Thursday, August 2, 2007

Cries and Whispers

The PS isn't the only party riven by internal dissension. Victory can be as disruptive as defeat. Complaints are being heard at the National Assembly about the way Jean-François Copé is running the UMP group. Copé, who had hoped for a ministry of his own, has assuaged his disappointment by adopting a ministerial, not to say autocratic, style in his relations with the party's lesser fry.

Meanwhile, Arnaud Montebourg gripes that the readiness of certain unnamed politicians to expose their private lives in pursuit of power has encouraged certain media, also unnamed, to "blackmail" unwilling politicians into giving up the spouse and kids as hostages if they want publicity for their pet projects. Attacking the pipolisation of the news seems to be yet another way of remaining among le people politique.

Note to the Académie Française: you Immortals would perform a real service to the French language if you ruled pipolisation a Franglais barbarism punishable by death. It should be banished along with la top model and le building de grand standing.


gregory brown said...

Art, you're certainly entitled to your opinion, and I'm a great admirer of your translations, but whats the basis for being more Catholic than the Pope on language? Its a living thing, and the conception of a "civilized" rather than "barbaric" French, enforced by a politically sponsored intellectual elite, was something of a construction even in the 17th century, let alone today.

Especially for a guy with your social-liberal views, I can't see why a "nanny state" politique de la langue would appeal.

Or are you being ironic and I'm missing it?

Unknown said...

I guess I didn't make my point clear enough. I don't object o the living language, slang, evolution, or even borrowing from English. What I don't like is the use of (bizarre) Anglicisms to convey a certain hipness. Do the French who say "pipolisation" know what "People" magazine connotes, or how downscale it is? Does "grand standing" mean anything in English? Are "top models" "supermodels" who are also "top," pronounced with a French accent? It's the phoniness I object to. If language is used to "fight the power," so be it.

And is "social liberal" supposed to be an insult? Sort of "wet lib-lab?"

Unknown said...

Anyway, curmudgeonly as I am, I can hardly outdo the real authorities:

gregory brown said...

Social liberal is not at all an insult, my good man. Its the term Strauss-Kahn himself and others of his tendency have used to describe where they think the Socialists ought to go. I meant it as a technical term and by no means an insult.

"Grand standing" I'm pretty sure derives from 18th-century English, to refer to speeches given to the "grand stands" (ie, cheap seats).

As for "top model," I've not thought about it a lot but I presume its the repetition of the short o sound thats appealing.

As for "pipolisation," I guess it sounds better than "Paris-Matchisation" ?

I recall in the late 80s going into a FNAC and seeing a sign advertising "balladeurs", and wondering if it was a gathering place for supporters of Chirac's finance minister. I figured it out when I approached the counter right under the sign and heard a young French customer was asking the salesperson to be directed to the display of "les walkman".

Unknown said...

Nothing against "Walkman." That's what it is. But why does Diet Coke become Coca Lite? Mystère. All right. I'm off my linguistic soapbox. (Descendu de mon cheval de bataille linguistique?)