Thursday, December 09, 2010

A joke

Q: What do you call someone who speaks three languages?
A: Trilingual.
Q: What do you call someone who speaks two languages?
A: Bilingual.
Q: What do you call someone who speaks one language?
A: American.

Americans are probably the most parochial people on the planet, other than subsistence farmers in 3rd world countries or isolated primitive tribesmen in the depths of the jungle. The majority of Europeans have passports and have travelled to a foreign country, for example -- 77% of Brits have a passport. The number of Americans who have a passport? 22%. The number of those who've actually used it? Well, I don't have any numbers on that, but I suspect maybe half of those.

What that means is less than 1/4th of Americans have even experienced *Canada*, much less truly foreign cultures. Don't give me that "but there's no foreign nations nearby!" bullshit, Mexico and Canada are *right there*. The deal is, Americans don't feel they need to travel. Because, after all, America is number one, yada yada yada, wave the red white and blue fuck yeah, and if you feel you're God's chosen people, why would you want to visit all those lesser peoples?

Of course, thing is, America is swiftly moving into 3rd world status, to the point where most California hospitals would have to close their doors if it weren't for all the Filipino nurses that they're hiring. That is a fact which apparently rankles a lot of the American-born nurses and administrators at one hospital, Delano Regional Medical Center near Bakersfield Oklahoma oops California (my bad, same people in both places, Okies) ... to the point where, upset that the Filipinos were talking amongst themselves in Filipino rather than English, they passed a rule prohibiting speaking Filipino while on the clock.

The hospital's response? "The rule is essential for providing quality patient care." Errm, if we're talking about medical communications, perhaps. But apparently the rule went far beyond that and prohibited them from speaking Filipino for things not medical communications. Because gosh darn it, how dare those wogs speak a language that we don't understand! Why, they might be making fun of us! Those wogs just need to grow up and speak the only language that everybody should know, God's own language, the language that the Bible was written in, English. Yessiree, gotta keep the darkies in their place, y'know... we might depend upon them to change our nappies and keep us from goin' commando (since Americans can't even make their own undies anymore -- helpful darkies in El Salvador and Vietnam do that duty), but that's only proper, because everybody knows that darkies are only fit to be servants, right? Right?!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin


  1. Dude. You're off on this one. I worked in a hospital where Tagalog was the most common language spoken. You wouldn't believe the shit that went on there. Did you know that most classes in the Philippines are taught in English?

  2. Hey, if English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for Filipino nurses!

  3. I'm not understanding you, Nunya. My mother was a nursing supervisor for over 20 years. A great many of her nurses were Filipino too. Somehow they managed without an "English Only" rule. Funny how that works, hrm...

  4. What about Spanish, or any other language? Or, did they only pass a "rule" prohibiting Filipino? Seem like another poor example of American Exceptionalisim. WASF

  5. Just an aside -- like I pointed out at my bedtime above, a) my mother managed Filipino nurses for 20 years. Not a problem. She wasn't one of those hoity toity managers with a stick stuck up her ****, she was down in the trenches with them. And b) I'm quite aware of Filipino culture and the fact that they speak English just fine, these people were friends of the family, in fact my brother dated one of their daughters for a couple of years. BTW, The Philippines has an official language. It's called Filipino. The fact that it's mostly Tagalong is irrelevant, unless the nurses involved are from the Tagalong cultural group as a matter of respect it should formally be identified as Filipino under Philippines law and culture.

    My guess on why the Filipino nurses were singled out is that a nursing supervisor had issues with his or her nurses and became convinced the nurses were talking about him behind his back. That's the way it usually works in these situations. The Spanish-speakers are generally not going to be nurses, they'll be orderlies or custodial staff, and who cares what language they use anyhow, right? American exceptionalism cuts both ways, in other words :).

    - Badtux the Exceptional Penguin

  6. I think we're in agreement here. I don't like the rule, no way, no how. Now if the nurses were in a discussion with a supervisor, or in a group setting with English only co-workers, that might be a time when English should prevail. I think it is common courtesy in that setting. What say you, Exceptional Penguin?

  7. Silly rule. Then again, all the languages of the Philippines sound cool to me, although Tagalog is my favorite.

    Regarding American insularity and lack of interest in international travel, I wonder what the stats are for other countries the size of the US? From England, it isn't far to France or the Netherlands; from (say) Kansas, it's a bit further even to Canada or Mexico unless my sense of distance has been permanently warped by long-term use of Mercator projections.

    Or maybe most Americans just can't afford international travel any more. The US isn't exactly #1 in disposable income--or any other category that I'm aware of besides military spending, percentage of population incarcerated, and Holy Rollers per square mile.

  8. Fuck all the different languages, pick one for the whole world and run with it.

  9. Excellent idea, BBC! I propose that we adopt the language that has the most people speaking it. That's only fair, don't you think?

    Your Mandarin Chinese study materials shall arrive in the mail shortly :).

    - Badtux the Snarky Penguin

  10. Bad Tux:
    You snarky Penguin, you. That was a perfect response to BBC. You wear so many hats,I can't keep up.

  11. Badtux,

    Well, part of what you said in your second comment was my suspicion also, but I stand my my seemingly racist statement. I've got nothing but my own experiences to base that particular statement on.


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