Tonga revisited November 27, 2001 7:34 AM   Subscribe

For those like me following the Tongan jestergate, read Dave Barry. The story just leapt into about a bazillion kitchens of middle America.
posted by rschram to MetaFilter-Related at 7:34 AM (16 comments total)

Did I miss a thread on MetaFilter (the search says no)?

This could have been packaged with some background reading (e.g. CNN article | Tonga Government press release | Tonga Star article) and posted to the front page, perhaps.
posted by iceberg273 at 7:45 AM on November 27, 2001

Sorry...! Thanks for the link to the Tonga Star. I didn't even know about that web site.
posted by rschram at 10:11 AM on November 27, 2001

rschram: real Barry addicts read him from the Miami Herald. The Washington Post takes its time to republish his column. For a guaranteed good time, commended by y2karl to great effect, try the Dave Barry Generator. The long version, if you're particular. Try using MetaFilterian terms for the full effect. Hours of fun!
I love Dave Barry; have more than ten of his books and hate the way so-called intellectuals diss him. Why?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:13 AM on November 27, 2001


Aha! I thought I'd seen that here.
posted by iceberg273 at 11:34 AM on November 27, 2001

I love Dave Barry; have more than ten of his books and hate the way so-called intellectuals diss him. Why?

because he's funny?

I saw him speak once, promoting a book, doing benefits across the country for local libraries. he was hilarious, I'd go again in a minute.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:37 AM on November 27, 2001

You know, whenever someone is described as a "humorist," I start to itch. Just my thing.
posted by solistrato at 11:55 AM on November 27, 2001

Personally, I think he's very funny too, but I could see where the over-serious would object to a gratuitous aside like "(one pa'anga equals 100 seniti)", from the linked article, for mocking "otherness". I guess he can seem flippant.
posted by liam at 12:00 PM on November 27, 2001

yeah, I guess he mocks sameness as much as anything else, which is probably what makes the mocking otherness, when he does it, okay with me.
posted by rebeccablood at 12:29 PM on November 27, 2001

Why didn't you put this on MeFi? This is one of the best links posted all day.
posted by internal at 1:45 PM on November 27, 2001

opps, ignore my previous post. I found your second post, rschram.
posted by internal at 1:49 PM on November 27, 2001

Dave Barry rulez! Dave Barry in Cyberspace is hilarious...
posted by owillis at 2:36 PM on November 27, 2001

"Whenever I hear the word 'humourist', I reach for my Browning..."

(And the Tongan jester's been an occasional raised-eyebrow story on the World Service or Five Live's "Up All Night" for a while.)
posted by holgate at 3:02 PM on November 27, 2001

Someone really should post this to the front page, along with the background links.
posted by cell divide at 3:11 PM on November 27, 2001

Speaking as someone who has read lots of Dave Barry and has actually spent pa'anga and seniti, I didn't find his comments 'mocking' or 'flippant'. I've heard Tongans say far more cutting things about their country than he has. And as rschram points out, he's just taken news of Tonga into bazillions of American homes, which is more than most 'serious' papers do.
posted by rory at 4:06 PM on November 27, 2001

...has actually spent pa'anga and seniti.

Seniti is a Polynesian rendering of "cents." Ho ho ho, I should have known.

And, as for flippancy, Tonga's king who appointed a court jester. It's not like Barry is playing loose with the facts of this story either, it's all 100% just like he reported it.

Another interesting note is that Barry's major source of facts is the AFP. The AFP beat writer for the Pacific is Michael Field, who can be pretty cutting in his humor too. He, like Barry, thought that quote about wasting the money on roads was telling too, I'll bet. Maybe they hang out.
posted by rschram at 10:17 PM on November 27, 2001

It's a common phenomenon among popular writers to make ordinary events seem extraordinary by adding "I am not making this up." As in, "We went to the supermarket and -- I am not making this up -- we bought broccoli." I see this a lot these days, and it's almost always unnecessary.

Dave Barry is the exception. In his case you really do need to know that he's not making it up.
posted by anapestic at 6:30 AM on November 28, 2001

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