Tuesday, December 15, 2009

About Those Baseball Caps ...

La secrétaire d'Etat chargée de la famille et de la solidarité, Nadine Morano, a déclaré, lundi soir 14 décembre, vouloir du jeune musulman français "qu'il ne parle pas verlan", lors d'un débat sur l'identité nationale à Charmes (Vosges). "Moi, ce que je veux du jeune musulman, quand il est français, c'est qu'il aime son pays, c'est qu'il trouve un travail, c'est qu'il ne parle pas le verlan, qu'il ne mette pas sa casquette à l'envers", a expliqué la secrétaire d'Etat à un jeune homme qui l'interrogeait sur la compatibilité de l'islam avec la République.

Yeah, Nadine, I hear where you're coming from. It annoys me, too, when I see young guys wearing baseball caps backwards. Of course most of them, in this part of the world, are native-born Americans who can probably trace their ancestors back to the Mayflower, for all I know, so I'm not sure what this has to do with le jeune musulman français, but I can assure you that even if all the young Muslim men in France started wearing berets tomorrow, you'd still have a problem with high unemployment in the banlieues, crime, deteriorating housing, high dropout rates, etc. You see, that cap is a sign, the verlan is a sign, the lack of a job is a sign--and signs are not causes. For causes, you have to look a little deeper. I would nominate you for the political connerie of the year prize, but I know that you've taken to suing people who make negative comments about your intelligence on the Web, so I've got to be careful.


Passerby said...


Of course these kids looks absolutely ridiculous, but teen-fashion is all about making adults ashamed their own teenage pictures.

As for verlan, eventhough it is indeed popular among rap fans it's usage exploded thanks to the "blousons noirs" in the Seventies. A suburban-speak for sure, already part of French culture that these "jeunes" have made their.

I was going to conclude on "Portnin'oik, y'a pas qu'les reubeu d'la téssi pour lerpa le verlan". But more toward my point, decades ago Renaud would have said: laisse-béton Nadine.

kirkmc said...

Every French kid learns verlan; for my son, it was when he was around ten or so.

As for the baseball caps, that reminds me of a great line in an episode of The Wire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Due_Respect_(The_Wire_episode)):

"Thomas "Herc" Hauk and Ellis Carver cruise the Western district, antagonizing the corner kids. Herc calls over Justin, one of Marlo's dealers, to ask him where he might purchase a baseball cap with a sideways brim. Justin tells him it's a regular cap worn sideways; it's unclear who is humoring who."

MYOS said...

The other day, with 13to 16 year olds seeing images of teens in the 70s "Didn't they feel ridiculous? Man I'd be ashamed to walk around dressed like that."
I replied "I can already hear your kid 'Man, I'd be ashamed walking around with my underwear showing from under my pants". They all laughed.

More on the "Identity" debate:

Anonymous said...

haha. that's what an old fart would say: "ya young whippersnapper, put yur cap on straight or I'll give ya whatfur. *hack* *spit*!"

Chris P.

MYOS said...

Nadine thinks she's the hot new thing in the UMP, though - look at her dance moves! :)

Anonymous said...

Are you making excuses? The charter schools here in New York City teach students to speak well, and they require students to wear uniforms. Those students appear to graduate better-educated and better-prepared than students who excuse themselves because they live in deteriorating housing, among other students who drop out of school. Does looking a little deeper provide additional information about the conditions for success?