The Onion Does Idaho

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The satirical newspaper The Onion took on Idaho today, in a "story" quoting Lt. Gov. Jim Risch.

The headline?

"Idaho Legislature Declares English Only Language They Know."

The story "quotes" Risch thusly:

"We're putting into law a general feeling that everyone here has had for years: English is the only language we know, and English is the only language we want to know," Lt. Gov. James E. Risch said during a press conference outside the State Capitol building. "It's a good language, serves us well in matters of communication, and we can't think of any good reason to go around knowing some other language that we have no use for."

The story does, of course have some root in reality. During the 2006 session, the Idaho Legislature passed, and Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed, a measure to make English the official language of Idaho. The bill has few penalties, but caused a stir nonetheless.

Idaho isn't alone, either. Nevada recently joined us in doing a similar thing.

Update:

Lt. Gov. Risch called BW back today, to tell us what he thinks of the story.

"This is outlandish," Risch said. "No. 1, I didn't say this, and No. 2, it doesn't reflect how I really feel."

All three of his kids, he told us, took Spanish classes in school, with his encouragement.

"I admire people who can speak more than one language," Risch said. Speaking for himself, Risch said he "doesn't have the linguistic ability" to learn a new language.

But the experience has left Risch, who was previously unaware of The Onion's brand of humor, a little confused about the nature of modern satire.

"I don't mind them joking and stuff," Risch said. "But to quote me, I think that's outlandish."

He does worry that someone might read the article and think it's actually quoting him.

"Most people who read it will think it's baloney," Risch said.