Monday, June 28, 2010

"I'm a doughnut"

Today is Sunday, 27 June 2010.

Meant to include following yesterday.

On this date in 1948 (26 June), the ‘Western” allies began the famous airlift into West Berlin, after Stalin ordered blockade of Autobahn.

On this date in 1963, John F. Kennedy delivers his famous speech in West Berlin: “Ich bin ein Berliner”. Jay Lovestone, a former American Communist turned Cold War ideologue and CIA stooge, whose German was imperfect, claimed to have authored the phrase. Allegedly, JFK should have said, “Ich bin Berliner”, as “ein Berliner” is a type of pastry. Thus, Jack essentially orated, “I’m a doughnut”.

Many sources regard this as an urban legend, noting that the Berliner Pfannkuchen is known by the nickname, “ein Berliner”, only outside Berlin, and that, in any case, the article “ein” was required because Kennedy was speaking a figurative sense.

Whatever. I find the legend, if it is a legend, far preferable to the bombastic original.

In journalism schools, this is known as The Liberty Valance Rule. “This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”


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