Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Jon Stewart Made Fun of Condoleezza Rice's Tattoo

I caught a glimpse of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight, where he made fun of Condoleezza Rice's Chinese character tattoo.

Jon Stewart makes fun of Condoleezza Rice's tattoo
Videos: 4.12 MB Divx, 2.39 MB Windows Media, and mirror

This is after the Daily Show aired a clip showing Condoleezza Rice tried to use a Chinese phrase to describe American's war in Iraq (or terrorism in general?) during a news conference in August 6, 2006.

By the way, the term Condoleezza Rice used does not actually mean "danger+opportunity=crisis". My good friend Mark Swofford at Pinyin.info has posted an essay by Victor H. Mair on this misperception.

The character on Condoleezza's shoulder means "pig".

Update: August 9, 2006 - After receiving two emails from readers that felt the need to share their inside knowledge about The Daily Show with everyone, I just want to point out for those who hasn’t already know, The Daily Show is produced by Comedy Central, and it is a satirical television program.

The show is hosted by “the most trusted name in fake news” Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, also known as Jon Stewart.

Another headline from the Gullible Readers’ Digest: Is Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, Bruno, and Sacha Baron Cohen the same person?

Say it ain’t so!


  1. The "danger + opportunity = crisis" thing gets thrown around a lot, even though it has been clearly proven to be incorrect on numerous occasions. You can find one thorough (though long-winded) explanation here: http://www.pinyin.info/chinese/crisis.html

  2. here's the clip:

  3. "pig"? Oh my - if that's not poetic justice, I don't know what is.

  4. My favorite reference to it was on an episode of "The Simpsons:"

    Lisa: Did you know that the Chinese use the same word for "crisis" as they do for "opporunity?"
    Homer: That's right- "crisitunity!"

  5. Perhaps in Japanese 「機」 has a more direct connotation of "opportunity" (which is more properly 機会), but also of "machine" or "airplane". When read as 「はた」, however, the character means "loom".

  6. Rather than pig 猪 it is inoshishi in Japanese, or wild boar. Im not sure if this is any better.
    It carries connotations of someone who charges right in, is inflexible and can not change their course
    such as 猪武者 inoshishi musha
    A foolhardy samurai
    危機 kiki, is the japanese for crisis but it takes some odd specious reasoning to say it makes up danger and opportunity. Its as likely to be a dangerous loom.
    危険 kiken - danger
    機会 kikai - opportunity
    I did like from the pinyin info link, the simplified version of 機 as 机 which in Japanese is tsukue- desk

  7. If we're looking for inspirational thoughts for the business traveler: The Chinese word for "crisis" is written as a combination of two characters, the first meaning "dangerous" and the second meaning "airplane".

  8. Anon: The character "機" in "危機" has been in existence long before the advent of the first working airplane. By itself, the character would never be taken to mean "airplane," but (if you bothered to click on Tian's links earlier, you'd alread know this) either "machine," "moment," or "chance."

    "Airplane" in Chinese literally means "fly[ing] machine," or "[a] machine [that] flies," by combining the character for "fly" with the character for "machine" (飛機).

  9. I have a feeling the previous anonymous knew that already, and was trying to make a joke on the fact that 機 is usually taken to be 'opportunity' because of a compound it is part of, rather than the meaning of the individual character!

  10. 猪is wild boar(豚is pig)...also...at least in Japanese,危機 does mean crisis...I think some non-hanji(kanji)users focus too much on the meaning of each individual character.

  11. In modern Chinese, the character (zhu1) is the common term meaning simply pig. It is also the term traditionally used for the zodiac in both Chinese and Japanese, even though the other character in the above comment (buta) is the common modern word for pig.
    My guess, though I can't be bothered to look it up, is that she was born in the year of the pig, and knows full well what the character means... but who knows?

  12. My first reaction at seeing 危机 was "danger machine," which fits Iraq pretty well :)