Russo’s faux pas

Rico Gagliano Nov 30, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Russo’s faux pas

Rico Gagliano Nov 30, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: This week, Patricia Russo becomes the only American CEO of a blue-chip French company, the telecom firm Alcatel. But the French already have a beef with her: Russo says she won’t be learning their language. In France, that’s kinda like saying you enjoy kicking puppies. We now present The Marketplace Players:

FRENCHMAN: Mademoiselle Russo!

RUSSO: BOHN-jer.

FRENCHMAN: Stop talking. Now, you are here to learn how not to anger ze French, oui? So you can — how do you say? — “Stop kicking your foot inside of your mouth.”

RUSSO: Yes.

FRENCHMAN: Bon. First we do word association. Par example: I say “Jerry Lewis” and you say?

RUSSO: Idiot.

FRENCHMAN: Non! In France you say “genius.”

RUSSO: Why?

FRENCHMAN: Madame, we do not have all week to explain such things! Jerry Lewis?

RUSSO: Genius.

FRENCHMAN: Bon. McDonald’s.

RUSSO: Uh, french fries.

FRENCHMAN: Non — you say “Hell hole.” Iraq?

RUSSO: Quagmire.

FRENCHMAN: Ah! On this we agree. Maginot Line?

RUSSO: World War T–

FRENCHMAN: Non! If someone says “Maginot Line,” you say nothing.

RUSSO: Ah.

FRENCHMAN: Maginot Line.

[ LONG SILENCE ]

FRENCHMAN: Bon! You are a quick pupil. Come back tomorrow, we learn more.

RUSSO: Thank you, Jay-queeze.

FRENCHMAN: Jacques.

RUSSO: Mm. One last thing: How do I say, “I don’t like wine, I’d prefer a Coca-Cola?”

FRENCHMAN: Ah you say. “Pardonnez-moi, je suis un chien Americain. Je ne comprends pas rien.”

[ Translation: Forgive me, I’m an American dog, I don’t understand anything. ]

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.