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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Le Darth Pansy-boy

A few weeks back, when the last Star Wars juggernaut hit France, many were bemused that its release date was influenced by the French State, with the result that France saw flying Yoda (not to mention flying R2D2) a day before all those silly English k'niggits (not to mention the rest of the world) got to.

The whys and wherefores are a bit of a long story, and a pretty sodding boring one, at that, so let's just say it was an evil French plot to piss off American neocons who, no doubt, wanted to be first in line to give big props to their buddy Darth.

The far more important, much less reported, aspect of the French release of Star Wars III: Sith Happens, was the change of Darth Vader's name. Or, at least, its spelling. Your Correspondent saw the first Star Wars in its theatrical release way back, what seems like a millennium falcon ago, and he has braved the epithets of thirty years of hipsters by continuing the tradition with each successive se/prequel. So it would have taken a bit more subtlety than putting it on bus-stops and billboards to slide past me that the French spell Darth Vader's name differently. There, above the familiar black cape, gas-mask, helmet, and James-Earl-Jones-brand chest protector, the posters trumpeted the rise of the evil dark lord...

Darth Vador.

That's right: Darth VadOR. I can't say I put much effort into thinking about it, but I'll admit it did nag at me. Why'd they change the damn spelling? Are they that language proud they've gotta start changing the names of sci-fi characters to be more acceptable to the Academie Francaise?

I was mid-sentence, wondering this very thought aloud to Flame-Haired Angel, when it struck me. It wasn't language pride. It was machismo. They didn't want Big Darth to sound like a pansy: Darth Vader, in French, would have to come out as the rather limp-wristed Darth VahDAY.

Even with the comfort that comes from understanding, I still walked around ever so slightly put off by these posters trying to make Lord Vador scary. I have no idea why but, to this English-speaker's eye, he just didn't seem as evil spelled that way.

It's too bad Osama Bin Laden and George W Bush aren't spelled any differently in France. They might come out less evil, too.

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