- Posted July 27, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Because of the Internet...
Hyphen nation: A Romanian Art Director’s Political Protest Goes Viral
Because, believe it or not, that’s one of the reasons, if not the main one, that the message has caught on so well: a mere hyphen.
The sign reads "neam saturat de voi," a play upon the word "neam," which, in Romanian, can also be spelled "ne-am." The difference between the two messages, "ne-am saturat de voi" and "neam saturat de voi" is much like the difference between the age-old "us and them/ US and them."
While "ne-am" translates as "we are,” making the phrase "ne-am saturat de voi" mean "we are sick of you," "neam" is another word for nation, just like „us” is roughly "we, a bunch of people" and US is "the United States as a nation."
Thus the hyphen or, better yet, the lack thereof, not only lends the "neam saturat de voi" message a new and more powerful meaning: „an entire nation is sick of you,” but it also peppers it with controversy, which is just what you need when you want something, anything to go viral. And art director Robert Soparlache, along with artist Cosmina Ivanov, who joined him in his efforts, can attest to that fact.
Both online and offline, people are constantly pointing out that there's a hyphen missing and rushing to call the two illiterate, since the first instict is to think that the sign is supposed to read „we’re sick of you” (ne-am saturat de voi). Walk around the block with friend ans a sign reading „were sick of you,” if you want to know what that feels like.
Nevertheless, in (thankfully) most cases, that first instict to take out a pen and hyphenate the word „neam” is followed by another one, which very much resembles an „Aha” moment, as people realize „neam” means nation and that the sign makes sense, even more sense, as it is.