Enjoy this fascinating and insightful essay from Faithful ForceCast listener Paul F. McDonald about the most-famous Gungan in the galaxy, and the backlash he has endured!
THE CASE FOR JAR JAR
Most native traditions held clowns and tricksters as essential to any contact with the sacred. People could not pray until they had laughed, because laughter opens and frees from rigid preconception. Humans had to have tricksters within the most sacred ceremonies lest they forget the sacred comes through upset, reversal, surprise. The trickster in most native traditions is essential to creation, to birth.
- Professor Byrd Gibbens
University of Arkansas
Even more than a decade after the release of The Phantom Menace, a person does not lightly take on defending a character that is easily the most reviled in the entire Star Wars galaxy.
Much has been said about Jar Jar Binks, the floppy-eared Gungan who bumbled his way across movie screens - but not into the hearts of very many movie goers. While he is at least recognized as something of a technical achievement who will go down in cinema history as the first totally computer-generated character, he's not likely to go down as a favorite character, computer-generated or not.
In case you failed to notice, people don't seem to like Jar Jar. At all. They don't like the way he walks, nor do they like the way he talks. They don't like anything about him.
Shortly after the film's release, websites began popping up all over the internet with catchy names like "Jar Jar Sucks!" and even the more-to-the-point "Jar Jar Binks Must Die!" Some even provided forums so angry, disgruntled fans could go on at great length concerning just how badly he had annoyed them and ruined what should have been a very solemn occasion.
And the computer savvy twenty and thirty-something fans weren't the only ones that had issues with him. Every major media outlet from Salon to USA Today featured articles about his broken English and wobbly gait, and the very real chance that creator George Lucas was using him to promote some kind of racist stereotyping. At last count, he was a punch line on Jeopardy.
Hopefully this will be the only point in the history of Western civilization when an orange amphibian with eye-stalks and a fondness for bell-bottoms will invoke such furious, indignant hatred.
As for me, though, I just can't quite let this one go yet.
I am one of the few who can admit to liking Jar Jar, and I will say that he has grown on me even more since The Phantom Menace was first released. So this is to be my defense of him, born basically out of a respect for George Lucas, and the simple belief that he still knows what he's doing.
That's the point of view to start from anyway, because when you do, it leads to some very interesting places, as I hope to demonstrate. Much more so than all the endless whining and complaining does anyway.
The Case for Jar Jar is an interpretation to be sure, but hopefully it is at least an informed one. Naturally, all film is interpretive, but myth is even more so. So much depends on the audience.
Unfortunately, The Phantom Menace did not quite find the audience that was genuinely willing to give up its preconceptions or ideas of what a "real" Star Wars film was supposed to be like. Well, not until I came along anyway. George Lucas admitted early on he was doing some things he would get "killed for" in the first prequel, but I for one like the perpetual playing against our expectations.
As the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn said, "Nothing happens by accident," and with that in mind, I launch into why Jar Jar not only belongs in that galaxy far, far away that we all love so much, but is in fact a welcome addition to it.
The Gungan Prince
Most of us know the story of the Frog Prince in Grimm's Fairy Tales.
It concerns the youngest of a king's daughters, a beautiful maiden who is having an ordinary day playing with a golden ball until she accidentally drops it down a well. Very disheartened, she cannot go to retrieve it herself because she is dressed in an extravagant jeweled gown. A frog eventually comes up to her and agrees to get her ball back - but only if she will take him home with her and let him live in her house.
Though she has some misgivings, the princess consents and the frog quickly finds the ball and brings it back to her. Once it is returned, the young girl runs home, and the frog is forced to give chase. When she tells her father what has happened, he informs her she must live up to her vow. She takes the frog in, but eventually gets very angry with him and hurls him against a wall.
Afterwards, he is transformed into a handsome prince, and as soon as he explains how a witch had cursed him, the two are married.
Obvious parallels can be drawn between this story and the one told in The Phantom Menace.
For one, we have a young, disenfranchised princess who can only get back her vitality by dealing with a talking frog, a creature she clearly has a good deal of disdain for. While Queen Amidala certainly does not hold Jar Jar in disdain, she and the rest of the Naboo are most certainly alienated from the species of Gungans whom they share their planet with. Amidala does share the princess' keen fashion sense, and the scene that most immediately comes to mind here is the one in which Jar Jar counsels her on Coruscant.
Unlike the little girl, Amidala has not lost simply her golden ball, but her entire planet, and she can only win it back again by the aid of a very lowly creature who stands in sharp contrast to the magnificent Senate halls and exotic alien politicians she has just appealed to. The group goes back to Naboo, where Jar Jar swims down to Otoh Gunga, his underwater city, to gain audience with the Gungan leader Boss Nass. It is fitting that the entire city is made up of great golden balls.
As we all know, the Naboo and the Gungans eventually come together and reclaim their home from the Trade Federation, and while Jar Jar does not turn into a prince, he does turn into a general. The symbolic celebration- wedding at the end of the film is between two cultures rather than Amidala and Jar Jar, but it represents basically the same thing. The allusions in and of themselves are very interesting, but the ideas they represent are critical for the case being presented here.
It is a long standing tradition in myth and fairy tale that characters are rarely what they seem. They often come from the lowest points on the societal totem pole, most often some kind of hermit or wandering beggar, but they provide the hero with a crucial bit of insight into the genuine scheme of things. We see this again and again in the original trilogy. Luke Skywalker is quick to dismiss the crazy, swamp-dwelling Yoda before he realizes who he is, though by the time he meets up with the Ewoks, he has learned his lesson and is not so quick to dismiss their value.
The simple moral point of the story is that greatness can be found in the simplest of places, and outward appearance is not the same thing as internal reality. Certainly this point is quite obvious in Jar Jar Binks, perhaps more so than in anyone else. As many have pointed out, even the characters in the actual movie don't like him.
After Qui-Gon saves his life from his own people who want to kill him for constantly causing trouble through his clumsiness, Amidala is really the only person that takes any interest in him at all. She talks to him aboard her ship, and even helps him get his hand unstuck from Anakin's pod on Tatooine.
As for the rest of the good guys, Anakin ignores him, Obi-Wan jokingly refers to him as a "worthless lifeform," and even C-3PO admits he finds him quite "odd." Not too many Jar Jar supporters to be found, onscreen or off.
The point has been driven home in so many different ways I personally find it hard to believe that Lucas did not deliberately set it up to be interpreted like that. After all, it is Jar Jar that makes victory against the Trade Federation possible. It is Jar Jar who counsels Amidala in her moment of darkest despair. And it is Jar Jar who brings two completely alienated cultures together to live as one.
Jar Jar's role as someone who breaks down oppositional thinking can be found symbolically in the fact that he is amphibious - a creature meant to walk on land but also swim in water. The tie between Amidala and himself is so strong because she performs the same capacity, reconciling her double identity as handmaiden and queen while simultaneously appealing to Boss Nass, the symbolic "other." What makes Jar Jar special is the fact that he is completely despised and is depicted to be so worthless.
Everyone knows the importance of the late Joseph Campbell's work in relation to Star Wars, even though of late, it has become a greatly simplified aspect of the whole saga. Still, in an interview with Michael Toms that went on to be printed as a book known as An Open Life, Campbell talked about the role of the fool and the trickster in myth.
Even though some might disagree, he largely used the terms interchangeably, and that works excellently here. Both archetypes are outsiders, characters that come from somewhere other than the organized system. Campbell says that they essentially play the role of the unconscious mind, and frequently come in to "trip up the rational situation."
Certainly Jar Jar does this again and again, constantly falling, tripping, and occasionally taking a few battle droids with him. The trickster and the fool represent all those untapped potentials that the rational consciousness doesn't always want to deal with, and this neatly ties in to the relation between the "classical" Naboo and the "primitive" Gungans. Campbell wrote that the "fool really became the instructor of kings because he was careless of the king's opinion."
We see on Coruscant that, while Jar Jar is not necessarily careless of the queen's opinion, he does instruct her, regardless of whether or not he recognizes what he's accomplishing.
The Lowest of the Low
On some level, it really is amazing that no one has really questioned whether or not any of this is intentional on Lucas' part. The linking of Jar Jar with the most undesirable aspects of life is actually something of a sub-theme in the film. Even his appearance has more than its share of psychological relevance.
The creature that Jar Jar and the rest of the Gungans most closely resemble is a frog, and that is how they are described in the script.
This is very interesting, because as mammalians, self-conscious human beings tend not to bond well with such things. Certainly there is a strong dislike of reptiles like snakes, but on a very general level, frogs also trigger feelings of repulsion for most people. This is in direct contrast to fuzzy animals, and may have something to do with the reason that the ever-furry Chewbacca has such a large following.
Of course, young children have no such compulsions against frogs and will often try to pick them up without a second thought. The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung even established that the frog is a prominent animal symbol for toddlers, and interestingly enough, those are the ones who likewise have the least problem with Jar Jar. Controversial or no, Lucasfilm has always reported that Jar Jar is a very popular character for children six and under.
One of the top German symbolists in the field, Han Biedermann noted in his Dictionary of Symbolism that while frogs may be disgusting to people in real life, when they show up in dreams they usually bring positive connotations. If one recalls the intense relationship dreams and myths share, the link with Jar Jar once again presents itself. Just as frogs are linked to lower degrees of psychological transformation, so is Jar Jar. This is the meaning of the Frog Prince, where the despised frog eventually becomes the desired prince.
The last and most extreme aspect of this to be discussed here is the use of scatological humor in the film, and how it is irrevocably linked to Jar Jar.
Honestly, the amount of anger and resentment some fans have felt over the use of low-brow, "Adam Sandler-esque humor" in The Phantom Menace would cause one to think the film was nothing but one long poop joke. There are actually only two scenes that boast such characteristics, both of which take place on Tatooine.
The first involves Jar Jar sauntering through Mos Espa and stepping in a pile of probably bantha droppings, and the second when an Eopie breaks wind right in front of him before the podrace. These scenes could have easily just been written off as either funny or unfunny, but given the amount of intense scrutiny and perverse attention they have received in forums across the web, a reply definitely needs to be given.
Interestingly enough, they are perhaps the most overt bit of Lucas once again attaching our poor Gungan to the most undesirable things imaginable. When you start filming excrement and creatures stepping in it, you're hitting life at what seems to be its lowest point - which may very well be the point. This association with fools and so on and excrement is actually not anything new to the world of myth.
In Primitive Mythology, Campbell notes that clown figures in certain early cultures actually symbolically digested excrement. Again, one has the lowest caste and the lowest form of matter wedded together. But as was eventually proven by the famous Dublin writer James Joyce some centuries later, there is a method to this madness.
A huge influence on Campbell, Joyce did what few Western authors have ever done - he followed his characters into the bathroom. In his masterpiece Ulysses, readers are indeed invited into the lavatory, right alongside the novel's protagonist, Leopold Bloom. It is said more is known about Bloom than about any other character in Western literature, and that is probably not far from the truth.
Though some early critics believed it to be simply "dirt for dirt's sake," the point Joyce was making was that real psychological salvation can come only through acceptance of the total human being. Carl Jung would also later stress this idea, demonstrating that when a person only accepts the desirable aspects of the self while either repressing or projecting onto someone else all the undesirable ones, one becomes a neurotic.
When Lucas links Jar Jar with defecation in a Star Wars film, he is perhaps simply saying one cannot have a rose without expecting a few thorns.
At this point, no doubt most Jar Jar haters will just throw up their hands. Beads of sweat are already probably forming on their foreheads, and nostrils are no doubt flaring as they read this. Some are inevitably thinking that this is the stupidest thing they've ever heard in their lives, and that no one can possibly be meant to read this much into it. And they may be right.
But think about this. It certainly isn't any more ridiculous than the charges of racism and the like that was broadcast by most of the increasingly attention-deficit media outlets when Episode One was released. As the Jungian analyst Stephen Galipeau wrote in his superb critique of The Phantom Menace, the negative projection that so many people are casting onto Jar Jar is in itself the substance behind racism.
In such a situation, all the undesirable aspects of the self are projected onto another social group rather than being internally recognized and dealt with. The point Lucas is making is precisely the opposite, just as Joyce and Jung insisted.
Salvation comes only in acceptance of the whole, desirable and undesirable alike.
The Law of Reversed Effort
Granted, Jar Jar doesn't always do much to help out his own image.
Throughout the first prequel, our Gungan basically just goes from one situation to the next, and most of the time landing himself in trouble. If he's not knocking over pit droids in Watto's shop, he's inadvertently picking fights with Sebulba. It he's not getting his hand caught in Anakin's podracer, he's accidentally falling off his kaadu.
Or to put the situation in his own words - "My no know ... Mesa day starten pitty okeyday witda brisky morning munchen. Den boom ... getten berry skeered, un grabben dat Jedi, and before mesa knowen it ... pow! Mesa here."
With Jar Jar, there's a lot of "pows" and a a lot of "mesa heres." He essentially spends the film sliding - or tripping - from one scene to the next, and one planet to the next, with very little thought as to what is actually going on. The curious thing is, whatever situation he finds himself in, he always manages to get out of it.
In short, the Force is with him.
While this does not imply Qui-Gon should have taken up the cause for him being trained as a Jedi as well as Anakin, it does imply that Jar Jar has a certain something that allows him to survive in very dangerous situations. He clearly does not have the serene calm of a Jedi knight, nor the courage of a political leader, but he does have a kind of flexibility that lets him survive many scenes in which he should have been killed a dozen times over.
Rather than simply writing this off as lazy plotting on Lucas' part, it seems more prudent to try and figure out what is actually being said.
One thing that everyone can agree on about Jar Jar is that he seems to lack the acute self-consciousness that marks most of the other characters. If Jar Jar comes face to face with a Colo Claw fish deep in the waters of Naboo's core, Jar Jar is going to scream bloody murder about it. No need for pretense or perhaps making a cool, Han Solo-esque remark.
Frankly, Jar Jar reacts the way a child would react, and that's that. What you see is exactly what you get. He lacks any developed self-consciousness, and is always and completely in the present moment. There are no scenes with him idly reflecting on the stars or longing to become something other than what he is.
The theme of the Living Force is very prominent in The Phantom Menace, and it seems to me to tie in with Jar Jar's character. While he has no formal training in the ways of the Force and expresses his doubts to its existence, he is in fact remarkably closer to it in certain respects. Some will argue this, saying that one should have to devote years of arduous practice and meditation to develop an awareness of the Force.
That is definitely one way of doing it, and it certainly appeals to people who take great spiritual pride in religious exercises and the like. But this also implies that the Force is somewhere other than in the everyday world, however, and we know such is not the case. Life creates it, and makes it grow. Simple, unpretentious life.
All the years it takes to become a Jedi is fine, but this is the path for the self-conscious. Jar Jar is different. Much of the Jedi way is based on feeling, not thinking, and essentially letting go and flowing with the situation. It is based on instinct, not the rational, linear intellect that is born of acute reflection. On the contrary, Jedi are taught to unlearn such things.
Well, Jar Jar is already there at the beginning of The Phantom Menace. And as a result, he's got more lives than a cat.
The philosophy of the Living Force is probably closest to the real world of Zen Buddhism, with its emphasis on being in the present moment. Essentially the Japanese form of Chinese Taoism, the ideal in this tradition is not to be "born again," but rather to become "unborn." Or as the sage Lao Tzu put it twenty-five hundred years ago, "Return to the state of the uncarved block."
The movement of all the great Eastern masters is thus a return to something that has been lost, rather than striving for something that has to be created. In their simplest, "no-mind" state, everyone has it. For that reason, the mysterious, ineffable Tao of Chinese philosophy is often linked to the unself-conscious child.
The Tao is also thought of as being like water, for water does not resist and always flows in the direction of least resistance. Water is obviously something Jar Jar is closely linked with, and he swims in it as naturally as he does the Living Force.
Both water and Jar Jar are also paradoxes. After all, it is water alone that has enough power to carve out the Grand Canyon, and likewise it is Jar Jar alone that is able to inflict serious damage on the droid armies of the Trade Federation.
This point of view works perfectly once an audience gets around the idea that Jar Jar's actions are - or even need to be - intentional.
The Gungan just instinctively seeks out the lowest point on the battlefield, cowering under a primitive transport. This inadvertently sets off a chain reaction in which Gungan energy balls are unleashed at a key moment and destroy several pursuing Federation tanks. After this, he is blown from a kaadu onto another tank, fumbles another energy ball but still manages to take out another droid, and then rides it like a cowboy as it lurches wildly from one side to the other.
If he had been self-conscious during all this, he would have broken his neck. Lao-Tzu once wrote that the "branch that is unbending is easily broken," but Jar Jar bends throughout the movie. And thus he is able to spring back like a limber branch shaking off a few ounces of snow rather than not being able to and thus cracking under its weight.
As seen in the "making of" documentary on The Phantom Menace DVD (aka "The Beginning"), when Lucas was directing Ahmed Best, the actor portraying Jar Jar, he was very adamant that Ahmed was extremely loose in his movements. Footage is even available where Lucas describes the Gungan's arms as "not having a lot in them." This is the very thing that allows Jar Jar to survive so many dangerous encounters.
A self-conscious human being can fall out a window and break half the bones in his body, yet an unself-conscious cat can fall out the same window and land on its feet. The essence of both Taoism and Zen is reclaiming that forgotten instinctual wisdom, and Jar Jar can quite easily be adopted as an example of it. From a certain point of view, of course.
Furthermore, the Taoist sage Chuang-Tzu wrote once of an infant who can cry all day without growing hoarse, clench his fist all day without getting a sore hand, and gaze all day without eyestrain. He is described as "Free from care, unaware of self, he acts without reflection, stays where he is put, does not know why, does not figure things out, just goes along with them, is part of the current." This is seen as the beginning of perfection.
Again, the Jedi are not those who learn, but those who unlearn, as Yoda himself instructs.
For his part, Jar Jar doesn't know or need to know, and therefore triumphs in spite of himself. He can likewise scream all day without becoming hoarse, survive great falls without being hurt, and easily fall asleep anywhere. He symbolically represents that place where wisdom looks foolish and foolishness looks wise.
There is one more great Taoist parable that may prove helpful when trying to understand this interpretation of Jar Jar.
In "The Useless Tree," a man is heckling Chuang-Tzu. He tells him about a stinktree that has a knotted trunk and crooked branches, and is not even worth cutting down. It is completely worthless. Then he says that the same is true of the old master's teaching. Chuang-Tzu replies that he's thinking about the tree in the wrong way. If it can't be used by carpenters, it should be used as a shade tree.
That is the virtue of its uselessness.
The same could be said for Jar Jar. Just because he may not fit perfectly into preconceptions, he has use, even if it manifests only in his uselessness. A fine lesson indeed, albeit totally at odds with the way we all too often see things.
Watching an A&E Biography that featured George Lucas himself was something of a revelation.
So many people have preconceptions of not only what Star Wars should be like, but what the creator of Star Wars should be like also. When someone is as successful as Lucas has become, one can only begin to view them as almost mythic figures in their own right, whether the legends surrounding them be positive or negative.
For Lucas, they're mostly negative right now. Some fans have said straight up that with the release of the prequels and the special editions, he's ruined their childhoods.
That's too bad, because from the looks of his home movies, he's someone still very much enjoying his. Though in his late fifties, this is a man who eats cake with his hands, plays with his kids, loves to go to Disneyland, and even makes funny faces at the camera every now and again.
If only his fans could enjoy and be as creative with their lives as he's been with his, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. They'd rather see him as a money-grubbing, empire-ruling tyrant, not that far removed from the Emperor himself. This is surprising, because a good look at the Star Wars saga reveals a very tangible love of life, one completely antithetical to this view.
Though dealing with dark, complex issues, Star Wars has always had a certain ... well, "bounce" to it. As one early reviewer of A New Hope noted, the saga believes in - and celebrates - the innate goodness of people. All people. Even people like Darth Vader. Lucas is likewise clearly a man who believes that humans are essentially good when given the chance to be, and that life in itself is a positive thing. It is not something that needs to be conquered, nor does it require an explanation or an apology.
And furthermore, those that think it does are the ones who cause all the trouble.
I would also like to point out that Star Wars has always worn itself on its sleeve, and quite frankly, operates half the time on what Lucas himself calls "whimsy." Bickering robots. Silly mouse droids. Backward talking sages that sound like Grover from Sesame Street. Big hairy creatures with goofy names like "wookiee" and dancing, singing furballs that live in trees.
Clearly, if you don't have a sense of whimsy, this fictitious galaxy isn't the place for you.
Okay, so even I will admit that Jar Jar Binks does bring a level of unparalleled silliness to Star Wars that didn't exist before the prequels, but why does that have to be such a bad thing? For some it apparently does. They would be much more comfortable listening to Jedi Masters droning on about the horrors of the dark side than watching Jar Jar's clumsy antics.
But in one sense, his presence did serve to totally rip away all the pretentiousness that had built up around the saga, and actually did open up a totally new way of looking at things.
And that’s the part that really interests me.
For instance, everyone thinks the Force itself is supposed to be such a serious thing, and unfortunately, no one is more adamant about this than the Jedi Council. Their order is not only shown to be totally out of touch with the real affairs of the galaxy, but they also overload the helpless energy field with codes and labels and rules and regulations, none of which have much to do with it in the end.
Apparently clergy is clergy, no matter what universe you're in.
Still, the Force itself certainly seems to have no predisposition to what is deemed "sacred" over what is deemed "profane," and merrily swings back and forth like a pendulum between Jedi and non-Jedi alike. Even the light side and the dark side are only so many labels, perhaps a misinterpretation of the whole affair from start to finish.
Much exposition has been given on what the Force represents, but maybe it's simply a metaphor for life itself. It ebbs and it flows. To grasp it is to lose it. It is at once the cause as well as the effect. In short, it is the "bounce" of the Star Wars galaxy.
Qui-Gon knows this in The Phantom Menace, and it is his allegiance to the Living Force that allows him to be playful, whether it is catching Jar Jar's tongue over dinner, or teasing Padme when she is pretending to be a handmaiden.
Despite the Jedi Council's frowning posture on such things, perhaps summoning the Force for the amusement of lovers the galaxy over is a valid expression of it. Contrary to somehow being opposed to love, surely the mystical energy would revel in it, for it is that act that generates more life, the very thing that makes the Force grow and expand. Perhaps that is its purest form.
The poet William Blake once wrote that "energy is eternal delight," and it is sad that the Force is rarely - if ever - thought of in such terms. From this perspective, everything from the spinning of great spiral galaxies down to the microscopic dance of subatomic particles is just grooving to some eternal delight that is absolutely beyond our understanding. And perhaps the Force is too.
This is not so strange a claim as one might think.
After all, in the Indian philosophy of Vedanta, the main reason the universe even exists in the first place can be traced back to the Sanskrit word "lila," often translated as "play." Essentially doing for Eastern philosophy what Campbell did for mythology, Alan Watts interpreted such ancient teachings in one of his most famous works, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. In it, he described the entire universe as basically an incredibly elaborate game of hide-and-seek that the Godhead is playing with itself.
Along a similiar vein in the West, the book of Proverbs speaks of existence as basically a manifestation of God playing out his eternal wisdom. Likewise in the Paradiso, Dante wrote of all the angels in heaven forever calling out "alleluia," which he descibed as the laughter of the cosmos.
Rather than the grim self-righteousness marking far too many religious fundamentalists - and perhaps far too many fanboys - it is in this contrary sense that I am talking about the Force, which plays the Star Wars galaxy as a master musician would a harp.
So when you finally do manage to break beyond certain preconceptions, you may even start to see that the Force may be less a desperate, polarized battlefield, and more of what fairy tale enthusiast G.K. Chesterton called “the games that angels play.”
And that’s kinda marvelous.
When set against such a backdrop, the character of Jar Jar Binks might seem a bit more appropriate.
He is an absurd creation, but no more so than a duckbilled platypus or even a giraffe. Actually, Watts wrote all the time about why the real universe is a very silly place, and that some people love goofiness because to do so is to participate "in the essential glorious nonsense that is at the heart of the world." And honestly, why have a universe, whether real or fictional, that isn't mostly a fun place to be?
In conclusion, whether Jar Jar is viewed as a perfectly constructed Taoist meditation on the virtue of uselessness or a cartoonish CGI monstrosity is all in the eye of the beholder. Maybe both miss the point. But it is safe to proclaim that Jar Jar is fundamentally representative - an archetype if you will - of the "essential glorious nonsense" that Watts spoke of.
And whatever an audience member may think of it, Lucas hardly invented it with "Gungan-speak." It runs throughout the sing-songy rhymes of Middle English nursey rhymes, the tongue-twisters of Lewis Carrol in his Alice in Wonderland books, and even in the nonsensical stream-of-consciousness babblings in James Joyce's Ulysses.
Such things can't help but appeal to the fundamental silliness in some of us, and we can only pray that the rest of you can forgive us when we occasionally sneak off, say things like "bombad" and "okeyday" and "wesa no liken outlanders," and laugh like idiots.