Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ah, Le Monde!

Certain of my friends don't take Le Monde seriously. "Le Monde? It's so parochial that I am reminded of a daily paper in Omaha, Nebraska," says one distinguished colleague. But I retain my affection for the French newspaper of record. I am especially fond of its chaste explanations of the American enigma to its Gallic clientele:

Anthony Weiner - son nom se prononce en anglais de la même façon que les saucisses utilisées dans les hot-dogs, et il est utilisé en argot comme un synonyme de pénis - est la cible de nombreuses plaisanteries dans les médias américains depuis la révélation de l'affaire.
What could be more delicious than that? Perhaps the demonstration for the broadcast media of a surefire way to avoid the CSA's recent edict (NYT paywall) against pronouncing the names of Facebook and Twitter on the air: bury the references in a direct quote:

L'élu a précisé qu'il avait eu "plusieurs conversations pas convenables sur Twitter, Facebook, par courriel et occasionnellement au téléphone avec des femmes rencontrées en ligne".


TexExile said...

The Facebook/Twitter decree brings back memories of Watergate, when Senator Sam Ervin had to be admonished by the Xerox Corporation for his indiscriminate use of 'xerox' as a synonym for 'photocopy' (whether as noun or verb). I never understood this -- it was great publicity for Xerox. One would have expected Canon to protest, not Xerox!

Senator Sam managed at one point to go an entire day without slipping up and using the forbidden 'x' word. Then again, the unabridged Random House dictionary had by that time included 'xerox' (with a lower-case initial 'x') as a synonym for photocopy for nearly a decade.

Arthur Goldhammer said...

I believe it's a legal thing, Tex. If you don't defend your registered trademark, it enters the public domain. Even if it's in the dictionary as a common verb, as long as Xerox lawyers dutifully send out warnings to abusers, nobody can challenge Xerox's trademark in court, and Canon can't introduce the Canon Super-Xeroxer 1000.

Alex Price said...

I can’t judge whether the quality of Le Monde has declined, as its critics charge. But as someone whose primary access to the paper has been over the Web for the last ten years and who was an online subscriber for five or six, I regret the poor quality of its site. Though it seems marginally better now than a few years ago, Le Monde’s Web site remains the ugliest, least user-friendly, and, simply, most annoying site of any major newspaper I’m familiar with. This is no doubt partly a function of money; it takes a lot to produce a really good site, and Le Monde is not exactly awash in cash. But I suspect it also reflect poor design decisions and (from my perspective at least) misplaced priorities.

Cincinna said...

Le Monde explaining America to the French is always good for a giggle.
Weiner-Gate has blown DSK off the front page headlines. This is far from over, but Weiner is done. When the whole story comes out, perhaps even the French will be shocked.
Dem Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has thrown Weiner under the bus.
When a member of Congress uses Facebook & Twitter fot pornographic purposes he exposes himself to ridicule, not to mention blackmail.

Elizabeth said...

No one can beat the the Le Monde at delicate circumlocutions. I thoroughly enjoyed the piece of 25 May about police reports on politicians' private lifes. One such note describes the police finding DSK in a 'fâcheuse posture' during a 'rencontre tarifé'. That's way far from the COPS BUST POL WITH HOOKER we'd read our side of the pond.

Cincinna said...

@Art ALL:
The NYT is not behind a paywall. I just clicked on your link and accessed the article. To access articles, you have to register at the NYT and create an account. It is free.

Arthur Goldhammer said...

You only get 20 free articles per month. A reader asked me to indicate links to the NYT so that he wouldn't exceed his limit.