I am absolutely certain that I’m not the only person who, as a child learning French at high school, looked up and immediately learned the swears.
As a side note, I have no idea why we had French-English dictionaries in school that had swear words, but we found out how to cuss each other more or less straight away.
So if that’s the prerogative of English kids learning French, then it stands to reason that French kids learning English probably have a similar inclination. I am confident, in fact, that half the people on the planet know at least one English swear. Probably “shit” or “fuck,” since those tend to be the most common in movies and music.
Equally, I assume that most countries have rules against broadcasting bad language on the radio or TV, at least limiting it to late night.
European radio stations seem to have found a loophole though. It amounts to them pretending they don’t recognise bad language if it’s in English, even though of course they do.
Which is how I found myself, on a Sunday lunchtime, listening to Corsican/French hip-hop/RnB radio station Skyrock 97.2, as they played the definitely-not-the-radio-edit version of Niggas In Paris. I’ve been back and forth in my mind as to whether I should even type the name of the track here without self-censoring with a bunch of stars like they do on YouTube (hell, Radio 1 here in the UK just calls it “Paris” to avoid this issue). In the end I decided to use the track’s full name on the grounds that you all know what the word is, I’m just repeating the name that Jay and Kanye gave it, I clearly do not mean it as any kind of slur, and saying “N-words In Paris” would be fucking stupid. But I still feel pretty uncomfortable putting that up here.
Skyrock 97.2 though? Not only did they play the unedited version of the track, but the DJ (definitely not a black guy BTW) just up and said the name of it like NBD.
They know. THEY KNOW.
How can they not know?
But clearly the whole “Oh yeah, it’s a foreign language, is that offensive?” trick is some strong magic.
Shit, one of their station idents, I kid you not, has a guy with an American accent quite clearly and distinctly saying “What the fuck?” They were playing that on a Sunday lunchtime too.
On the one hand, this is all a bit Wrong, isn’t it? On the other hand, I am a grown adult, I can hear swearing without fainting, and I would loathe myself if I ever discriminated against a person for a reason as patently bullshit as skin colour (or gender, or sexuality, for that matter) or used language to insult them that has historically been used to oppress them.
Is it OK to listen to someone use such language if they quite obviously don’t intend to offend, and are culturally quite separate from anyone who might be offended?
I suggest you take a listen (if they’re not playing Nicki Minaj when you start listening, give it half an hour - in the time I’ve been typing this blog entry, they’ve played three of her tracks). My name is Seej, it’s five days since I last tumblrd, and I’m genuinely interested in your opinions.
If a radio station is doing nothing other than celebrating music of black origin, can it still inadvertently be racist?
I should add, by the way, that three days in Italy ruins your ability to use a zebra crossing normally. I was in Corsica (which is French) next, then Menorca (Spanish) and over and over I’d come to a crossing, traffic would stop exactly as you’d expect it to in a sane country, and I’d nervously stand there at the side of the road like an idiot, unsure if they’d stopped for me or just to look at their hair in the mirror, half expecting these perfectly civilised drivers to try to run me down as soon as I stepped into the road.
Though these other countries may have the same Mediterranean appearance to Italy, and may even seem culturally quite similar, on this matter their behaviour diverges wildly, thank goodness.
I wish I could have said, when I swam out past everyone else, where it was too deep to stand, in the refreshingly cold water in Propriano bay, that I began to form an idea, but that would be a lie.
I had in fact formed the idea several hours earlier, lying in my bunk, thinking about how to impress a girl, when the thought that I was thinking spontaneously turned inside out in my head, inverted itself, and became the seed of a rapidly growing crystal of a new idea.
Floating there though, in that cold water, I could revisit the idea and poke at it. It has gobbled up lots of other little ideas I have had, becoming something substantial and strange. And when I get my headmeat back in the internet, I’m gonna point it at someone. This will be fun.
My name is Seej, and I haven’t tumblrd for five days.
Introduced in the mid-1950s, the Coléoptère (French for “beetle”) was one of many experimental aircrafts in history designed to take off and land vertically. According to Smithsonian Air & Space, the Coléoptère designer Helmut von Zborowski’s idea was for “an annular, or doughnut-shaped, wing surrounding a fuselage and serving ‘as power plant, airframe of a flying wing aircraft and drag-reducing housing. By injecting fuel into the gap between wing and fuselage, Zborowski theorized, he could turn his wing into a ramjet engine, and his aircraft into a supersonic interceptor.” Apparently, it managed to take off and hover for a bit but horizontal flight proved to be quite a challenge. Still, it was quite an attention-grabber, even making it into the comic Tintin.
This thing is FUCKING AWESOME. ”Oh yeah, I’ll just make an aeroplane with a circular wing, VTOL-capable, and shit, maybe if we discharge fuel into the turbine like an afterburner it’ll work as a ramjet. Now pass moi another Gitane.”
During the Hundred Years’ War and many other conflicts between England and France in the Middle Ages, the French came to call the English (and especially their infantry) les goddamns or les goddams after their frequent expletives.
HADOPI is the French body responsible for disconnecting internet users who have downloaded stuff without paying.
They’re kind of hard-asses, from what I hear. And yet even theyhave concluded that the people who get the most stuff online without paying are the exact same people who also get the most stuff that they do pay for.
Yup, even though it’s in their interest to be biased against these people, HADOPI still concluded the same thing as every other study that’s ever been done on the subject.
When copyright holders pursue people who violate copyright, they’re pursuing and persecuting their biggest customers.
Good business plan, guys. How’s that working out for you?
Here’s Jessy Matador with Alllez Olla Olé. A Eurovision special for your Friday Heater. France is weird when it comes to Eurovision. Last year they had some glum bird warbling an entirely depressing thing. The year before (I think) they had Sebastien Tellier in a golf cart doing some electro. The only constant is that THEY WILL ONLY SING IN FRENCH (every other country knows that English is the true language of Europe, and is happy to sing in it from time to time).
I quite like this track though. God help me, I quite want it to do well.
It won’t of course, because it’s in French.
Though it will probably do better than the UK entry because it’s quite fun. The UK entry is not fun. The UK entry is not representative of the music scene here in the UK. The UK entry is shit. I can’t stress this enough; the UK entry is shit shit shit.
At the semi-finals last night, Pete Waterman was interviewed. He’s the guy who wrote the UK entry. He is the guy who co-wrote Never Gonna Give You Up, so he used to know a whole fuckload about making a good pop song (that is definitely not his only good one BTW - google his old writing team of Stock, Aitken and Waterman for more info). But when they asked him about the Dutch entry he said he thought it was good. It was not good. It was shit, and didn’t make it past the vote and into the final.
A MAN WHO CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SOLID GOLD POP SONG AND A TOTAL PIECE OF CRAP WROTE THE UK ENTRY!!!!!! THAT IS HOW BADLY WE WILL LOSE THIS YEAR!!!!!!!
Never mind, let’s click reply and watch the French entry again. I like it.
Due to time constraints it may not be possible to respond to your email. All messages are read, printed off, then eaten. Om nom nom.
® iTunes and the iTunes logo are registered trademarks of iTunes, Inc. ®
7digital and the 7digital logo are registered trademarks of 7digital, Inc. ® Bandcamp
and the Bandcamp logo are registered trademarks of Bandcamp, Inc. ® MySpace and the
MySpace logo are registered trademarks of MySpace, Inc. ® Twitter and the Twitter
logo are registered trademarks of Twitter, Inc. ® Soundcloud and the Soundcloud logo are registered trademarks of Soundcloud, Inc. ® FriendFeed and the FriendFeed logo
are registered trademarks of FriendFeed, Inc. ® YouTube and the YouTube logo are
registered trademarks of YouTube, Inc. ® Facebook and the Facebook logo are registered
trademarks of Facebook, Inc. ® Bebo and the Bebo logo are registered trademarks of