As I’ve mentioned previously, one of the many tender mercies of walking to work everyday is that I don’t subject myself to NPR nearly as often as I once did. One of the painful reminders of this is when I take the green kids to school once in a while and find self so enthralled again, just like old crappy times.
So this morning, as it so happens and I only mention because it was such a softball non-story to get right that they whiffed on so badly that I must.
A discussion, and it’s probably online somewhere but I will not take the .000784 seconds required to find it, about new Secretary of State John Kerry and how he was forced during his presidential campaign to play down his foreign language proficiency but is now flaunting it. Fine. And they played a snip of him during a lunch in Paris saying something completely gracious to his hosts, and then another of him being so comfortable with a Turkish official that Kerry forgot to listen to the translation – insinuating that his elitist languagism was somehow at fault and it was a terrible low point. Or something.
Listen. How hard is it? How difficult is it to highlight Kerry’s ability to communicate with his DIPLOMATIC counterparts in French, Italian or German as an example of an unadulterated good? Why not point out how relieved we all might be for the moment that his international colleagues might feel the least bit respected by being addressed in their language by an American in their country? Further, maybe go on to ask other intriguing questions: What does language do? What is it for? How do you learn other languages? What possibilities for friendship, cooperation, romance or just understanding might it unlock?
Instead I explain the idiocy of man-bites-dog to green boy. I’ll stop raging on NPR when they stop reporting the news like dopes.