Are we hearing wrong, or is our country that backward?

By David Ficarri


-Diversions with Dave-


Have you ever been on a road trip with the music blasting loud when someone hits you with a mondegreen?


What’s a mondegreen, you ask?


Well, the term itself was coined in 1954 by a writer named Sylvia Wright. Essentially, it’s the mishearing or misinterpretation of a word or phrase, often in a song. So, instead of hearing Creedence Clearwater Revival sing, “There’s a bad moon on the rise,” your friend sings, “There’s a bathroom on the right.”


Others have turned Elton John’s “Hold me closer tiny dancer” into a “Hold me closer Tony Danza” which might be appealing to any “Who’s The Boss” fans out there. Speaking of Bosses, Bruce Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light” lyrics, “cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night” somehow got misheard for a feminine product. Anyway, I’m sure you can think of plenty of mondegreens to boggle your mind for days. Which leads me to the insanity that is now 2021.


Ending the prayer opening the new session of Congress, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said, “Amen... and a-woman”. Wait, what?


From what I’m told, “Amen” translates to “it is so” or “it is true.” Now, I’m far more educated on song lyrics than I am on ancient languages, so I’m usually more forgiving about such matters.


In fact, the extent of my Latin education comes primarily from the movies Tombstone, “in vino veritas,” which translates to “in wine there is truth.”


I suppose we can all use some vino after Mr. Cleaver’s comment.


The other movie I cite is actually a comedy called “Johnny Dangerously” where there’s a great scene of a fake priest giving Johnny his last rites while being led to the electric chair. “Summa cum laude. Magna cum laude. The radio's too laude. Adeste fidelis... Semper fidelis. High fidelis.”, he said, casually creating his own language. In a movie, those words are rather amusing. In Congress, not so much.

I guess now would be the time to also mention Mr. Cleaver was a former pastor. In his defense, he claims it was a lighthearted attempt at a joke.


I’ll let you decide if you’re buying his explanation but I’m thinking he might want to leave those types of word plays to the professionals, like the movies I mentioned or Weird Al Yankovic for example.


I think we’ve had enough insanity and political correctness gone awry to last us until we’re all speaking Latin again. So, I’ll close my speech borrowing the lyrics of a Mister Mister song where they sing “Kyrie Eleison” which can be translated from Greek to mean “Lord, have mercy”. At least, I think that’s what they were singing and that’s the actual translation. If not, I’ll just pass it off as a writer's attempt at humor. Can I get an “Amen”.