by jemma margaret
Yesterday marked the 165th birthday of The Communist Manifesto, a book that made beards cool again.
I live right off the Rue Francs-Bourgeois (named after people too poor to pay taxes–in the 15th century), so I find myself thinking about the bourgeois (and wishing I knew how to spell it) quite a bit. Like being called a hipster, the label of bourgeois, though strictly speaking is not an insult is never considered a compliment. While most of us are more or less capitalists, and some of us are very proudly so, no one would self-describe in a term that has come to insinuate shallow materialist with unachievable social aspirations (and that’s not even getting into the exploitation bits). There is a store on Rue Francs-Bourgeois called “Bourgeois”–this makes sense, but I will never shop there (also, the clothes are ugly). Why did those Germans want to ruin a perfectly decent French word? Couldn’t they have drawn from Deutsch? Unlike French, Germans are making new words all the time, as in eineneuesdeutschwort (a new German word I just invented). Couldn’t they have spared one good word to be turned bad? The French vocabulary needs all the help it can get (though as an FLE student, I’d certainly appreciate a smaller palette). Why just today at the library I learned that Playboy is called “Les Garçons Jouent”–sounds like a magazine about Monopoly, Clue, and Guess Who? (which I guess you could say is vaguely also the subject matter for the American version).
And a final word of advice, if you want to start a movement choose a last name with some pizzazz, I’ve never met an Engelsist.