The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Monday, January 26, 2004
Passing, spooks, fake Americans, etc
It just so happens that The Human Stain has just opened in the UK. Which movie concerns an academic who happened to be passing (a question last touched on here on January 25).
His thought-crime, which kicks the plot off, I gather, is to refer to two of his students in their absence - because of their absence - as spooks.
The whole grievance pantomime ensues, as to be expected. But the word put me in mind of a BBC series of that name that apparently aired in the US under the title MI-5. The Globe & Mail suggests the change was made for PC reasons - rather than for divided by a common language ones.
(In fact, Webster notices the spy meaning and not the derogatory reference to those of African descent.)
The cream of the jest is, of course, that the guy playing the academic who passes is Anthony Hopkins, a Welshman passing as American. And not doing so terribly convincingly, from snippets I've heard!
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