Eating Pizza Elastic Loaves While Reading Lolita in Tehran

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Because Iran's oppressive government isn't oppressive enough, it has now decided to ban the word pizza and some 2,000 other terms.

"The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language," reports the AP. "The presidential decree…orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported."

The replacement for pizzas? "Elastic loaves." Which makes me think the Persian Academy must be ordering from Pizza Hut.

In other changes, a "chat" will now be known as a "short talk" and a "cabin" will now be known as a "small room."

More here.

Hat Tip: Hit & Run regular John Gilmore.

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  1. Wasn’t it Little Caesar’s with the stretchy cheese commercials back in the day?

  2. Replace the word “Farsi” with “French”, and “Iran” with “Quebec” and this story wouldnt even be news

  3. I wonder what you ask for if you want American cheese on your burger.

  4. 10-15 years, I would think.

  5. Vincent: And you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Tehran?

    Jules: They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?

    Vincent: No man, they got the Shari’a system. They wouldn’t know what the fuck a Quarter Pounder is.

    Jules: Then what do they call it?

    Vincent: They call it a Shahid with cheese.

    Jules: A Shahid with cheese. What do they call a Big Mac?

    Vincent: Well, a Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it al Big-Mac.

    Jules: Al Big-Mac. Ha ha ha ha. What do they call a Whopper?

    Vincent: I dunno, I didn’t go into Burger King.

  6. Vincent: I dunno, I didn’t go into Burger King.

    Formerly, Burger Shah

  7. Jules: And do you know why they call it a Shahid with cheese?
    Brad: Because of the Shari’a system?
    Jules: Check out the big brain on Brad! That’s right, Brad, you a smart motherfucker!

  8. Why don’t they use French? They have a different word for everything.

  9. Uncle Enzo may have something to say about this.

  10. I sure could go for some Freedom Fries right about now…

  11. In this spirit, I will henceforth substitute the word “douchebag” whenever I mean to say “The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad”.

  12. Yeah, I know it’s a joke, but

    Vincent: Well, a Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it al Big-Mac.

    continues the error of thinking Iranians are Arabs, and Farsi is Arabic. I don’t know how to say ‘the’ in Farsi, but it’s probably somewhat similar to ‘the’, because English and Farsi are cousins. The Iranians may be Islamo-Fascists, but they’re not Arabs.
    On the other hand, only about a quarter of the French language fascism rules actually take–they use a few local words (logiciel for software, lecteur for CD or DVD player), but most words are the usual English borrowings, and the average French citizen pays no attention to the Feds.
    Sorry, just being a pedantic linguist…

  13. For my money, the Persians were so much cooler when they followed Zoroaster.

  14. I don’t know how to say ‘the’ in Farsi, but it’s probably somewhat similar to ‘the’, because English and Farsi are cousins.

    Yes, I’m aware Farsi is not Arabic. However, I don’t know the correct Farsi word for “the” either and the original joke is ultimately dependent on translating “the” into a foreign language.

  15. the original joke is ultimately dependent on translating “the” into a foreign language

    Could we get a few more paragraphs on this? It’s starting to get funny and with a little more explanation I know be laughing my ass off. That’s how jokes work, right?

  16. The Iranians may be Islamo-Fascists, but they’re not Arabs.

    When insulting an Iranian, calling him an Arab might be a good start.

  17. When insulting an Iranian, calling him an Arab might be a good start.

    Only now, you can call him a pizza.

    But quietly, and only when no cops are around.

  18. Jeff P.: I’m hoping Uncle Enzo has done something about the football-shaped Abkhazian men running the franchises or they’re screwed.

  19. Timothy,

    Stretchy cheese is A-OK. Stretchy crust is bad pizza form.

  20. “The” is “hoi,” as in “the hoi polloi.”

  21. Egad. I looked up “the” in an on-line English-Farsi translator and ended up with this abomination:

    ??? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?????

    I looked for but couldn’t find a Romanized version of this long, long word for “the”. Someone with superior linguistic skills must take over now. So sorry.

  22. I hope I’m not committing a crime under Godwin’s Law, but…

    Nazi Germany went on an extenisve campaign to purge “foreign” words from German. That’s why you have Fernsehen (“far seeing”) instead of television and Fernschreiber (“far writer”) instead of teletype.

    This seems to have worked fro some words, but not for others. Asking Germans to play Korball will get funny looks, but asking to play Basketball will work.

    Also, post-war Germany seems to borrow from English a lot: witness words like programmieren, upgeloaden and downgeloaden.

    I expect the long-term result of this campaign will be that a few words will be replaced with Farsi equivalents, but most of them will simply become more entrenched.

  23. Ron Hardin,

    Hoi polloi is, of course, Greek. Are you saying that the Greek “hoi” is derived from the Persian, vice versa, or from a common root word?

    And don’t ever say “the the” again 🙂

  24. Ron Hardin,

    Hoi polloi is, of course, Greek. Are you saying that the Greek “hoi” is derived from the Persian, vice versa, or from a common root word?

    And don’t ever say “the the” again 🙂

  25. Could we get a few more paragraphs on this? It’s starting to get funny and with a little more explanation I know be laughing my ass off. That’s how jokes work, right?

    When I said the “original joke” depended on the translation of “the”, I was referring to the joke in the movie, in which Jules is informed by Vincent that “a Big Mac” is called “le Big Mac” in French. The joke here is that the Vincent/Jules exchange has been loosely adapted to reflect Iran rather than France.

  26. I, for one, am just glad to hear that all of Iran’s other problems have been solved, and their gov’t can focus on minutae like this…

    I wonder what their approved term for “Non Proliferation Treaty” is under the new linguistic regime?

  27. PL I looked for but couldn’t find a Romanized version of this long, long word for “the”. Someone with superior linguistic skills must take over now. So sorry.

    I don’t speak farsi, but I read Arabic. It says that “the” is the definite article or used to indicate definiteness

  28. Replace the word “Farsi” with “French”, and “Iran” with “Quebec” and this story wouldnt even be news

    Replacing “Quebec” with “France” works, too.

    Don’t try to use words like “walkman” or “microwave” in an official French document, or it’s off to the bastille!

  29. “I wonder what their approved term for “Non Proliferation Treaty” is under the new linguistic regime?”

    ‘Global jihad’

  30. Ever notice how government-mandated, politically-correct replacement terms are almost always longer than the words they replace? Yet another example of the inefficiency of government when it meddles in things like this….

  31. The joke here is that the Vincent/Jules exchange has been loosely adapted to reflect Iran rather than France

    OK, thanks, that did it. I’m rolling in the freaking aisle here now.

  32. Turns out that Farsi has no definite article (much like Latin and Japanese). So you might as well use “al Big Mac,” because otherwise you have “They call it Big-Mac,” which just isn’t funny.

  33. Turns out that Farsi has no definite article (much like Latin and Japanese).

    grylliade,

    Then what in the heck is
    ??? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?????? Has the Internet led me astray yet again? Or does the term mean, “Idiot! There is no definite article in Farsi.” That would explain its length, anyway.

    Is there a Farsi-speaker in the house?

  34. Turns out that Farsi has no definite article

    One more way the terrorists hate our freedoms!

  35. “I wonder what their approved term for “Non Proliferation Treaty” is under the new linguistic regime?”

    They don’t need a word for it. It doesn’t exist.

  36. I’ve had an epiphany. The Iranians aren’t being as hardheaded as commonly believed about giving up their nuclear weapons program. No. Here’s the deal: We keep asking them not to build The Bomb. They hear only “bomb”, lacking the definite article, and think we’re telling them to completely disarm. Once someone explains that we mean we want them to stop building atomic weapons, they’ll agree, and we’ll live in peace forever more.

    Glad that I could help to straighten that problem out.

  37. PL,

    I think your dictionary was providing an explanation of “the”, not a translation.

  38. Really? How useless is that? A Farsi explanation of “the” when I just wanted the friggin’ word? Not even an English admonition to help me out?

    That’s it. I’m stickin’ with der Ingl?s.

  39. Well, to a Farsi speaker who has no conception of “the”, I’m sure it’s very useful. But an English speaker who doesn’t know any Farsi wouldn’t be expected to use such a dictionary, right? 🙂

  40. Right! First the hostages, then the nuke thing, now dictionary abuse. When will it all end?

  41. I think this is brilliant. We could institute a national language here, perhaps English? Not really sure what we would call things like Tacos, Nachos, Pizza, Gyros or ettoufe but I am sure we can come up with something. I figure for the Phliadelphia(Greek) Steak(Norse) Sandwich with Cheese and Onions(French) we could say “Cheeze Wit”.

  42. Wouldn’t a chesseburger be forbidden in Iran? Are they allowed to mix their meat and dairy?

    So they wouldn’t have a word for cheeseburger.

  43. Whewn I neeed some cheering up reason always delivers 🙂

  44. And the official language of Iran is now Swedish, an underwear must be worn on the outside. We get it already, you’re going demented with power.

  45. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now 16 years old.

  46. Turns out that Farsi has no definite article

    What hell? So America is Great Satan? No wonder they talk like that in movies.

  47. When insulting an Iranian, calling him an Arab might be a good start.

    One man’s Mede is another man’s Persian.

  48. In keeping with this thread’s crazy dictator theme: Fidel Castro has just turned over power to his brother, Raul, in order to undergo surgery.

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