This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Shooting blindfold: a rant.

I expect you've all had a giggle about the Homeland graffiti.

Just in case you haven't seen the story, the American TV programme Homeland, which has bits set in a Middle Eastern refugee camp, decided some graffiti was needed to adorn the walls. So they got in some Arabic artists to do it.

These artists - Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and Stone - being, well, artists, decided to be artistic. This meant that the graffiti crystalised reality to the artists' best ability. One slogan said Homeland is a joke and it didn't make us laugh, and another said #blacklivesmatter.

No one on the Homeland team bothered to check the graffiti, and the slogans were broadcast unchanged.

It's a bit of a surprise that there was no one around who could read the script to see what it said - I mean Homeland is a seriously wealthy concern, it's not like some drunk who's stumbled into a tattoo parlour - but, never mind, Homeland is fiction so the matter is essentially trivial.

But how about this. In 2007 there were only ten US foreign service officers whose grasp of Arabic was rated as high as 3/5. 

Just let that sink in for a moment.

Now, I'm far from being an expert, but you'd think that having to rely almost entirely on interpreters to know what people were saying just might have been a teensy weensy bit of a disadvantage when you're conducting a war.

And the war, heaven help us, was real.

Word To Use Today: translate. This word comes from the Latin translātus, transferred or carried over.

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