Friday, February 13, 2009

John Kennedy was not a jelly doughnut

For years I've heard the rumor that when John Kennedy went to Berlin and declared "Eich bein ein Berliner," what he said was not "I am a Berliner," but "I am a jelly doughnut." But I've also heard that that is a rumor that is not true. It came up today at work, and I did a little bit of online research. So, once and for all, it is not true. First of all, it was clear from the context what Kennedy meant. He was not giving a speech about pastries; he was giving a speech about the Cold War. The equivalent in English would be saying "I am a danish." It sounds a little awkward, but if you were talking about foreign policy, everyone would understand that by "danish," you were referring to yourself as a citizen a small northern European country (even if you aren't a citizen of that country), not what you had for breakfast.

Kennedy got it right. Good to know that one urban legend is just that.

Speaking of northern European countries and doughnuts, Andrew Sullivan happened to post this old clip from a Muppets show. He was referring to Obama's plan for the bank bailout as being "not Swedish," i.e. not nationalizatin. I'm going to take advantage of the coincidence and post it. If you watch closely, it's really well done - the doughnuts land perfectly.

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