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Why Norwegians Use 'Texas' As Slang For 'Crazy'


That Benghazi hearing tomorrow will feature crowds of reporters, partisan attacks, presidential campaign spin. In short, it will be totally Texas.


Wait; what - Texas?

SHAPIRO: Texas, Audie.

CORNISH: I'm not getting it.



SHAPIRO: Listen. As somebody who recently lived in Europe and has moved back to the United States in the last couple months, let me explain to you. When Norwegians say something is Texas, they mean it's nuts, crazy.

CORNISH: Wait. So basically, you just insulted the entire state of Texas - because I'm not going to do a letter segment filled with all-caps notes from angry Texans next week.

SHAPIRO: OK. Let me hand this off to an actual Norwegian. This is Anne Ekern of the Norwegian consulate in Houston.

ANNE EKERN: This, historically, you know, goes back to Norwegians, you know, watching cowboy movies and reading literature about the wild West, you know? And the wild West held, I think with most Norwegians, held strong Texas association. So when we use the expression Texas, we think about - you know, most of us think about a lot of action, a lot fun and a lot of things going on.

CORNISH: All right. It's not that bad. But what do Texans think of it?

SHAPIRO: Well, Audie, I'm glad you asked that because we happen to have an actual Texan here on tape. This is Dan Solomon, who broke this story for Texas Monthly yesterday. He says he's gotten some negative feedback, mostly the kind that we can't air on public radio. By and large, though, he says Texans are mostly taking this in stride.

DAN SOLOMON: I think that most Texans, especially with a sense of humor, kind of take that as a mark of pride that, you know, if you go to a party and things are raging and you say it was Texas, that's all right. That seems like a thing we can live with.

SHAPIRO: See, Audie - so nothing to worry about. But if you still have concerns about Norway-Texas diplomatic relations...

CORNISH: Which I do.

SHAPIRO: It goes back to the 1970s when you were but a wee babe.

CORNISH: Yes, I was. But what about someone like Anne Ekern who is Norwegian and lives in Texas?

EKERN: I think it's fair to say - I think since I moved to Texas, I haven't really used that expression. But I've heard my mother use it when I've been home visiting.

SHAPIRO: And who would want to beat up a Norwegian mother? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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