The Future?

When I started becoming active online, I had to come to terms with certain norms. Like the fact that abbreviations were not only acceptable, but sometimes necessary.

Twitter’s 140 character limit, for example, sometimes forces me to substitute “2nite” for “tonight” or “u” for “you” if pressed for space. This is also common text speak.

I try to do this as little as humanly possible, however. Why? Because I die a little inside each time I do.

My writing in French is horrible, though. There’s barely a sentence that’s not riddled with some kind of error.

So I can’t really complain about badly written French.

Still, I saw this ad in a metro station and physically recoiled:

For those requiring translation I think it would read something like this in English:

“I wud like to b a riter cuz I adore writing. Its a reel pasion.” (Shudders).

I hopped on the train, happy to be whisked away from this awful sight.

When I arrived at my stop, though, I was confronted with another ad in the same series:

This one had no spelling mistakes (well, as far as I can tell). Instead the message was:

“Later, I would like to be a physical therapist so I can manipulate men.”

Hmm. I stood looking at this one for awhile, too. What was going on here? I looked at the top and saw it was sponsored by L’Edutiant, a specialist magazine for students. The slogan for the campaign read “young people have a future.”

My question: really?

These ads sure ain’t making me feel good about that future. (Ain’t used only for effect here. Please don’t despair).

I already have enough fears about the future (global warming! financial crises! the Mayan apocalypse! – well, actually not worried about that last one so much). Though intended to be funny, I couldn’t quite get on board with the ads.

But, brush it off. Came home and wrote this post and I fele much beter ; )

(Confession: that last sentence was really hard for me to write).

How about you? How’s the future looking these days? Still excited about the possibilities for this new year?

About these ads

21 Responses to “The Future?”


  1. 1 Jennyphoria January 17, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Ugh, I saw that first ad, too, and cringed. Horrible, horrible. I’m not sure who they’re catering to…. “Look Idiots! Don’t despair. Even you can have a dream! Who cares if you do it well or for the right reasons? There’s something for everyone!”

    Hope your future’s infinitely brighter than the faux girls in these ads.
    xo

  2. 3 Lindsey January 17, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Hahahah I saw these, looked quickly and turned away perplexed. I saw the one for Kiné but I didn’t read it completely. Outrageous! So much wrong with that campaign, glad you put the spotlight on it (and the poor language)!

  3. 5 aidan larson (@conjirregverbs) January 17, 2012 at 11:41 am

    This is so funny and weird and french. i had to share it. I love that you couldn’t help yourself, had to share it, and it made you feel better. That’s the whole reason to have a blog right there.
    happy new year,
    aidan x

  4. 7 Adam January 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    These ads are just a new variety on a theme the magazine has been running for a long time (as well as for various recruitment fairs they organise). The idea behind the campaign – which perhaps isn’t clear enough – is that people should think carefully about the kind of career they might be suited to, and that this magazine will help them to formulate their choices.

    That said, I’m sure there are a great number of successful writers throughout history who have been really poor spellers. All you need is a good proofreader!

    • 8 paris (im)perfect January 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      Hey Adam,

      There *are* a number of successful writers who have been really poor spellers. But that example above is really, really extreme, don’t you think? I also must confess that my spelling has worsened since picking up French. Proofreaders are essential!

      I’m sure the ads are tongue in cheek. (It’s said sometimes that Americans don’t get irony).

      Still, I think something is off about the campaign, at least from my perspective. I don’t think the message you state above (which is logical) really comes through clearly.

    • 11 shelby January 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      Yes! I was just going to comment and then read yours. I think it is a brilliant campaign, myself!

      • 12 paris (im)perfect January 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

        Shelby, it’s actually reassuring to hear you think it’s brilliant. I was wondering about the target audience, so it’s helpful to hear that the ads work for you! I’m sure they hope many people take it as you do! :)

  5. 13 Paris Karin (an alien parisienne) January 17, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    LOL — love Aidan’s comment up there! True! :)

    You know, I glanced at one of these the other day. I saw the second one. I was mostly drawn to the artwork, which I thought looked kind of cool — the whole sketchbook feel of it attracted me. The second one makes me laugh, now that I’m paying attention to what it says! The first one, well, even with my crap French I can understand how “off” it is. But, have you ever seen a French kid use Facebook or send an SMS? (“Text message” for those of you in the US of A.) As bad as that ad (just ask Paul’s 14-year-old daughter).

    Yeahhhhhh, a part of me is horrified (the former English Teacher part). But a part of me just wants to chill out, because OMG, it makes me feel like such an OLD person if I don’t!! Haha! I’m sure that the Academie Française dudes are freaking out, having a conniption fit about it. Rolling in their graves and all.

    Now that I am re-reading the first one in French, realizing what’s in the picture, too, the irony is really cracking me up. :D I kind of think it is pointing the finger at stupid people and basically telling kids, “Hey, don’t be as dumb as this chick. Get an education! Get a life…”

    You know, I bet it was fairly young people who developed these ads. They are attention-getting, and they are rather witty. Maybe the youth of today are more savvy than appears on the surface, eh?

    I think there is always hope for the future. And I also hope that with 2012 it is revealed that extraterrestrials really do exist and are ruling the planet, hahahaha!

    • 14 paris (im)perfect January 18, 2012 at 12:10 am

      Oh yes. I realize whole swaths of the population know text and use write messages on FB like this. Still can’t deny that it makes me shudder, though. ;)
      I am perhaps a curmudgeon – but I don’t care!
      Hey, the alien thing would be a pretty big revelation for 2012!

  6. 15 Franck January 18, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Is this humour that French you don’t get it despite your witty wit?

    • 16 paris (im)perfect January 18, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      Hi Franck. Not sure I understand the question. But I can say it’s true: I rarely find French humor funny.

      Humor is probably one of the hardest things to translate. I like to laugh a LOT, but a French “comedy,” for example, usually leaves me cold.

  7. 18 Peter Pazucha January 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    The reality about living languages is that they are always changing — whether purists like it or not; a fact that drives dictionary compilers crazy. Just how the social media will impact any and all languages is a tale yet to be told.
    I’m not sure how much success any savior of their mother tongue has had keeping the infidels at bay. This is surely to be a case where the myriad ants overcome far greater powers.
    The funny part about it is that they (both the ad agency, and those who would use twitterspeak) are only trying to “communicate.”

    • 19 paris (im)perfect January 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Peter. Yes, language is always evolving. ‘Tis true! I’m just honest that my initial reaction to that first ad especially was visceral. Not sure if I’d count myself as trying to be a savior of the mother tongue, though! Our communication has changed so rapidly sometimes, it makes me feel like our language isn’t so much evolving, as devolving :)

      Oh well. I agree. We’re all just trying to communicate.

  8. 20 Tanya in Transition January 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Just read this and I, too, cringe when I have 2 write 2nite or something equally text-friendly. Gak.


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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