboche, or after earlier colloquial formations in -boche (as e.g. rigolboche amusing (1860; 1858 as the name of a fictional dancer)).

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