You’ve probably heard the story of JFK embarrassing himself in front of a bunch of Germans by claiming, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” which, people say, means, “I am a jelly donut.” Cracked points out that this isn’t true. In reality, Kennedy’s phrase was grammatically correct.
There’s also the fact that people who are actually from Berlin don’t call that particular pastry a Berliner, since that would turn every day of their lives into an Abbott and Costello routine.
So why have smug people been making this claim for the past 20 years? The earliest reference anyone’s been able to come up with is the 1983 spy novel Berlin Game. A fictional character claims that Kennedy said he was a doughnut. In reviewing the novel, The New York Times treated it as a reference to an amusing fact, rather than a reference to a completely made-up fact, and to this day, you can’t say “Ich bin ein Berliner” in a room full of educated people without having them shout something about a jelly doughnut at you.
Full story at Cracked
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