Make America grate again

Protests against pre-shredded cheese in today’s Bizarro:

(#1)

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

A punning play on the political slogan Make America Great Again.

Note red baseball caps on several of the protesters.

The source of the slogan, on the campaign trail in 2016:

(#2)

The slogan mostly appears on red baseball caps, but there are other possibilities: instead of the canonical red, the color might be black, white, or yellow, or in a few playful cases, pink or lavender; and instead of the canonical headgear, the slogan might be displayed on a button, flag, poster, or billboard.

The slogan has also be translated into other languages. A Chinese version:

(#3)

(I can’t vouch for the translation. For all I know, what it says is ‘My hovercraft is full of eels’.)

Most variants of the slogan take one of two forms:

(A) Make X great again

(B) Make America Y again

A wonderful exception is the attested:

Make baseball caps blank again

Within each set, the substitute, X or Y, is either a pun on the original — in #1, a perfect pun great / grate (both /gret/ in most varieties), but sometimes pretty distant, as with great / gay — or a simple, phonologically unrelated, substitution. In both cases, the substitutions are sometimes merely playful, sometimes pointed, often zany or nonsensical.

So now an inventory of some attested examples, with loosely labeled subcategorizations below the ones already mentioned.

MAKE X GREAT AGAIN

puns on America: Americanos [the style of coffee], Anime

simple substitution: Metallica, Radiohead, Canada

MAKE AMERICA Y AGAIN

puns on great:

— V: skate, hate, rave, rake [rake a baseball field]

— Adj: gay, ape, gradient

— N: gait

simple substitution:

— V: read, drink, love, rock, funk, rock & roll

— Adj:

— — (from the original campaign speech) strong, proud, safe

— — (positive) decent, kind, smart, sane

— — (earnest) green, native, secular

— — (snarky) British [cf. the N Great Britain above]

— — (reclaiming the ideal past) white, straight, Christian

— — (out of control) violent, psycho, drunk

— N: Mexico, Yaoi [Japanese ‘boys’ love’ anime], dinner, covfefe [presumably ‘kerfuffle’], meme

overlap portmanteau: Great Britain

A few visuals:

(#4)

(#5)

In the rainbow Pride flag

(#6)

Essentially Make America Great + Great Britain

(#7)

Slogan for Tennessee congressional candidate Rick Tyler; the reference is supposed to be to simpler, rural times

6 Responses to “Make America grate again”

  1. Julian C. Lander Says:

    I want to know the source of the picture of a caucasian man wearing the hat with the putative Chinese translation. If it was the Trump campaign, I can only weep.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Ah, this is wonderful. It’s from the TURNT company, a Czech firm (http//www.turnt.clothing) that makes trendy casual clothes for young people and is wildly anti-Cheeto (the word shit appears in their references to him). Apparently, the translation is ‘Make fashion great again’.

      • arnold zwicky Says:

        In light of TommyBoy’s comments on the translation (below), it would appear that the translation is directly from the English slogan, but is intended to convey a message about fashion rather than America.

  2. TommyBoy Says:

    The Chinese can be translated this way:
    再一次 zai yi ci (again)
    让 rang (give way, be inferior to, allow)
    美国 Meiguo (United States of America)
    强大 qiangda (powerful)

  3. TommyBoy Says:

    Evidence:
    https://www.mdbg.net/chinese/dictionary?page=worddict&wdrst=0&wdqb=%E5%86%8D%E4%B8%80%E6%AC%A1%E8%AE%A9%E7%BE%8E%E5%9B%BD%E5%BC%BA%E5%A4%A7
    close to Google Translate’s
    https://translate.google.com.au/#auto/en/%E5%86%8D%E4%B8%80%E6%AC%A1%E8%AE%A9%E7%BE%8E%E5%9B%BD%E5%BC%BA%E5%A4%A7 “Once again let the United States powerful”

  4. Julian C. Lander Says:

    Thank you.

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