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Lost in Translation – Borowitz on Bezos

7 Aug
Andy Borotwitz, the leftover comic who helped retread The Beverly Hillbillies into The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, had a funnier than usual line yesterday:

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, told reporters today that his reported purchase of the Washington Post was a “gigantic mix-up,” explaining that he had clicked on the newspaper by mistake.
“I guess I was just kind of browsing through their website and not paying close attention to what I was doing,” he said. “No way did I intend to buy anything.”
Mr. Bezos said he had been oblivious to his online shopping error until earlier today, when he saw an unusual charge for two hundred and fifty million dollars on his American Express statement.

Apparently, Borowitz renown as a humorist is not worldwide:

Heng Shao

Heng Shao, Forbes Staff
I cover Chinese business news and social phenomenon.

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8/07/2013 @ 5:25PM |11 views

Bezos’ ‘Accidental’ Purchase of the Washington Post? It’s Just a Joke, Xinhua

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Xinhua News Agency Translated The New Yorker’s Satire On Jeff Bezos’ Purchase of The Washington Post As Serious News
Apparently China’s state-owned newspapers have a difficult time getting American satire. Amid all the buzz about Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the Washington Post, Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese government’s mouthpiece, translated verbatim a New Yorker magazine satire and published it as real news on its International News Online section. The New Yorker piece, written by satire columnist Andy Borowitz, says Bezos’ purchase resulted from an unintentional click of the mouse, and that he has been negotiating with the Post’s customer service department to retract it. Not realizing the news’ satirical nature, People’s Website, operated by another Chinese state newspaper, People’s Daily, also reprinted  the Xinhua translation.
This is not the first time that Chinese government-run newspapers fall prey to American humor. Last year the People’s Website openly congratulated Kim Jong-un for winning The Onion’s Sexist Man Alive For 2012. Below a picture of the handsome Kim Jong-un, the website translated the words of the Onion editor, Marissa Blake-Zweibel, that “he has that rare ability to somehow be completely adorable and completely macho at the same time.” Although the content was removed quickly, the incident went viral in the Chinese online community, where netizens had a good laugh.
My advice for avoiding these mistakes in the future? Chill out, Xinhua, it’s just a joke.