Monday, May 16, 2011

A Year Ago Today I was in Mongolia. Today I'm a Mongoloid.

It feels like just yesterday I was waking up on the carpeted dirt floor of a "4 star" Mongolian hotel room, celebrating the end of my birthday trek around Terelj National Park with Michelle, but the fact that I can drink top shelf vodka again is my only real indication that the memory is an old one. Then again, one can only resist vodka for so long in New York City before being accused of being a homophobe.

Last week I happened to recount all my tales of Mongolia to a family from Le Vigan, France (it's closest metropole is Montpellier and the area is appropriately comparable to Vermont, politically et cetera). The family was riveted by my stories about horseback philosophy and the meditative silence in a daily ritual of napping, leagues away from plumbing, electricity and mundane stress. But halfway through my above average French retelling of the Asian outback, Fabienne (mother of the family), says to me:

By the way, in France we call them Mongolians, not Mongols. Mongols are what we call people with downs syndrome.

First, I'd like to point out that I inferred she was talking about downs syndrome without actually knowing that "trysomanie" was the french term for it. I inferred because Americans use the word "Mongoloid" derogatorily to refer to the same. I'm not sure why I assumed the French word for a mongolian was "Mongol" and not "Mongolian" or "mongolien" but I had actually been talking about that very vodka that felled me. So I had to ask:

Can't vodka be mongoloid?

Fabienne said no. "Nothing's Mongoloid unless you're trying to insult someone," she said. I'd argue the only people who'd understand the insult are dead... or Mongolian. I am trying to reappropriate the words to signify nothing more than that something/someone/anyone comes from the upper steppes region adjacent to Uzbekistan, Russia and the People's Republic of China. Easier known as Mongolia, Mongol, Mongoloid. For fucking Christ's sake Ghengis Khan fucked and killed more people than Ceasar and Charlemagne combined. What part of that is retarded?!

So I am officially pledging for reclamation of the grammatical fragment "Mongo-" and proudly calling myself a fucking Mongoloid.


Nate said...

sorry, i couldn't resist!

JTR3 said...

How do they translate "dong"?

Anonymous said...

more anne-jenny twilight zone-ness: i just had a conversation yesterday afternoon about the difference between "mongo" (몽고) and "mongol" (몽골) in korean. i recently saw a short film about a mongolian woman working in korea (migrant laborer) who corrected someone for calling her "mongo" rather than "mongol".

don't know yet if mongo is pejorative/unPC yet though, and the korean guy i was talking to seemed unfazed when i called him a mongoloid (몽골로이드, ha).


ill iterate said...

J Triple! Hahahaha

Michelle said...

Mongolians refer to stuff as Mongol all the time! I think the only time you need to tread lightly around this issue is when you're dealing with a Mongoloid from Moron, Mongolia.