Many who were born in the 1950s and whose parents owned a TV (nowhere as common then as today) may remember the US TV show, “The Lone Ranger.” This was in the days when we used to call the aboriginal inhabitants, “Red Indians” or just, “Indians.” Many of us will remember innocent times spent playing “Cowboys and Indians” something today’s children must presumably term, “European Colonialists and First Nation persons.” It just doesn’t roll of the tongue anymore does it?
Many of us will remember when the Lone Ranger’s faithful companion Tonto, would from time to time point out an unscrupulous character saying, “White man speak with forked tongue…”
Well, given Barack Obama’s recent volte-face at least in the tone of his pronouncements on the BP oil spill it is clear that he and the rest of the American political establishment have been playing politics with the issue. Notwithstanding the most extraordinary degree of subservience offered to the USA by present and past British governments – it did not take much for the latent anti-British sentiments of many Americans including Obama to rise to the surface. Indeed it can now reasonably be said that more anti British bile floated to the surface of the American body politic than oil floated to the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.
Historical Note: The phrase “speaks with a forked tongue” means to say one thing and mean another or, to be hypocritical, or act in a duplicitous manner. In the longstanding tradition of many Native American tribes, “speaking with a forked tongue” has meant lying, and a person was no longer considered worthy of trust, once he had been shown to “speak with a forked tongue”. This phrase was also adopted by Americans around the time of the Revolution, and may be found in abundant references from the early 19th century — often reporting on American officers who sought to convince the tribal leaders with whom they negotiated that they “spoke with a straight and not with a forked tongue” (as for example, President Andrew Jackson told the Creek Nation in 1829) According to one 1859 account, the native proverb that the “white man spoke with a forked tongue” originated as a result of the French tactic of the 1690s, in their war with the Iroquois, of inviting their enemies to attend a Peace Conference, only to be slaughtered or captured. Source of note: Wikipedia