Fokke & Sukke
August 4, 2006 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Fokke & Sukke are a strange couple of birds. Having dominated the funnies in various Dutch print media for over a decade, their irreverent antics are now available in English, regrettably under the tamer monikers Duck & Birdie (click "previous" for more gags). [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
While many fans will applaud the fact that at least a selection of the feathered, trouserless duo's works are now available to a larger audience, the move to change their names and the hamfisted denial of an intended salacious connotation to their original handles has met with some criticism amongst readers.

Aside from the tame (and comparatively lame) introductory gags on the Duck & Birdie site there are saddeningly few English-language cartoons available online, so one would have to purchase the book to determine whether F&S translate well. Here's a cryptography-themed one penned for someone's law thesis, though, and here's a Google-themed one. Therefore, I have taken the liberty to link a few Dutch ones, with the words translated in the link text.

F&S keep themselves occupied - "Fucking around on my blog again, are you?"

F&S take advice from a witch doctor - "A fresh turd around your neck every day..." "...and you will never get AIDS."

On the EU Microsoft antitrust case: F&S initially wanted to acquit Microsoft - "Stupid program crashes AGAIN!" "Okay, I'll write something up by hand."

F&S are familiar with the workings of science - "Very impressive, dear colleague... but does it work in theory?"

F&S are fishing for a fatwa - "Hey baby... got any sisters?"

F&S break the ice - "You're majoring in communication, right?" "THEN SAY SOMETHING!"

On Furbies: F&S fell for it too - "When they're young you think, aww, how cute."

F&S's biorhythms are working properly - "I think it's beer o'clock."

F&S are not easy to impress - "Says here they found water on Mars." "Meh. Anything about beer?"

F&S refuse to believe this was really the last episode of Friends - "Tell me they just moved production to China..." "...and are paying 6 kids 50 cents an episode."

On the Theo van Gogh murder: F&S don't visit Amsterdam that often - "Whoa!" "That was fast!"

posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:38 PM on August 4, 2006

Any comic that invokes Gödel's incompleteness theorem gets the thumbs up from me.
posted by mullingitover at 12:41 PM on August 4, 2006

Yeah, I actually like this. Must be my dutch blood.
posted by Eekacat at 12:49 PM on August 4, 2006

Ha! Penis!
posted by ba at 1:04 PM on August 4, 2006

"When used as a verb in informal Dutch, 'Fokke' and 'Sukke' mean something like aggravating someone, or yanking someones chain."

Is this true, gnfti? It just seems really unlikely to me that they weren't goofing on a lewd English phrase, but then I don't speak Dutch. And if it's not true, why the coy denials? Anyone who's going to like this cartoon won't be offended by the original title.

Anyway, I thought they were pretty funny. Thanks.
posted by maryh at 1:18 PM on August 4, 2006

Goodnews, your translations are great! I would have been tempted to translate them literally, but you've kept the essence of the (frat-like) comics. ("Beer o'clock" works much better than "time for a beer". It's that subtle difference between "bier" and "biertje" that's hard to translate. Thumbs up!)
posted by easternblot at 1:19 PM on August 4, 2006

It just seems really unlikely to me that they weren't goofing on a lewd English phrase, but then I don't speak Dutch. And if it's not true, why the coy denials? Anyone who's going to like this cartoon won't be offended by the original title.

It's complicated, but in short I can say that I don't agree with the explanation you quoted. Basically, "fokken" [FOCK-uh] (the n is silent in many dialects) used as a verb is indeed used in the "yank someone's chain" sense, often with a component of jest, as in English "to rib (someone)". I am not sure about the etymology, but I have always assumed that this (slangy) sense itself derived from the English expletive. I might be wrong on that; also compare the other sense of the word, "to breed (animals)", which as you can see might very possibly be etymologically related to the English word.

However, as an explanation for F&S's names this all seems rather tenuous to me. To start with, I am not aware of the existence of a word in Dutch "sukke(n)", be it slang or not. (Aside from perhaps slang "sucken" as a backformation of the English "to suck" in its dismissive sense, i.e. "that sucks". But I digress.)

As far as I can tell, I believe they are originally Frisian boys names (Fokke is, at least), and the cartoon names are almost definitely a pun on two widely understood English words. Imagining a reason for the forcibly pc denial is beyond me.

And thanks, easternblot! The difference between "bier" and "biertje" indeed is one that transcends matters of mere diminutive, a fact to which my liver can attest. ;)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:44 PM on August 4, 2006

"sucken" as a backformation of the English "to suck"

Um, strictly speaking it is not a back-formation, but you catch my drift.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:48 PM on August 4, 2006

I'd almost forget: the official daily F&S (in Dutch).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:02 PM on August 4, 2006

Thanks for the explanation, gnfti. I hope they reconsider the new name.
posted by maryh at 2:04 PM on August 4, 2006

These guys are excellent! They kept me laughing all the way through the Netherlands.
posted by OmieWise at 5:56 PM on August 4, 2006

You are proof that the number of a comments in a thread is inversely proportional to the quality of the post.
posted by absalom at 7:41 PM on August 4, 2006

That's a good idea: translate these for our fellow-mefites.
Surely this will win you 30$.

I'm curious as to wether this would do well in the US. I'd imagine this to be too much rooted in the dutch provocation-as-the-norm culture that got Theo van Gogh killed.

Anybody outraged here?

posted by jouke at 8:03 PM on August 4, 2006

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