Nitpickers unite!

     As one who is tired of half-hourly updates on the Gulf when nothing is new, and ditto Joran Van Der Sloot hourly, I got my wish for a change today.

     While there are numerous reasons to criticize BP and Washington, today saw a new low in being persnickety. BP’s Board Chairman, Carl-Henrik Svanberg did a transliteration. That is, he commented on help for and understanding the needs of ‘the little guy’ be he an individual, a worker or a small business owner. But he did so by taking the Swedish way of saying it and translating the words into English with adjustment of word order for English. The little guy became “the small people”. One notes the news media tried to make an issue of this non-issue. Anyone who did must have missed class the day they taught journalism. But then, quotes were gathered from Gulf residents and ones reported were the negative, naturally. Even FoxNews stooped to this lowly and infantile stunt.

     We can all hope many Gulf residents are adult enough to keeping criticism of BP to the legitimate issues. 

     So, I propose a simple solution for anyone on from the Gulf wanting to criticize Mr. Svanberg’s English. Try the shoe on the other foot. 1. Apply for your check from BP via a form and instructions printed in Swedish. 2. Be required to ask for your checks when ready in fluent and accentless Swedish. 3. Have the checks payable in Swedish kroner.

     To anyone who is critical of Mr. Svanberg’s English, I ask, “Talar ni svenska?” and if the answer is “Jag talar inte bra svenska.” I offer a new personal motto: “Jag har hjärna brist.”


About hedeby1

professor emeritus of economics
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