I was being grilled the other day by one of my superiors at work about certain aspects of credibility in our international programming. The term PR made an appearance in our conversation.
PR - the first two letters of propaganda.
I suppose my ultimate employer in China is the 宣传部 (xuanchanbu). Xuanchuanbu is no longer translated as “Propaganda Department” - that’s considered bad PR. It’s the Publicity Department now. No need to change the initials.
Taking a break from what I’m supposed to be doing - translating the tale of a corrupt and debauched official finally laid low through the determination of a heroic investigator - I wander off through the Internet and follow a link to this article about Karen Hughes which scandalously suggests that she and her employer, that great statesman and orator President Bush, have made themselves and America about as popular as Osama bin Laden. Outrageous as that might sound, it does at least send me off to read Karen Hughes’ latest piece of "Public Diplomacy." For some reason, I feel a natural affinity to someone whose occupation begins with those two letters.
However, much as I appreciate Ms. Hughes’ words of wisdom, I must take issue with one detail: her suggestion that apple pie might even possibly be American. As far as I am aware, the Christmas-haters sailed on the Mayflower from Plymouth to Plymouth in 1620. If apple pie is American, then how do we explain this recipe published in 1545 in the concisely named "A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye, declarynge what maner of meates be beste in season, for al times in the yere, and how they ought to be dressed, and serued at the table, bothe for fleshe dayes, and fyshe dayes"?
To make pyes of grene apples - Take your apples and pare them cleane and core them as ye wyll a Quince, then make youre coffyn after this maner, take a lyttle fayre water and half a dyche of butter and a little Saffron, and sette all this upon a chafyngdyshe tyll it be hoate then temper your flower with this sayd licuor, and the whyte of two egges and also make your coffyn and ceason your apples with Sinemone, Gynger and Suger ynoughe. Then putte them into your coffin and laye halfe a dyshe of butter above them and so close your coffin, and so bake them.
Or this even earlier 14th century recipe:
For To Make Tartys in ApplisTak gode Applys and gode Spryeis and Figys and reyfons and Perys and wan they are wel ybrayed colourd wyth Safron wel and do yt in a cofyn and do yt forth to bake well.
But that’s just nitpicking. The rest of the article is wonderful PD.