I translated it from the French so you wouldn’t have to (though in this case it probably wasn’t really necessary)

Trebuchet

“Trébuchet” is simply French for “catapult.”

But is there an actual joke here other than making fun of pretentious new restaurants? And more importantly, do they have a team of Heimlich experts on staff?

22 Comments

  1. Going to a fancy restaurant and ending up feeding you date by catapulting bites of food directly into his/her mouth is mildly amusing. I didn’t laugh, but I did smile.

  2. I suggest as their slogan “Trébuchet’s — The Food Here Will Make You Want to Hurl.”

  3. I have an incomplete memory of some segment of Internet nerd culture making a big deal of the distinct configurations (as they saw it) that would distinguish a catapult and a trebuchet. This may have been connected with a TV show that had people flinging objects with one or the other — maybe “Northern Exposure” among fiction programs, or “Myth Busters” among … something-or-other.

    I never fully absorbed the specifics of the claimed distinction, but it maybe had to do with a completely different path for the counterweight and the payload. Or perhaps just use of a counterweight at all versus propulsion by elastic or twisted fabric.

  4. Yeah, Mitch is right. They aren’t the same thing, though they serve essentially the same function. A trebuchet uses a counterweight, while a catapult uses tension. Points to Blazek, though, for actually drawing trebuchets, rather than the standard cartoon catapult.

    Could there be something here with pronouncing trebuchet in a French fashion sounding like it contains “chez”, which is a common element in the names of French restaurants?

  5. Yes, there is a difference between a trebuchet and a catapult, and no, it isn’t really important.

    A trebuchet can be built on any scale, and there are hobbyists who build them big enough to fling cars. A Youtube search should reveal plenty of examples.

    In the meantime, there’s Mythbusters

  6. “Points to Blazek, though, for actually drawing trebuchets, rather than the standard cartoon catapult.”

    Actually, I think it would have been better with catapults instead of trebuchets… the restaurant (inaccurately) choosing the more pretentious French word over the mundane English word works as a commentary. You can charge more for le poisson with pommes frites, too.

  7. Actually Bill, since “catapult” comes from the middle French and entered English around the 16th century, and “trebuchet” comes from old French and entered English back when it was Middle English, the “recent” pretentious “foreign” word in need of translation would be “catapult”…
    (Note the restaurant missed an opportunity for pretension and did not include the accent aigu.)

  8. “shouldn’t its name be written backwards on the window?”

    That’s the back wall, not the front window.

  9. Hmmm. I still see it as a window. Anyway, the name has an apostrophe; does one assume that is someone’s name? Bonjour, Monsieur Trébouchet, comment-allez vous . . .

  10. If it were a window, you’d be able to see through it to whatever’s on the other side.

  11. @ MiB – That restaurant article is mildly amusing, but it needs a NSFW tag for repetitive and utterly superfluous profanity. I thought “Cracked” was a magazine, but apparently they don’t bother with editors.

  12. Cracked WAS a magazine, and then 9/11, and then the anthrax attack that shut down their building and put them out of business for five years, and then they revived the brand as a web site.

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