By now, you’ve all read about V.P. Joe Biden’s, um, colorful commentary to the President at the health care bill signing ceremony on Tuesday. If you haven’t, well, you really need to learn about TV and the Internet. But I will bore us all with a mini recap so we’re all on the same page.
Biden’s speech at the start of the ceremony went sorta like this: I love Barack Obama. Obama is great. This reform legislation is amazing. I love this legislation. And I love Barack Obama for bringing on this amazing legislation, which I also love.
Okay, it was much more heartfelt than that. Let’s face it – Joe does not fear showing his emotions. And I certainly got swept up in the moment. I mean, you really don’t work on legislation of this scope and caliber very often. To have played even the teeny tiny roll I played made feel feel all warm and gooey inside. And it’s not just because CoCo is engaging in what can only be described as an epic battle for the survival of humanity inside my abdomen.
Anyway, as Biden and the President embraced, Biden was caught on his mic saying: This is a big fucking deal!
Yes, Mr. Vice President, it is indeed.
So that night, AM, CO, HC, and I made the trek out to Two Amy’s pizza in Cleveland Park to round out our pizza tasting before I never want to eat pizza again. For the record, it was delicious. My only complaint is that either the knives aren’t sharp enough to cut the pizza, or something happens to the crust as it sits waiting to be devoured that makes it impossible to cut. Either way, I don’t care for that. And, turns out, I forgot about Comet something or other, also in Cleveland Park. So the pizza eating must continue.
But I digress.
As we were driving up to the restaurant, CO told us about the Spanish-language reporting of Biden’s comment. CO said that, as “fucking” in this usage does not have a clear Spanish translation, the press quoted Biden this way: Esto es algo de puta madre.
So I’ve heard “puta madre” before, and it really doesn’t mean “fucking” in the English sense. CO agreed, explaining that it literally means “mother of
Okay, so the bill is a big fucking deal. But the mother of all whores? I don’t think so. Also, might this be a negative interpretation of Biden’s view?
Well, no, CO explained. “The truth is that ‘puta’ is modifying ‘madre’ and not the other way around, which is why people think ‘motherfucker’ is more
Again, the bill is a big fucking deal. To call it a big motherfucker is not exactly capturing Biden’s sentiment. At least, not in it’s English to Spanish to English translation.
Ever diligent, CO directed us to a Wikipedia entry explaining the translation issue.
Puta madre (literally “whore or fucking mother”) [de puta madre is an expression used in Spain, Mexico, Peru and Chile], on the other hand, while vulgar, can also be a term of praise, (me siento de puta madre, for example can be translated as “I feel motherfucking great”). So, the use of puta madre is comparable to how “motherfucker” can be used positively in English, although more uniformly positive: Escribe como la puta madre (in Spain: escribe de puta madre) might be rendered “He writes motherfuckin’ great”; es una tía de puta madre can mean “she’s an awesome chick”.
Okay, I stand corrected. This bill is a puta madre!
P.S. – When my mother said I should be speaking Spanish to CoCo, I’m not sure that this is what she had in mind.