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07|02|2008 12:14 am EDT

“Learn to Speak Better English!” He Yelled

by G Paris in Categories: Featured

Incident in Paris Highlights Domainer Attitudes

Domain Name News’ award winning Senior Entertainment Analyst G. is back again with a new story. This time G. reports back from the recent Paris Domainer Meeting.

The second I heard it my eyes closed while their lids popped clean open, alert and ready to pummel. This was the wrong thing to say in an already bad situation, in the worst part of Paris, no not Texas, Paris, France via the DomainerMeeting.

But the incident helped to underscore and dramatize some of prevalent feelings amongst domainers today – attitudes I glimpsed and grimaced at and enjoyed in the City of Light.

We seem a bit lost and angry, wondering why and how we stumbled into a bad area where we might get harassed or worse.

DomainerMeeting

Like all domain events these days, this was about ‘the people’, the interaction amongst us. True, domainers like to party, but we also like to talk business while we dance and chill and grow together. Many a friendship is based in this industry.

EuroDNS put on a fine ‘interaction’ event in a gorgeous and noble city inhabited by the biggest rat bastards on the planet.

‘Hospitality’ is not a French word, and apparently neither is ‘deodorant’. DomainSponsor put on a great fiesta in a club next to the Louvre – marred slightly by the ungodly smell of B.O. that accompanied the Frenchman who entered our party at midnight.

I kid you negative, I lost many a nose hair in that joint, made me question their new smoking ban.

Walking Paris

“Its right over there,” she said, pointing out, as if Paris were a wee bitty city…of eleven million. “We’re in Paris, let’s walk! It’ll be fun!”

So being the gentlemen I am, I indulged the girls as they pulled out their large paper map to plot our course back to the Le Meridien after the party at LeClub. Granted, it was four a.m., but I indulged.

So we walked…in the complete opposite direction (North instead of South) for the next one and half hours and into the worst area. In that time I began to notice fewer cars, less tourists and lots of homeless laying around in large groups…for protection? Wtf? We were not in a good area.

I gripped my belt buckle tightly – as I tend to do when I get lost in a foreign metropolis and just tried to keep them all moving – “taxi!”

Instructions, Si Vous Plait?
The smell of the French body aside, the food was a terrific mixed of quality and fresh ingredients – the western Europeans in Italy, France and Spain do it well. I think all enjoyed the fare whether it a fine French restaurant or late-night crepe vendor.

Still, I never understood the bidet; it had an oddly-placed metal bar on the wall above it, making us all wonder which way we were actually supposed to point our undercarriage.

At least it didn’t smell or insult or abuse me like the people, actually made an excellent ashtray.

French Prisons Are No Fun

“Don’t touch my girlfriend!” was the first thing I heard. I turned and saw two large individuals jawing with my friend, my young and naïve domainer buddy.

I stepped immediately in front of him and did my best to quell the situation, knowing full well a fight by an American in a French city meant jail time…in France.

Regardless, I could feel the smaller one as I held him back – he was stacked, like a pit bull in a coat. And again, he was smaller, much smaller than the other.

The Highlights

To get to the conference and hotel, I took a moto-taxi from the airport, one of the true highlights. My driver put a helmet and jacket, gloves and pants on me and sped right down the middle of morning rush-hour. I was terrified and thrilled. He was my favorite Frenchman, even though he was really Tunisian.

The other highlight was a victory by Turkey over Croatia in futbol in the EuroCup. All the Turks in Paris rushed to the Champs’ Elysees with their red flags and jerseys and flares, running up and down the crowded, honking street. It was quite a sight, quite a party.

Ugly American

And then he said it. He had to say it – “Why don’t you learn to speak better English?”

Seriously, their eyes popped, their pupils dilated, I think I actually saw ‘fire in the eyes.’ The smaller one turned to me and said plainly, “Dis is about du get violent.”

And so I did what I tend to do when I get lost in a foreign metropolis, I grabbed and pulled my buckle out so he could see it.

You see, I do that in L.A. and New York and they shoot me down with a GAT but in France or Holland or London, my large, stainless steel Kenneth Cole buckle can be quite a…deterrent, oui?

And so it was, again, my best friend in a time of need. As soon as ‘Little Tyson’ saw it, he decided that it may not ‘get violent’ and he and his buddy walked away…with apologies. As did I, the best outcome is always level-headedness, in any country.

But trust me, you really don’t want to get hit with this buckle, it’s like a solid gold bar on a fat leather strap. Sure, you might win the fight but you’ll lose quite a bit in the process…

Domaining is No Walk in the Park

Domaining is a tough business at the moment, reflected in attitudes at the conference and accentuated, summarized by our difficulty in finding our way home that night. We are a bit angry, like our young friend, and maybe ready to throw a punch or two. We are frustrated that the outside world does not speak our language, see our true worth.

Because really, domaining used to be a walk, an easy skip through the lovely streets of Paris…then the homeless started showing up and some began harassing us – and let’s face it, the neighborhood is not as good as it used to be.

In truth, the reality is likely not as bad as domainers believe (especially in June) but who knows, it might actually be a good time to go out and get a Kenneth Cole belt too – both literally and figuratively.

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23 Comments

Acroplex

July 2, 2008 @ 2:30 am EDT

Great writing. But you needed some French wine to go past the B.O. (armpits, or elswhere?). The worst body odor I ever witnessed came from a New Zealand girl backpacker. Ewww. Mon ami, France is beautiful. Let go of your buckle and enjoy a deep plate of bouillanaisse. Life is too short to be clean-cut and dry.

Julia

July 2, 2008 @ 6:59 am EDT

Oh, our American cousins, don’t you just love em sometimes…

Interesting post.

Im not sure whether the focus was on domaining, the conference or the “oh so tough” Kenneth Cole buckle incident.

This kind of attitude always exasperates though never surprises me. I don’t know why some US citizens feel the need to have a John Wayne style “I simply grabbed the nearest bicycle pump and the baying mob with the Molotov cocktails walked away” incident to report after visiting somewhere in Europe.

Then there’s the 2 world wars, “Yeah, we sure helped you guys out back there… Yee Hawwww…. USA, USA, USA..”… Sigh. Incidentally, a topic we, in Europe, cast the “who beat who” bit into the eons of time a generation or two back.

The way to embrace a culture is to adopt it rather than impose your own on them. And simply speaking English in a louder voice doesn’t constitute embracing another’s culture.

The truth is, every city, every town, every country and every collective group has both good and bad people, good and bad areas and problems on various social levels. You certainly don’t become tough simply because you are born of a particular nation/race/gender/breed or because you have Kenneth Cole buckle.

I’m sure you would’ve had a better reception from the French if you’d have learnt a bit of pigeon French, been open, not rammed the fact that you were American down their throats and been genuinely interested in them..

Actually, it is the French were talking about here, so you probably wouldn’t have.. LOL

G.

July 2, 2008 @ 12:39 pm EDT

“I’m sure you would’ve had a better reception from the French if you’d have learnt a bit of pigeon French, been open, not rammed the fact that you were American down their throats and been genuinely interested in them..”

I know a good deal of French, am fluent in Spanish and Italian and have travelled the world over. I embrace all cultures – in this case I read two guide books and Margaret MacMillan’s terrific book, Paris 1919 plus brushed up on my French before going. Never do I shove my ‘American-ness’ down anyone’s throat, largely because I’m Hispanic and not white.

Your post makes a lot of assumptions and meanders into the usual damnation of Americans – something afflicting the French as well.

I made every effort to be courteous, polite and cultured – but those people have such a superiority complex that it doesn’t matter. The way they treated us was abusive, to the point of being malicious.

In the end it was clear, they feel that we are not worth their service, we have to earn the right to eat or drink or take a cab.

None of the ‘Americans’ acted out until the third or fourth day – French actions brought out the ugliness, it was too much, the whole country needs a bitch-slap.

thanks_for_the_lecture

July 2, 2008 @ 1:17 pm EDT

“The way to embrace a culture is to adopt it rather than impose your own on them. And simply speaking English in a louder voice doesn

Tommy Butler

July 2, 2008 @ 1:25 pm EDT

What can I say
I had a fantastic time in Paris the people where very friendly and the food was ok.
for you to post “EuroDNS put on a fine

G.

July 2, 2008 @ 2:04 pm EDT

Europeans are digging their own graves here, take note. They immediately went to insults and history and language, they are putting there own superiority complex on display for us all.

And don’t know why the English feel they need to defend the French, let them defend themselv—oh wait, sorry.

Again, take note, my article had one real negative (beyond the smell, seriously) about the people and posters have thrown out dozens of American insults.

Hey Europe, lighten up a bit, take that stick out. What can I say, I tried, but only one way to make an old englishman laugh…

…tell him a joke when he’s young.

Cheers…

Julia

July 2, 2008 @ 5:34 pm EDT

Crap really..

The point to anyone with more than a modicum of culture (and i didnt use a thesaurus to write that) is all about being generalistic. If you’d said “this guy was rude, that person was rubbish, everyone i met was annoying” then that would be fine..

Pointing the bigoted, xenophobic finger at an entire nation just because you met half a dozen people who didn’t agree with you is just lame.

And where you get these “dozens of American insults” from is anyones guess. Ive just re-read the entire post and comments and NOTHING comes close to calling an entire city being – “inhabited by the biggest rat bastards on the planet.”

Exactly what awards did you win? I can sure nominate you for a few..

G.

July 2, 2008 @ 5:40 pm EDT

Seriously Julia, I think you should stop. Your point about ‘generalization’ is lost when you generalize me and all Americans out of the other side of your mouth. Spare the preaching and take a hot bath, it is an entertainment piece not the Magna Carta.

Didn’t use a history book for that ;o)

G.

July 2, 2008 @ 5:50 pm EDT

Let me again add that for all the generalizations and assumptions, I am Spanish, born in Mallorca. I’ve lived in the US, Holland, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Puerto Rico and more. I grew up in a very strict and proud Spanish home environment.

Careful the brush you paint me with, likely not nearly broad enough. G.

Conor Neu

July 2, 2008 @ 6:03 pm EDT

In the finance world, I deal with every sort of foreign national, every single day. French banks, German banks, Japanese banks, Chinese banks, Swiss banks, etc. Each bank, understandingly, employs many of their own kind.

The French banks are quite intelligent. They manage risk and price derivatives better than most around. The lend with the truest terms and are generally fair and capitalist in business proceedings.

Yet nobody in the finance world likes to deal with them, because 95% of them are arrogant bastards. It is sad that they give the 5% a bad name, because those 5% are my best of friends. Sharp, friendly, funny, sophisticated, enjoyable. The rest miss a key 2-3 of those traits, primarily friendly and enjoyable.

Julia

July 2, 2008 @ 6:04 pm EDT

Whats where you are from and where you grew up got to do with the price of sugar? A bigot is a bigot no matter how you dress them up (or paint them as it seems in your case)

There are no generalizations and assumptions made by anyone else other than you. You referred to the entire populous of Paris as being a city “inhabited by the biggest rat bastards on the planet.” You also said “

Adam Strong

July 2, 2008 @ 6:43 pm EDT

I always thought G was a lover not a hater.

“Can’t we all just get along” – Rodney King

thanks_for_the_lecture

July 2, 2008 @ 7:04 pm EDT

In 2008, in a city that hasn’t exactly just popped up out of nowhere, is there really any excuse or justification for rampant body odor?

Mak Ossa

July 2, 2008 @ 8:02 pm EDT

The french body-odor man is not logical given the fact that French people make the best frangances, parfums and colognes in the world. And they are pretty cheap over there. The man must be a naturally-made bum

G.

July 2, 2008 @ 9:52 pm EDT

Julia, a bigot? hello? For saying the French aren’t friendly? Wtf? Is this new or are they not known for this worldwide?

Interesting you use the ‘bigot’, a word created by the French as an insult of the Normans. How apropo, thanks!

By definition (a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion), you my dear, are playing yourself off here as a classic bigot. Intolerant of my beliefs, opinions, origin, country and countrymen. King George, that you?

Coffee calling the kettle black. Cream and sugar?

Mak Ossa

July 2, 2008 @ 11:13 pm EDT

G:
I would just tell you to forget these comments. Things that started out as a fun joke seems to have drawn fire because some people do not “have thick skin.” When these folks oversea started taking things personal, G

Alex

July 3, 2008 @ 5:24 pm EDT

Gonna have to agree with G on this one. He tried to tell a story and Julia got her feathers ruffled, told G he should have learned some french and that Americans need to learn that blah blah blah.

Turns out that G isn’t American, speaks some french, has lived all over the world – basically everything Julia wasn’t considering when writing her response to the ugly American (though she never came out and used the term). Ah yes, the sophisticated Europeans have stopped talking about who won the war and who beat who while the classless Americans still talk about saving them. Meanwhile, the classy Europeans attend soccer games where tens of thousands of them together taunt opposing fans and players with clever jokes about the Holocaust and monkeys.

Conor – My wife works for one of said French banks and feels the same way you do. I spent 6 months living with a french family and loved it…go figure.

Brian Benko

July 4, 2008 @ 9:19 am EDT

See this is the stuff I was talking about…. I don’t want to read short stories by some fashionista that has a big belt buckle. I don’t turn on CNBC to have the CEO of Home Depot tell a short story about his last trip to Scotland and somehow relate it to the sour economy.

What I think is more amazing is the number of comments on this particular article. Apparently the DNN readers love drama. This is exactly why so many of us don’t participate on the boards.

Useless posts that stir up drama that pull everyone in…. No matter how hard you try not to post!! LOL

The fiction and drama should be left to TNT. You know… TNT.tv right.. “We know drama” Law & Order… etc;

G.

July 4, 2008 @ 8:18 pm EDT

Lol, Benko calling me a ‘fashionista’ is like a blessing from Ralph Lauren! I owe you a cold one or two for that phenomenal post. Meet me at GameWorks, we’ll ‘work’ it in ’08!

Robin Majumdar

July 7, 2008 @ 3:21 pm EDT

How about posting a picture of that killer belt buckle ?

:)

Michael

July 12, 2008 @ 1:15 am EDT

Well written and interesting post, too bad I couldn’t make it to this one, was in Madrid.

AhmedF

July 13, 2008 @ 11:58 am EDT

This post rates a ‘big yawn’

John

August 15, 2008 @ 10:40 am EDT

This is so ridiculous it’s funny. I couldn’t believe my eyes about the buckle. you know, some people in the 21st century use their brain rather than their muscles to deal with such situations.
The rest was less interesting, it’s more boring to read over and over the same stereotypes.

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