Here's a Story for the Hungarian Speakers in the Audience: My comrade Allan Mayer, who was the recent subject of a fawning front-page Calendar story in the L.A. Times, told me a very funny story tonight that I'm sure he wouldn't object to me repeating.
Allan, before he was the head of a wildly successful Hollywood crisis management firm (he has the Rush Limbaugh account, among many others), was the founding publisher of the legendary 1980s-90s L.A. magazine Buzz, where I first became acquainted with the devilish work of Cathy Seipp, among many others. As befits a dignified publisher of a high-class Californian glossy, he bought himself a fancy personalized license plate that said: "BUZZMAG."
You Hungarian speakers out there, say that out loud a few times.
Allan would drive around L.A., and every so often he'd see a fellow driver pointing at the license plate, and laughing and laughing. This confused him greatly. Were they laughing at his magazine? (He didn't actually tell me that he worried about this, but that would have been my reaction.) At some point, if my disastrous short-term memory has the story right, one of the laughers asked Allan if he was some kind of Hungo, and Allan said that yes, indeed, his father was from Budapest. And the guy said something like "OK then!" and wandered off. (Allan, if you're out there, please feel free to crisis-manage my recollection.)
Finally, our bemused publisher visited his father, a mid-1920s émigré (!). He wrote down "BUZZMAG," and said "Dad, why are they laughing at me?"
For my fellow non-Hungarian speakers, the answer was that "Baszd Meg!" (pronounced more or less like a Michigan resident might say "Boz mag") is the Magyar way of saying "fuck off!" Yet another reason why everyone wins when L.A. has good magazines....
Next up in stupid language tricks, we'll giggle like four-year-olds at the Czech phrase "fakt yo"....Posted by at November 7, 2003 11:19 PM