Lost In Translation


When it comes to just about everything in french class, I usually make an executive decision to do it later, partially because my ability to postpone anything has gotten completely out of hand, but mostly because the entire course is a waste of my time alive.

I could be saving small children from house fires, or rescuing cats from trees, or helping the national budget crisis.

I think on CNN, they keep a running tally of how long it’s been since we’ve been a AAA rated country. I think we’re at day 580 – or something to that effect. Frankly I’d stop counting after day 10 or 11. Now it’s just plain sad. Let’s face the fact that we might not ever see those days ever again, also let’s face the fact that we might not have Saturday mail service. Don’t be outraged. You weren’t sending anyone any letters. Be honest.

I could probably deal with the crisis If I wasn’t busy completing these downright meaningless and repetitive french assignments.

I totally understand that the workbook wants the assignments to be as applicable to real life as possible, but sometimes the prompts are just downright invasive.

One prompt read, and I quote:

You are sitting in a cafe in Paris while you overhear a conversation between Olivier and Antoinette. Olivier believes that men are superior to women. Antoinette believes that women are equal to men. Use adjectives and negate the verb ‘etre’ to fill in the blanks.

Hmmmm. Okay.

I’m in Paris France?

Why do I care what these complete strangers are talking about? I should be shopping or uploading stuff to my instagram relentlessly. I could honestly care less about Oliviers’ male chauvinism. IM IN PARIS!!!


*que Kanye West*

Secondly, what was the significance of naming these hypothetical people  If I were to eavesdrop on strangers, I probably wouldn’t be particularly moved by their names. Oh-the-less in a completely hypothetical situation.

Lastly, shouldn’t I be fighting sexist driven injustice instead of merely translating it? Translating the entire conversation is to nobody’s benefit. When do I jump in an correct Olivier’s super-outdated way of thinking? Which verb ends discrimination? If olivier gets carried away and hits Antoinette, how do I start a calculated riot.

I know this is french class, but I’m still a black american, and we specialize in calculated riots that typically end in overlooked police brutality.

Perhaps an entry level french student attempting to complete his mandatory foreign langage requirements will have to translate my discussion with a parole officer.

The student wouldn’t be required to put up bail money.

Just translate.


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