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12

Battle Over a Restaurant Name

Isabella Jolie had a dream to open a French-Vietnamese restaurant to honor her sister Trang, who passed away from lupus. After serving pho from a small trailer for two years, Jolie is renovating space for a permanent restaurant in Keene, New Hampshire, in the same building at Keene's City Hall. Jolie also featured the name of the town in the restaurant's name, Pho Keene Great. But Keene City Manager Elizabeth Dragon ordered Jolie to take down the "coming soon" sign, saying the name sounded profane

"We liked the name because it's lighthearted and fun," Jolie wrote in a Facebook post. "It's a name that reflects Vietnam's National dish, comfort food and our most popular culinary product, pho! Keene, of course, is the location."

Jolie ran a poll on her restaurant's Facebook page asking if the name is offensive and 97 percent of more than 3,400 voters said no.

Two weeks after being ordered to remove the sign, Keene city officials have given their approval for the restaurant's name. Pho Keene Great is slated to open March first. -Thanks, gwdMaine!

(Image credit: Pho Keene Great)


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Lived in Vietnam, speak french, well aware of pronunciation. Not the Americanized 'foh'. Don't even get my started on Americanized 'gyros'.

I simply left a large enough break between the words, and pronounced Keene as Keene, not 'king', that I didn't 'get it' at first.

The sign is still creatively brilliant, whatever perspective one may or may not have on the degree of subtlety. As long as people realize that what we are is not what we've become. Highly recommend reading some Shakespeare to see some great wordplay that can truly have some despicably great double meanings. Or classic poetry... definitely loads to find there. If not, even just looking at the evolution of language itself. How words that are completely improper and taboo eventually just become part of everyday vocabulary, while other words take their place for their more hostile, potty-mouthed sounding connotations based on modern public perception.

That said, if people wish to judge what we've become based on lazy fuckers wearing pyjamas in public, I'm down with that.
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'Subtle' is subjective I guess. I personally don't really care anymore because this is pretty much what we are. But just to be clear, in Vietnamese, the pronunciation of 'pho' is 'fuh'.
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This sign is brilliant. The thing is, I've seen the image in the news over the past few weeks. I've skimmed over, read the headlines and the sign itself, skipped the articles. Only after reading this article did I put the wordplay together. Seems to be much subtler in its wordplay than others, such as the F'Coffee shop in Toronto.
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I'm kinda torn on this one. I mean yeah, if you ask leftist adults on social media to answer a poll, turns out most things aren't offensive to them. But then you have half the country who doesn't like profanities (even with wordplay), and they don't want their children exposed to it either.
It's just another example of what I've been saying for years - "free will" and "free speech" are memes, they don't exist in reality. If two men are on an island, one of them isn't going to have free will or free speech. That's just laws of nature. Anyway..
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