Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: A Marine serving in Bosnia subjected a French officer to a verbal chiding.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Origins: We first began seeing this e-mail in mid-October 2002 when it circulated with no more authorial attribution than "from a Marine Lieutenant Colonel in Bosnia." Not until
True or not, this piece was undoubtedly written by a man. A woman is unlikely to descibe the composition of another army (even France's) as "a bunch of faggots for soldiers"; that terminology (and the fear it expresses) are male. Also "thus demonstrating that even the smallest American had more fight in him than the average Frenchman" would be an odd statement for a female soldier to make after having just stood up to a belligerent foreigner; certainly it would have been "more fight in her." All in all, this missive sounds like something penned by someone stateside whose strongest connection with the Marines exists only in his imagination.
(Perhaps the choice of surname is telling. "Johnson" is one of the many slang terms for penis, and the article is an example of rampant "Check out the size of mine, will ya?" posturing. And it's coupled with "Mary Beth," an undeniably feminine name that conjures up images of sweet country girls in print dresses; the very opposite of the tough, professional soldier.)
We figure "Mary Beth" is a Michael or Sam or Douglas, and we're far from convinced the real author is even in the armed services, let alone serving in Bosnia and smartmouthing French officers. A real soldier — especially one serving in the Balkans — would know Camp Bondsteel is in Kosovo, not Bosnia.
Barbara "lafayette to be convinced" Mikkelson
Last updated: 2 August 2007
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