Monday, November 05, 2007

Maybe Tomorrow Isn't Another Day

On Saturday afternoon I got a call from the Fred Thompson campaign. The woman on the other end had about the ooziest Southern accent I’ve ever heard; I felt like my phone was sticky. Now, I have nothing against Southern accents in general; I really enjoyed them in Gone With the Wind. But I will not vote another one into the White House. Sixteen years of good ol’ boys and grits is sufficient for me. However, that’s beside the point.

This is probably not exactly verbatim, but it’s my best recollection of the phone conversation:

Ms. Oozy: Hello. Is this Mr. Exterminator?

Me: Yes.

Ms. Oozy: My name is Marci? I’m calling from Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign?

Me
: Are those questions?

Ms. Oozy
: No, those weren’t questions? I was just telling you that my name is Marci? And I’m calling from Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign?

Me
: So lemme get this straight. You’re name is Marci. And you’re calling from Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign.

Ms. Oozy
: Yes, umh-hmm. As I said: My name is Marci? I’m calling from Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign?

Me
: I know. My caller ID said “Fred Thompson.”

Ms. Oozy
: Well, Mr. Exterminator, I’d like to ask you a few questions to help Fred understand what’s on the mind of Americans?

Me
: Why did my caller ID say “Fred Thompson” but it turned out to be you?

Ms. Oozy
: Well, as you can imagine? Fred is very busy these days?

Me
: Doing what?

Ms. Oozy
: He’s trying to understand what’s on the mind of Americans? So when he becomes president, he can do the best job for all Americans?

Me:
Are those more questions?

Ms. Oozy
: Well, Mr. Exterminator, I’m coming to the questions?

Me
: Oh, well those sounded like questions already. When is Fred going to become president? I haven’t heard about it?

Ms. Oozy
: Well, he’s running for president now? He plans to be the next president? May I play a special message for you? From Fred? Would you like to hear that?

Me
: Why didn’t Fred just call me himself? It seems like a lot of trouble to record a message when he could have just dialed the phone himself. I’d be happy to talk with him.

Ms. Oozy
: Well, Fred is trying to understand what’s on the mind of Americans? I don’t think he has time to call them all?

Me
: Marci, are you saying that you have time to call them all? Everyone in the country? You sound like you’re too attractive to be cooped up on the telephone all day.

Ms. Oozy
: Well, I’m not calling everyone, Mr. Exterminator? I’m just selecting some special people? Some people who care about America’s future?

Me
: OK, now I can understand why you picked me. You found out I was special. But I wish you’d stop asking me so many questions.

Ms. Oozy
: Well, actually, Mr. Exterminator? I haven’t asked you any questions yet? But this won’t take very long? May I play Fred’s special message for you?

Me
: Listen, Marci. Since you made the call, why don’t you give me the special message yourself?

Ms. Oozy
: Well, Fred would like you to hear it directly from him? So may I play it?

Me
: Now that was a question, right?

Ms. Oozy
: Yes, umh-hmm. May I play Fred’s special message for you?

Me
: I don’t see why not.

Ms. Oozy
: You’ll hear Fred in a sec? When he’s done, stay on the line? ‘Cause I’d like to ask you some questions so Fred can understand what’s on the mind of Americans? ‘Kay?

Fred Thompson’s voice
: Hi. This is Fred Thompson. I know you’re concerned about the direction America is moving. And I am, too. I think we need to move forward. I’m sure you think that, too. Because the best direction we can move is forward, if you ask me. And I’m confident that you’ll agree with that. So if you vote for me, we will move forward. Thank you.

Ms. Oozy
: Did you hear Fred’s special message all right?

Me
: He sounds better on Law and Order. His voice was kinda scratchy.

Ms. Oozy
: But you heard Fred’s special message all right?

Me
: It wasn’t much of a message.

Ms. Oozy
: Well, of course, he could only touch on the main points? Did you agree with what Fred said?

Me
: I thought it was brilliant.

Ms. Oozy
: Well, I’m sure Fred will appreciate hearing that? May I tell him you said so?

Me
: Sure. And tell him he should feel free to call me himself.

Ms. Oozy
: Yes, umh-hmm. Are you ready for the questions?

Me
: Is that one of the questions?

Ms. Oozy
: Well, umh-hmm. That was a question from me? Asking you if you were ready for Fred’s questions? Because, like I said, he’s trying to understand what’s on the mind of Americans?

Me
: OK, what are your questions?

Ms. Oozy
: Now I want you to listen to this list? And then tell Fred if these are your concerns, too? Jobs going overseas too much government spending the country moving forward good values cutting taxes public education moving forward values illegal immigrants abortions values that are good moving America forward politicians you can trust the war on Tyr good values and the country moving forward?

Me
: I think you said a few of those more than once.

Ms. Oozy
: Shall I read the list again, Mr. Exterminator?

Me
: No, I think I've heard it a few times already.

Ms. Oozy
: Well, do you agree that those are your most important concerns?

Me
: Not really.

Ms. Oozy
: Yes, umh-hmm. Are there any other concerns you’d like to tell Fred about?

Me
: Sure. How about adherence to the First Amendment?

Ms. Oozy
: That sounds interesting? I’m sure Fred will want to hear about that one?

Me
: And you neglected to mention that whole Iraq thing.

Ms. Oozy
: No, I did mention it? I said the War on Tyr?

Me
: Yeah, you did. But the War in Iraq is not the War on Terror.

Ms. Oozy
: Yes, umh-hmm. They’re pretty much the same thing?

Me
: No, they’re not.

Ms. Oozy
Well, Fred thinks they’re pretty much the same thing?

Me
: If Fred thinks that, he’s an idiot.

Ms. Oozy
: Mr. Exterminator? Are you a Democrat?

Me
: Why do you ask?

Ms. Oozy
: You sound like you might be a Democrat?

Me
: Nope.

Ms. Oozy
: Well, thank you, Mr. Exterminator?

Me
: Aren’t you gonna let me tell you the difference between ...

Ms. Oozy
: I have to say goodbye now?

Me: Can you just say "fiddle-dee-dee" once for me?

Ms. Oozy: I'll be saying goodbye now?
I don’t know how you readers feel, but I think Fred would do a heckuva job. In fact, in anticipation of his election, I’m getting ready to move forward right now. I just can’t decide if I should move forward to Canada, England, or Australia.

28 comments:

Patience said...

Given the two possibilities for PM here in Australia are both currently trying to outdo eachother in terms of faith, I'd say not here.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Well, fiddle-dee-dee,
if it were me
I'd be movin'
to the South Seas

...or some equally remote tropical isle

PhillyChief said...

Hmmm, I guess I haven't noticed a pairing of southern accent and speaking every sentence as if it's a question yet. It's one of my many annoyances in how people speak today. My wife, when she teaches, responds to students who do this with "are you asking me or telling me?" to which she often gets a blank stare. She's also annoyed at how her peeps (Japanese) have adopted this rhythm in their speech... da da da DA, da da DA, da da DA? It gives her a headache listening to modern Japanese, as I get a headache listening to modern English.

I've often been curious why most of us "proper" English speakers have the same reactions to southern accents. If men use it, they sound dumb. If women use it, it's hot. Of course there are exceptions to this (no one is getting hot and bothered listening to Paula Dean, I hope) but generally it holds. Weird.

As for Thompson, he's one of many pathetic excuses for statesmen we have running this time. They all speak in soundbytes and have no message. I liked Biden's critique of Guilianni's speeches - "they consist of just a noun, a verb, and 9/11". For Republicans, all they're speeches are just a sting of pedestrian nouns and verbs peppered with "terror", "freedom", "god", "immigration" and "Hillary". Dems aren't much better.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Personally, I find a British accent in a woman so much hotter than a southern one.

Dysentery said...

Well, I'd say come to Canada. We still get to watch Fred on Law and Order without having to worry about him calling us. I find he makes much more sense when other people are putting words in his mouth. At least people who aren't affiliated with politics.

EnoNomi said...

That conversion was laugh out loud funny (getting me weird looks at work - coding should not be funny.)

So is she saying that there are NO Republicans who disagree with the war in Iraq? That's a pretty tight dogma they keep them in.

The Exterminator said...

Philly:
Actually, if you heard the Southern accent over and over and over again coming out of the mouths of ignorant women, you'd stop finding it -- and them -- attractive.

Turning every statement into a question is not unique to Southern women; it occurs in all regions, and among both sexes. But this particular woman was somebody who spoke that way? And combined with her accent it was especially grating? I'm not a psychologist? But it seems to me that the singsong seeks to elicit constant approval from the listener? And I didn't really approve of anything she was saying? So it was really annoying?

John Evo-Mid said...

As Exterminator points out, The "question" statement is not just Southerners and Japanese Americans. It's pretty common in youth cultures (which might partially explain what Philly Chief's wife hears in class. It's also simple insecurity about the answer). I think the youth thing started about 25 years ago with the whole Valley Girl thing?

Philly Chief said: "If men use it, they sound dumb. If women use it, it's hot."

I think that's because they also sound dumb. Hey, it's a male genetics thing.

The Exterminator said...

John-Evo, said:
Hey, it's a male genetics thing.

I'd like to point out that not all men find ignorant women attractive. But then I'm missing the "god" gene, too, so who knows how fucked-up my DNA is.

As far as turning statements into questions goes: I don't agree that it entered the culture as part of the Valley Girl speech pattern. I grew up in New York City long before god had carved that particular declivity, and plenty of people I met already spoke mainly in questions. So we need another theory. I'm guessing that someone, maybe even Pinker, has written about this. Does anyone know? (That is a question, by the way.)

PhillyChief said...

I just started reading Pinker, so I don't know. I like the idea of seeking approval. That makes a lot of sense on many levels.

As to wanting dumb women, I don't think that's all there is to the southern accent attraction. It may be part of it, though. It's also kind of disarming. In contrast, I don't think there are people anywhere, male or female, who think north eastern US accents are hot. If you sound like Kennedy, Andrew Dice Clay or anyone from the Sopranos, I think you have to work to overcome the accent, or else never move.

John Evo-Mid said...

"I'd like to point out that not all men find ignorant women attractive. But then I'm missing the "god" gene, too, so who knows how fucked-up my DNA is."

I don't think many of us are SPECIFICALLY genetically fascinated by dumb women. Smart is better and it makes sense that we would have an attraction for it.

The key difference between males and females is this - males look for as many opportunities as possible, women look for the best opportunity possible.

This makes perfect genetic sense based on the differences in our reproductive systems. Males have more resources (sperm) than they could use even if they had endless opportunities. Females have a resource (egg) that once fertilized takes away all other opportunities for nearly a year of her life, and ties her down even longer in the care and upbringing of that child.

She has good reason to be extremely choosy, males have good reason to inseminate as frequently as possible.* The "attraction", then, for dumb women can be seen in terms of an indicator of availability (i.e. "she's an idiot. Maybe she'll even have sex with ME")

*The obligatory disclaimer:

Genetics is not determinant, nor should we behave AS IF it is. We evolved a brain. How we use it is up to us. For the most part.

JP said...

You are a riot.

You know, you would be pretty good at sketch comedy. I believe Hollywood needs some writers.

Just a hunch

The Exterminator said...

JP, you said:
You know, you would be pretty good at sketch comedy. I believe Hollywood needs some writers.

Which leads me to an unabashed plug:
Actually, I'm open to any kind of writing assignments. Speaking engagements, too. Anyone interested can contact me by email. I'll even tell you my real name (so you can write it on a check).

Spanish Inquisitor said...

I'd like to point out that not all men find ignorant women attractive.

That must be why I'm attracted to women with a British accent. They say the accent alone adds 25-50 IQ points.

John Evo-Mid said...

" I'll even tell you my real name (so you can write it on a check)."

Since I ALREADY know it... ???

"That must be why I'm attracted to women with a British accent. They say the accent alone adds 25-50 IQ points."

If EVER there were evidence that correlation does not = causation!

The Exterminator said...

John-Evo:
Since I ALREADY know it... ???

That's right, pal, and I'm still waiting for that payment.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

"That must be why I'm attracted to women with a British accent. They say the accent alone adds 25-50 IQ points."

If EVER there were evidence that correlation does not = causation!


Well, they sure sound smarter than a NASCAR groupie.

John Evo-Mid said...

Ever hang out with a few female fans of Manchester United?

Well... me either. But I bet they are like NASCAR groupies!

tina said...

I laughed my ass off! I wish I had quick wit, but alas, I don't.

Sarge said...

My German comes with a Baden handle and my English, while not the drawl, comes with an Appalachian Virginia sound. I confess myself to use "atter" (after), "holp" (helped, help) and I 'pack" rather than carry things. My friends make it a point to say, 'ahint' (behind) and they snicker and tell me they're 'ahint' me in things. Yes, I say "y'all", too. Sigh.

Like other military speakers of Esperanto I do use 'cagal' and 'bowb' as per Harry Harrison.

In Viet Nam almost everyone, rank or area of origin and race not withstanding tended to talk either like a cracker truck driver or a Detroit pimp.

During the first gulf war my oldest son was with the Brits, and the unit he was attached to was near a French Foreign Legion unit. He noticed that there was a very large sergeant of the FFL watching him very carefully while he was doing some work, and this man and two others came over to him, and the sergeant said, "Do I detect the accents of central Pennsylvania?" He was from about thirty miles from here and the other two were from the northern part of the state.

The wife of a friend of mine is from Tennessee, and she was having a bit of trouble with the patois'.
We shop at the Giant Eagle which at that time had a video shop called Iggle Entertainment. What's an "Iggle?" I asked her if she hadn't been listening, surely she would know that an Iggle is one of those gigunda birds like the national emblem. We also have ferocious, huge striped cats known for fixing labels to things, "taggers".

My harp teacher is a first generation American lady, almost ninety years old, was a music and English teacher. She is from New York, but asked me last spring if I could bring some of her patio furniture "from the basement up." I said, "You HAVE been in Blair County awhile!" She was not best pleased.

The best one, though, came about twelve years ago. After Thanksgiving I went for my lesson and was being given "The Eye". Her entire family had been down, they had been eating and she asked for something to be passed, and the whole table got quiet and just stared at her. One of her youngest grandsons said, "Grandma, you.." but got no further because his father, for the first time in the kids life gave him a whack on the head.

Finally when she and her daughters-in-law were doing the dishes, one asked if she'd really meant to say "Pass the 'taters.' I was told later that there was a loud, "It's that new student of mine...!" and there were other fulminations which they found both amusing and astonishing.

Oh, yes, I HEARD about it.

Babs said...

Funny stuff. Both the post and the comments.

I think Ms. Oozy needs to call me.

The Exterminator said...

Sarge:
Well, you had me asking Google what "bowb" and "cagal" mean. I tell you: this blogging cagal can be so bowbing educational.

Babs:
Do you have that syrupy voice thing going? I'd have to reevaluate my whole attitude toward Southern accents if I thought you had one. Anyway, I would so like to be a fly on the wall if you ever got a call like the one I did. You may have close ties to the Anti-Christ, but you definitely are the Anti-Oozy.

Babs said...

Syrupy? Me? Well, I may live in Arkansas but I'm definitely not from this place. I'm originally from Kansas City, so I've got the midwest nasally thing going.

The Anti-Oozy. I'm so using that today anytime I run into someone who's using their "perky voice".

PhillyChief said...

Funny, I keep running into people with KC connections this month in the Atheosphere.

I never thought of the midwest being nasally. Instead, I've always thought the midwest was pretty vanilla sounding. I have a friend who is Dutch who has been living in the midwest for over a decade. I don't think anyone can tell he's foreign. The Dutch seem capable of speaking English without an accent. How they manage this feat, I don't know. Put someone like that in a region that doesn't seem to have much of an accent and he blends right in.

Side note - I was in Edam, a farm town in Holland, and in line in a cheese shop. No English anywhere and no one was speaking English. I finally get to the front of the line and the girl behind the counter asks, "can I help you?". I was so pissed. I had to check in the mirror to make sure I didn't have an American flag stuck on my forehead or something. How did she know? Without even saying a word, I guess I ooze American.

Sarge said...

I am a licensed 'ham" operator as is my wife, and we listen to the nation weather service transmitters when we travel (162.355 right here).

These have a simulated voice sent via computor, and in the last five years things have improved drasticly.

The way the old ones sounded ten years was really something. Most people could tell easily that it was simulated.

Our club had a presentation from a gentleman from the NWS, and he told us that they had a lot of requests from people in North Dakota and Minnesota (or min a SO dah) wondering about "the guy who read the weather." It almost hurt to tell them it was a machine.

Babs said...

@ Philly - Well, I think I sound pretty non-accentish, but I've been told otherwise.

@ Sarge - I love listening to the weather machine "guy". My favorite phrase is, "bay waters smooth".

DaVinci said...

Hey, Babs and Philly, I'm a Kansas City man too, only I still live here.

http://completelybaffled1.blogspot.com/

Ute said...

Well, I'm reading my way through your blog and got stuck on this post. :) Very funny. Thank you!!