California Governor denies sending cryptic four-letter rebuke to rival
As an action hero, his catchphrases ranged from “hasta la vista” to “I’ll be back”. As a cigar-chomping legislator he branded “gutless” opponents “girlie men”. Now Arnold Schwarzenegger has expanded his political lexicon into the time-honoured realm of bar-room vulgarity.
The California governor yesterday found himself attempting to play down the revelation that a blunt email he sent to one of San Francisco’s Democratic Assemblymen contained what US news bulletins have somewhat prudishly described as an “X-rated rebuke”.
At first sight, the message that Mr Schwarzenegger sent to Tom Ammiano, explaining why he’d vetoed a boring bill about financing the city’s port, seems straightforward enough. It begins “for some time now”, and concludes: “I believe it is unnecessary to sign this measure at this time.” However, a vertical reading of the first left-hand letter in each of the seven lines of the main body of the email suggests that the former Kindergarten Cop actor, who is due to leave office next year, was passing on an altogether less statesmanlike message. It reads: “F-U-C-K-Y-O-U.”
The Governor’s press secretary, Aaron McLear, insisted yesterday that it was simply a “weird coincidence” that the email had acrostically spelled out an obscenity. He claimed that the sheer volume of the vetoes that Mr Schwarzenegger has been forced to pass in recent years meant “something like this was bound to happen”.
In recent months, Mr McLear noted, the left-hand margin of the Governor’s veto emails has spelled out such harmless words as “poet” and “soap”. That’s as may be. But the claim met with a healthy dose of scepticism: the words cited by McLear are four letters long, a length relatively likely to crop up at random. The mathematical probability of the seven-letter phrase “fuck you” doing the same is 26 to the power of seven ”“ or about 8,031,810,176 ”“ to one.