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Obama Conspiracy Theories birther mondegreen contest

One of the neat things about having this blog is the interesting commenters and their bursts of creativity, shown especially in our previous contests. It’s been a long time since our last one so here is the

Obama Conspiracy Theories birther mondegreen contest

A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. The term was coined by American writer Sylvia Wright in a 1954 essay in Harpers Magazine, recounting her misunderstanding of a poem when she was a child, hearing:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl o’ Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

The actual last line was “And laid him on the green.”

Contestant’s may leave a birther-themed mondegreen in comments and receive the adulation of their peers.

Thanks to Keith for the suggestion.

39 Responses to Obama Conspiracy Theories birther mondegreen contest

  1. avatar
    Rickey September 25, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    That reminds me that in 1961 one of the year’s hit songs was “Michael (Row the Boat Ashore)” by The Highwaymen. This what the third stanza sounded like to me:

    The river is deep and the river is wide, alleluia
    Bilk and a knee on the other side, alleluia

    Of course, I couldn’t figure out what clarinetist Acker Bilk and his knee had to do with the rest of the song.

    The actual words are:

    The river is deep and the river is wide, alleluia
    Milk and honey on the other side, alleluia

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRv-fgfLFTk

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 25, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    In high school the song was “My eyes adored you” which I heard as “My sweet Georgia.” which happened to the name of the girl I was sweet on at the time. You have to hear the song to see how the mistake is easy to make.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqz9eyakGqY

  3. avatar
    The European September 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    On “Another side of Bob Dylan” there is the song “To Ramona”. I interpreted the words “a vacuum, a scheme” as “washing machine”.

  4. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    There’s a book of examples from songs titled “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” (from Jimi Hendrix singing “Excuse me while I kiss the sky“).

    Great idea for a contest, Doc!

  5. avatar
    Crustacean September 25, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    I miss Emily Litella. What’s all this fuss I hear about President Obama being a stew slurper…

    [edit: OK, that’s probably more of a malapropism. Plus, it’s totally made up. But do I get bonus points for birfiness?]

  6. avatar
    Arthur September 25, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    And there’s the Manfred Mann song “Blinded by the Light” with the lyrics:

    “Revved up like a deuce
    Another runner in the night”

    Which I misheard as, “Wrapped up like a douche/In the rumor of the night.”

  7. avatar
    John Reilly September 25, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    Doc: you mean, of course, other than hearing Dr. Onaka say: “Pres. Obama was born in Hawaii,” but hearing that, probably because of Dr. Onaka’s accent, as “Pres. Soetero was born in Kenya and has Indonesian citizenship, besides being a Muslim usurper.”

  8. avatar
    The European September 25, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    Arthur:
    And there’s the Manfred Mann song “Blinded by the Light” with the lyrics:

    “Revved up like a deuce
    Another runner in the night”

    Which I misheard as, “Wrapped up like a douche/In the rumor of the night.”

    Now who is the douche ? CC ? It’s a Springsteen written song !

  9. avatar
    Dave B. September 25, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    Okay, how about Credence Clearwater Revival?
    Don’t go out tonight, it’s bound to take your life
    There’s a baboon on the right.
    Now I’ve got my very own mondegreen, as it turns out. This is a little ditty of mine:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIawIapsAsM
    What I say at about 1:17, my mother had taken as “Lord come down and kick my rear.”
    For some reason. It’s “Lord come down and take my rib,” a little Adam-and-Eve reference.

  10. avatar
    Bonsall Obot September 25, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    As has been mentioned, collections of mondegreens abound.

    One of my favorites is the misheard line from a hymn, “Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear.”

  11. avatar
    Arthur September 25, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    The European: Now who is the douche ? CC ? It’s a Springsteen written song !

    I didn’t know that, but I always thought the lyrics sounded like something you would have heard on “Born to Run.”

  12. avatar
    GLaB September 25, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    George Michael will be your “preacher, teacher” …

    … not your “creature feature.”

  13. avatar
    roadburner September 25, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    don’t forget `lord of the dance’ and it’s sofa reference

    `dance now whoever you may be
    for I am the lord of the dance setee’

  14. avatar
    JPotter September 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    Arpaio’s hilariously refrain from 2012—”Shee-yoh uhhss thuh my-kruh-FEMM. Shee-yoh uhhss thuh my-kruh-FEMM.”—I first heard as “Show us the microphone” … which I thought was odd, as he was speaking into a microphone.

    I don’t recall often mishearing birferisms. The shock and awe comes from continually confirming I heard their latest crazy correctly the first time LOL

  15. avatar
    roxy7655 September 26, 2014 at 2:21 am #

    Lord Tiffick went a-hunting,
    Led his horses through the gate,
    But sadly came home empty
    And quite loudly moaned his fate.

    A servant girl had heard him,
    Wanted something for his plate,
    And so she sent the huntsman out
    To round up supper straight.

    You may have heard the story
    That the hunter’s luck was great,
    But you should have seen the feast of
    Foraged birds Sir Tiffick ate.

  16. avatar
    roxy7655 September 26, 2014 at 2:44 am #

    This may be a better last stanza:

    Our Sheriff heard the story
    That the hunter’s luck was great
    And sings a song about the
    Foraged birds Sir Tiffick ate.

  17. avatar
    The Magic M September 26, 2014 at 4:39 am #

    The website amiright.com covers most of this these days.

    Obama haters coined the “Obama nation / abomination” homonym.

    “If he just released the long form birth certificate, this will all be over.”
    can be misunderstood as
    “Tiffy just released the longed-for birther defecate. Tiffy, I’ll be over!”

    roxy7655: Foraged birds Sir Tiffick ate

    Excellent (especially with the context verses). 🙂

  18. avatar
    Thomas Brown September 26, 2014 at 6:26 am #

    “You guys just can’t handle knowing where I was really born, can ya?”

    –Barack Obama, to the first Birthers, 2008

  19. avatar
    Rennie September 26, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    I went to a comedy show once with an entire riff on this (it was very good). I still can never remember the correct lyrics.

    Arthur:
    And there’s the Manfred Mann song “Blinded by the Light” with the lyrics:

    “Revved up like a deuce
    Another runner in the night”

    Which I misheard as, “Wrapped up like a douche/In the rumor of the night.”

  20. avatar
    Rickey September 26, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    Crustacean:
    I miss Emily Litella.What’s all this fuss I hear about President Obama being a stew slurper…

    Some Emily Litella-isms:

    What is all this fuss I hear about the Supreme Court decision on a “deaf” penalty?

    What is this I hear about saving Soviet jewelry?

    Plus she ranted about “endangered feces,” “violins on television,” “Presidential erections,” “conserving natural racehorses,” etc.

  21. avatar
    Magdalen77 September 26, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    As a little Catholic child, I thought the real starting words to the Act of Contrition were, “Oh my God I am partly sorry…” instead of “heartly sorry”. Probably because I really wasn’t all that sorry.

  22. avatar
    katahdin September 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    I used hear to the lyrics to “Summer Breeze” as

    “Blowing through the chasm in my mind”
    Instead it was “Blowing through the jasmine in my mind”

    And I heard the lyrics to “I am Woman” as

    “I’m still an angry oaf”
    It was really “I’m still an embryo”

    I think I deserve a pass for the second mishearing. Who expects to hear the word “embryo” in a song?

  23. avatar
    Arthur September 26, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    katahdin: used hear to the lyrics to “Summer Breeze” as

    “Blowing through the chasm in my mind”
    Instead it was “Blowing through the jasmine in my mind”

    I thought it was, “Summer peas . . . make me feel fine, lord how I like to eat them all the time . . .”

  24. avatar
    ducktape September 26, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    I thought the Creedence Clearwater song was
    “There’s a bathroom on the right.”

  25. avatar
    Benji Franklin September 27, 2014 at 1:05 am #

    I long to hear Share If Our Pie Hole bellow at Obama, “Get out of OUR Oval Office, you Surper you!

  26. avatar
    Paper September 27, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    O bah humbug, can spirals see the eeries? I ask you.

  27. avatar
    Paper September 27, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    In other news, the U.S. Navy (not really) issued a press release clarifying that:

    “Zulu time should not be confused with Zullo time. One is a fixed standard of time based on the prime meridian; the other refers to an unfixed point in time based on a wandering line in the ocean, commonly referred to as ‘any day now.’

    “When someone, for example, says something will happen ‘at 0100 Zullo’ that just means ‘sleep well, nothing’s on the radar.’

    “The phrase also is commonly used as a passive aggressive code by crewmen when complaining amongst themselves about an order or a commanding officer. For example (often mumbled): ‘Yeah, I’ll get on that. Right at 1900 Zullo.’

    “Another widespread use of the term ‘Zullo’ is when making (unsanctioned) bets on what time ‘Zullo’ a Navy-issued irony meter will conk out.”

  28. avatar
    Paper September 27, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    Naked Bravado Zullo. Naked Bravado Zullo. Copy.

    (NEGAT Bravo Zulu: meaning “not well done.”)

  29. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 27, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    So last night I was at a wedding rehearsal dinner and the father of the groom got up to invite folks to speak at the microphone. I heard him say “Come on up if you have something tacky.” I thought it was really funny, until my wife said the words were “to say” not “tacky.”

  30. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 27, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    José, can you seen by the dawn’s early light?

  31. avatar
    Thomas Brown September 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

    Yeesh, now you’ve reminded me of how a whole lotta folks heard “I’m your venus, I’m your fire…”

  32. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) September 29, 2014 at 6:02 am #

    U96, Das Boot, techno version: “Und tanzen!” (“Now dance!”)
    I always understood “Und hinsetzen!” (“Now sit down!”)

    Robbie Williams, Advertising Space: “We let our profits go to waste”
    I first understood: “The little prophets go two ways”

  33. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG September 30, 2014 at 12:52 am #

    When I was in High School, there was this Stone Temple Pilots song. The name escapes me, but I always thought I was getting the lyrics wrong, because it just sounded like a lot of unintelligible gibberish! As it turns out, it actually was a lot of unintelligible gibberish! A fair bit of rock music of the mid 90s was like that, now that I think about it!

  34. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) September 30, 2014 at 3:54 am #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: As it turns out, it actually was a lot of unintelligible gibberish!

    Like my all time favourite unintelligible lyrics, Nightcrawlers’ “Push The Feeling On”, which also turned out to have no real lyrics (but rather chopped up parts of a phrase).

  35. avatar
    Keith September 30, 2014 at 7:03 am #

    The Doors: The End

    This is the end, beautiful friend
    This is the end, my only friend, the end
    A value of replies, the end
    Of everything that stands, the end
    No safety or surprise, the end
    I’ll never look into your eyes, again

    Supposed to be “Of our elaborate plans, the end

    My misheard lyric never did make sense to me. I listened to that record hundreds of times trying to figure out what the correct words were. It took the invention of the internet for me to figure it out. Its still hard for me to hear the correct lyrics.

    Later in the song:

    And meet me at the back of the blue bus
    Do not do wrong, on the blue bus
    Do not do wrong, c’mon, yeah
    Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill
    This is the end, beautiful friend

    That one is actually: “Doin’ a blue rock

    This one never worried me, I thought I had it correct until a couple of years ago. Now it sounds obvious.

    I think I’ll have to go dig out the MFSL version of “The Doors” put it on the turntable and wake up the neighborhood now.

  36. avatar
    donna October 3, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    have you begun your Christmas shopping?

    here’s the purrfect gift for “people at church, friends and congressmen”:

    New Sheriff’s Kit came in today. Thank you MIKE VOLIN!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxKDtmSu8OY

  37. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG October 3, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    donna:
    have you begun your Christmas shopping?

    here’s the purrfect gift for “people at church, friends and congressmen”:

    New Sheriff’s Kit came in today. Thank you MIKE VOLIN!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxKDtmSu8OY

    I did my public duty, by ridiculing that racist turd.

  38. avatar
    Kriselda Gray October 6, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    roxy7655:
    This may be a better last stanza:

    Our Sheriff heard the story
    That the hunter’s luck was great
    And sings a song about the
    Foraged birds Sir Tiffick ate.

    yeah, that works better. I was totally lost reading the first version, but I got it immediately with this one :D. very clever both of you!!

  39. avatar
    Bonsall Obot October 7, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    Cute segment on CBC’s Q: The Podcast yesterday about the impending obsolescence of the mondegreen:

    http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/podcasts/qpodcast_20141006_93237.mp3