Gov. Schwarzenegger Renames State "Cow-lee-phone-yaw"
Above: Governor Schwarzenegger has always had a way with words
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (SP) — Arnold Schwarzenegger became internationally famous by engaging in countless violent confrontations with his on-screen adversaries, while also doing great violence to the English language. Thanks to the result of California's recent gubernatorial election, Governor Schwarzenegger will not be doing more of either anytime soon.
When Schwarzenegger was officially sworn in as governor, it was expected that his first order of business would be to provide emergency financial assistance to the thousands of southern California residents whose homes were destroyed by recent forest fires. Instead, he invoked a little-known and seldom-used gubernatorial power to unilaterally change the spelling and pronunciation of the state name to "Cow-lee-phone-yaw".
This power has existed since before America fought for the right to declare itself a sovereign nation, and it's a vestige of a time and place when colonial governors had near-absolute power over their constituents. The most famous use of the power in California was in 1849, when Gov. Quentin Alcatraz summarily decided that state penitentiaries would no longer be referred to as "gaol", but would instead be known as "jail". Although the authority of this pronouncement did not extend beyond Californian soil, the term "jail" soon became the preferred nomenclature in all parts of the English-speaking world. In recognition of Gov. Alcatraz's linguistic achievement, some of California's most well-known penitentiaries were named in his honor.
Despite the success enjoyed by Gov. Alcatraz, the executive name-changing power has seldom been exercised since that time, and in fact, it was not used even once over the course of the entire twentieth century. There was a time in late 1977 when then-Gov. Ronald Reagan seriously considered changing his own official title to "Gipper", but he ultimately chose not to pursue the matter after declaring his candidacy for President of the United States.
Above: "Tell them to go out there with all they've got and win one for the Gipper."
Schwarzenegger's motivation for resurrecting such an obscure prerogative power appears to be rooted in his own linguistic struggles. When he immigrated to America from Austria over 30 years ago intent upon becoming a movie star, his level of comprehension in English was already excellent, and in fact he even graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in business. However, his pronunciation of English words was far from perfect, such that in his feature film debut, Hercules in New York (a.k.a. Hercules Goes Bananas), Schwarzenegger's nearly-impenetrable Austrian accent was replaced by the voice of another actor in post-production. The film's producers also felt that "Schwarzenegger" was not an appropriate stage name, so he ended up being listed in the credits as "Arnold Strong".
Schwarzenegger was ultimately able to enjoy virtually unparalleled success as a screen actor in spite of his name and accent by playing menacing physical specimens with very little dialogue (his star-making role in Terminator required him to speak only 17 words of dialogue, most of which were monosyllabic). However, those close to the Governor say that he never forgot the double dose of rejection that he suffered with Hercules, and ever since that time has been consumed with eventually having the final say on how things are said.
Above: Schwarzenegger has always played characters with massive muscles and a dearth of dialogue
Schwarzenegger denies any personal agenda behind his prompt exercise of linguistic power, claiming that he was simply hoping that the State would become a better place to live by becoming easier to pronounce. "This isn't about what's beneficial to me, but rather what I believe is in the best interests of all Cow-lee-phone-yawns," he said. "Gray Davis was recalled from office not merely because the people of Cow-lee-phone-yaw wanted change in the legislature, but also a change in nomenclature. The fact is that the English language is filled with words that are real tongue twisters, particularly for the state's large immigrant population. Serving the interests of my fellow immigrants has always been very important to me, which is why I've made this initiative such a high priority."
In support of this assertion, Schwarzenegger points to the fact that he has temporarily set aside a bill that will make it more difficult for recent immigrants to obtain driver's licenses in order to proceed immediately with his name-changing agenda.
Schwarzenegger also submits that there is a compelling economic argument in favor of the re-branding initiative. He notes that some of the latest voice recognition computer software has been rendered largely ineffective south of the Mason-Dixon Line due to the thick southern drawl among local residents that the software is often unable to decipher. Schwarzenegger suggests that unless words are made more phonetically-accessible, the same kind of technological barriers will emerge in Cow-lee-phone-yaw.
High on his list of proposed new names are a host of political terms that are certain to become a part of his daily vocabulary, such as "guh-vuh-nuh" (i.e. "governor") and "goo-buh-nuh-toe-ree-all" ("gubernatorial"). "In my previous career, I was probably best known as the Terminator," he said. "By the time I leave office, Cow-lee-phone-yawns will know me better as the Hyphenator!"
Above: Cow-lee-phone-yawns have already started calling Schwarzenegger "the Hyphenator"
True to his word, Schwarzenegger is considering changing the spelling and pronunciation of dozens of additional terms, many of which are not of a political nature, but which Schwarzenegger found he was using with great frequency on the campaign trail, and expects to have to use many more times over the next several years while he is in public office. Satiric Press has obtained a partial list of these terms, which includes the following: performance-enhancing drugs, anabolic steroids, marijuana, grass, weed, dope, grope, sexual harassment, lewd and lascivious behavior, chauvinist, promiscuous, Kennedy-envy, and Nazi-sympathizer.
While Schwarzenegger's nomenclature re-branding initiative has proven highly controversial and is the source of endless political debate, he does have the full support of President George W. Bush. When asked to comment on the issue, the President said that Gov. Schwarzenegger is a shining example of how it's possible for someone born and raised in another country to immigrate to the United States and realize the American dream. "He's been nothing short of a pioneer for other talented Austrians who've taken Hollywood by storm, like Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman," said Bush.
High-level sources within the Bush administration have told SP that the President is seriously considering launching his own re-branding campaign, which would start by changing the word "nuclear" to "new-cue-lurr", the letter W to "Dubya", and "weapons of mass destruction" to "weapons of mass distraction".
Above: Schwarzenegger has the support of another linguistically-challenged politician, President George "Dubya" Bush