In Airplane class yesterday, after making my high-level English students (who are no more than twelve years old) guess what country I’m from, I said, “I’m from America–New York.”

The comments that ensued:

“United States! Barack Obama!”

“Barack Hussein Obama!”

“Obama bin Laden!”

Then I asked, “Do you guys like Obama?”

–Most children responded yes, except for one boy, who lived in the States for a year:

“I like John McCain!”

“Do you like Sarah Palin?”

“Nooooo.” He then shook his head and looked down at the floor, then looked up, and with the most forlorn expression I’ve ever seen on a child, said, “She lost it for him.”

I then had a handful of students start calling Sarah Palin crazy, which, in Korea, is not a term you can throw around loosely. The closest Korean equivalent to “crazy” is “michida,” which is sort of a curse word. It takes on very serious meaning here, to the extent that in my first week of teaching, one of the first things I learned was to refrain from using the word “crazy” with the kids, even in a joking manner.

Pretty unrelated: If you want to see something good that DOES use the word crazy–a lot– then check this out. Olde English is absolutely hilarious and occasionally genius. I’ve been watching the group’s sketches since I was in high school. Personal recommendations: Food Rap, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Akon Calls T-Pain, Project Runway, Michel Gondry and The Applicant. If you notice a familiar face in Food Rap, it’s probably because you watch The Office and are picking up on the physical similarities between B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard on the show) and his brother, Jesse. Jesse, though no longer a member of OE, still composes music for a lot of the sketches, and B.J. has performed at some of OE’s live shows.

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