Thursday, December 22, 2016

Oughtn't'a fait

So, everyone remember History of the World, Part 1? In the Inquisition sketch, a Torqued-up Mel Brooks bounces these few lines off his backup singers.

"Chorus:    Hey, Torquemada, whadda ya say?
Torquemada:    I just got back from the auto da .
C:    Auto da ? What's an auto da ?
T:    It's what you oughtn't to do - but you do anyway!"

Of course, transcribing can't do justice to Brooks' comedic timing and his shit-eating grin. Minute 3:50 in this video.

It occurred to me recently this pun wouldn't work for someone who didn't know the minimal French to catch the "fait" instead of "fé" in that context. It took me a night's sleep to realize that what really amazed me was the context itself, that a big Hollywood production would actually expect its audience to know a single, solitary word of a foreign language; and not just any language but that evil, evil French!

General knowledge. We all know better than to expect so much of the public these days, don't we?

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