Posted in English

Attempts at Twitter Jokes

It’s really, really hard to make jokes in another language. Here’s an attempt that I think would have been OK in English but I tweeted it out in Portuguese, knowing I was on thin ice.

Every year it’s the same thing: as soon as the 21st of September is over the shops fill up with Day-to-Wake-that-guy-from-Green-Day cards.

Allow me to overexplain.

Green Earth, Green Wind and Green Fire

Obviously to understand it, you need to understand the cultural reference points: firstly that shops always start advertising Christmas merch as soon as Halloween is over (a pretty common trope in the UK) and secondly that there are running gags on twitter based around dates mentioned in songs: the twenty first night of September (because of Earth Wind and Fire’s song “September”) and the end of September (because of Green Day’s song “Wake Me Up When September Ends”). But I think even someone who knows all those things will find the magic broken if the grammar is off or the word order less than perfect. “Todos os anos a mesma coisa acontece” seems like a wordy, clunky way of saying “Every year it’s the same thing” and I’m sure it’ll come across as a bit off. And “ficam cheia de…” Does that sound like something a real Portuguese person would say? “as (prateleiras das) lojas enchem-se”? I dunno.

Well, I put it in the WritestreakPT forum and got a verdict from dani_morgenstern

Firstly, no the word structure is off. A better rendering would be

Todos os anos é a mesma coisa: assim que acaba o Dia 21 De Setembro às lojas ficam cheias de cartões do dia de Acordar Aquele Gajo dos Green Day

I chose to capitalise the whole of “Dia 21 De Setembro” as if it were a special day but setembro, like all months, is supposed to be in lower case.

As for cards, no, cards aren’t really a thing. I should have known that. I was so fixated on the timing that I didn’t stop to think about the more fundamental problem. D’oh!

The rest…. Well, you either know the songs or you don’t but I suspect a lot of people were pretty non-plussed. I was reminded that we should just let Billy Joe Armstrong rest because that Green Day song is about the death of his father but I never let respect for the dead stand in the way of a joke even if that joke is a grammatical and cultural train wreck.

Anyway, all in all, not a successful joke but a good learning experience, and that’s the whole idea, after all!

By the way, the tweet it’s quoting is in Brazilian Portuguese. “O carinha” looks weird but they use “cara” (“face”) to mean “guy” so carinha is just “the little guy”


Just a data nerd

2 thoughts on “Attempts at Twitter Jokes

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