July 06, 2006

A new type of dong

Am I the only person in the world who thinks it is hilarious that the name of the mighty missile launched on Independence Day by the diminutive leader of the world's crappiest country is the Taepodong? And that it prematurely ejaculated 40 seconds after erection? C'mon; lighten up, America. Even if you are able to repress your amusement at the the strange tendency of Korean names to sound obscene in English (and we linguists do try not to laugh at foreign languages; we try respect even the funny-sounding ones), you gotta laugh at the phallic imagery here. A 5-foot-2-inch brutal tyrant with lifts in his shoes and a bouffant hairdo and 13 illegitimate children who's afraid to fly and spends $700,000 a year on brandy when his people are starving and he can't get his Taepodong up? And an earlier attempt at missile building led to one called the Nodong? Go on, laugh at the murderous little shit. It won't change anything, but it'll do you good.

Ah, no, it seems I am not at all the only person to think this an occasion for jest. Jon Stewart and Rob Corddry on The Daily Show made merry with the rich linguistic possibilities here, as can be seen from the video here — and they had visited the topic earlier as you can see here. If only I had cable, I might have known all this; thanks to Monica Lacerda for pointing it out to me, and to Sylvia Drake for pointing out the earlier piece, and to Lane Greene for reminding me that the North Korean naming policies also gave us the the Nodong.

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at July 6, 2006 06:56 PM