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McChrystal's Letter of Application to the Institute of Dead and Dying Languages

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Pollux writes:

To Whomever Is In Command:

From your website I learned about your need for a new Director. I am very interested in this position with the Institute of Dead and Dying Languages, and believe that my employment background is appropriate for the position.

As you may or may not know (do you subscribe to the Zarphatic-language edition of Rolling Stone?), I was recently head of NATO forces in Afghanistan.

As you probably do know, Afghanistan is where the endangered language of Moghol language is spoken, in the Herat Province. I never heard any civilian speak it myself, and this bugged the shit out of me while I was there. I wanted to translate my song about Afghanistan, called “Afghanistan,” into the multiple languages of Afghanistan.

You know what else? Straight-talking is an endangered language, and since I’m a middle-finger-pointing, Bud Light Lime-drinking straight-talker, I know a lot about what it’s like to speak a language like Abnaki-Penobscot or Niuatoputapu.

And while my approach has yielded limited success by military, geopolitical, economic, or personal standards, from a linguistic standpoint, my tenure saw an explosion of new coinages, like COIN, COINdinista, and COINdom.

If chosen as your Director, I’m not gonna be one of these Ivy Beleaguered, Gucci academicians who scratch their asses and only the surface of what we can accomplish.

I’m gonna get more boots on the ground. I’m gonna develop what I call EARLI, the Endangered, Ailing, and Rare Languages Initiative.

I don’t want to record any old fart speaking Cornish or Polabian. EARLI is going to show courageous restraint. We’re gonna strategically record what we can, but we’re going to be smarter than our enemy, and our enemy is what I call the Big Languages.

EARLI is going to record, document, and archive. Under my direction, we’re going to prepare a shitload of lexicons, grammars, text samples, and databases. It’s gonna put such a hurtin’ on the English, Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic languages that everyone’s gonna be speaking Wapishana before you know it.

A little about my background: in 1972, I founded and led the Dampal, Adynyamathanha, and Matagalpa Platoon, or DAMP, at West Point. We celebrated our appreciation of these dying languages by kidnapping pledges in the dead of night, throwing them in the back of a ice truck, and handcuffing them to an oil rig in their underwear.

They had to find their way back by following instructions written in Dampal, Adynyamathanha, and Matagalpa. The guys who made it back became full members of DAMP. That’s the kind of idea and initiative your Institute needs.

I also actively use Pig Latin, which not too many young people know these days, which qualifies it as an endangered language.

A requirement for this position is a track record of no bullshit in meeting goals. I have done this. More about me: I work well with others. I have a great sense of humor. I’m fit. I rarely eat. I sleep only 28 minutes a night. I dream in black-and-white.

I am available now for employment. I look forward to talking with you regarding the Directorship of your prestigious Institute. At 0900 hours, I will be calling you to confirm that you received my letter.

And don’t give me the runaround. If you’re not interested, just tell me. ‘Cause wasting time is fuckin’ gay.


Stanley A. McChrystal
Ex-Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan

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