Friday, 25 May 2012

Luncheon is for softies.


Poster I saw the other day:



Mm. I hate to nitpick, but there is maybe a slight problem with the way you are visezing for your objectif to speak English the way they do on Wall Street...

(And I don't just mean that your Union Jack is upside down. That's the least of your problems with it.)

(How do I know it's upside down? From the fimbriation of the ordinaries, that's how.)

(Oh, and please don't tell me it's the Union Flag if it's not flown from a ship. That's one of those facts that every uncle knows, but  isn't actually true. You definitely don't call it the Union Flag at sea, but both terms are acceptable on land, and personally I like 'Union Jack'.)

(In the brackets above, I initially wrote 'That's one of those facts that every uncle knows, but if you said it on QI, the klaxon would go off.' But then I checked, and annoyingly someone did say it on QI, and the klaxon didn't go off. But it should have done.)

(That's a lot of clarifications. Maybe I don't hate to nitpick after all.)


51 comments:

Ellen Mayer said...

But...But... The DOCTOR said it was true! WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?!

Ellen Mayer said...

(and wall street English will never beat British English. Makes me sad to be american- we don't have an awesome accent.)

Rhia said...

I need to get out more. I'm fascinated by the website of The Flag Institute.

Cringing Wretch said...

"It's just a dead cat's bounce after all the boats rise. Nothing more than a rubber band effect. We're in stagflation, so the misery index is staying high. Might as well sell in May and go away before the summer doldrums. Even taking a random walk would do."

Why on earth would anybody want to talk Wall Street English?

Kaitebon said...

I was SURE that the klaxon went off on QI... because that's the only reason I know it's true. (Curse you, Doctor Who!)

Kaitebon said...

(And I tend to do the parentheses thing too.)

(Usually to nitpick.)

Fiona Pickles said...

Ah, John, your secret is out; you're really Mr Birling, aren't you? This is positively (to coin a phrase) 'Birl-esque'!

pekay said...

To be fair, it's only upside down ('most improper', quite, Flag Institute) if you're imagining the flagpole on the left.
You could imagine the pole (a small matchstick, say) on the nose side of the iris, and all is well.

Dawny D said...

Inproper to use the Union Jack on chairs and tables etc. Oh dear it's on everything at the moment, still I like it. It makes a change that we're allowed to be proud about being British and two years running too!

John Birch said...

"The use of any of the national flags to cover a statue, monument or plaque for an unveiling ceremony is discouraged"

Clearly the discouragement doesn't work very well, being as this happens all the time!

Emily said...

And it's the teeny tiny demi-rants like this which is why I love stalking your blog!

A Failed Journalist said...

Dear Mr Finnemore, your blog seems to have it all! Humour, Sarcasm, PSAs and Educational information and links to fascinating places such as The Flag Institute.

My hat tips off to you!

Pipit said...

I must be terribly ignorant because I'm an American and have never heard of Wall Street English. Neither has my brother who worked on Wall Street for over 10 years.

Of course, I don't watch American television and get most of my entertainment listening to BBC radio shows, particularly those written by or featuring John Fennemore!

Anonymous said...

thank you for your blog - to remind us all about that brilliant crew...in real life...who managed to the world...

Anonymous said...

oops i meant 'managed to SAVE the world'...

Anonymous said...

Mr Finnemore, you are amazing.

Sarah-L-B said...

Nitpicking is fun...such an English hobby, nitpicking.

mslivin2rock said...

oh my dear spiffing mr finnemore
why did i not come across you before
oh brilliant one who spins funny verse and lore
of christmases shut in a locker door
of yellow cars and lemons and more
and fisk cakes on helsinki's shore
leaving us laughing rolling on the floor
as always i love you john finnemore

mslivin2rock said...

oh emily i totally agree with you!!!!!! it is those teeny tiny demi-rants of his that i love and adore :) :) :)
mr finnemore, the way you italicised slightly, lord i could just hear you say that!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D

mslivin2rock said...

yeah i agree with fiona :) you really are mr Birling arent you???

Bean said...

How would the French cope without luncheon anyway? (There would be strikes, you know.)

Medland said...

Did you know that fizzy yoghurt actually exists? Arthur better get himself a copyright lawyer...
http://www.cracked.com/article/18372_the-9-most-terrifying-attempts-to-improve-popular-foods/?wa_user1=3&wa_user2=Tech&wa_user3=article&wa_user4=recommended

Méloë said...

After this you still wonder why french can't speak English?...
(Well, the poster comes from Switzerland but I am ashamed to say that we do have exactly the same ones in France -_- )

Douglas Richardson said...

Oi! Arthur!

Pointing to a page which references an unreadable Hansard entry from 1908 is not the same as providing actual proof about it not being the Union Jack except when it's on a boat.

Now, stop talking about this stuff and be a good lad and write some more Cabin Pressure, please.

Clare said...

Wow. Out of curiosity I just read the page regarding the Union Flag you referred to. I was in the US Navy, and we were required to know all the protocol for properly displaying the National Ensign, but I never considered how many extra rules you'd have in the UK since there are so many additional flags! I guess that was one thing good about serving here.

I have a question/suggestion about Cabin Pressure (and give this with no desire for remuneration should you use it--just in case.) Have you ever considered doing a book of 'pilot's games' and perhaps a few minor rules for them? With your talent it could be quite funny and would be lovely for a long trip, especially if you've got kids in the car. (There is a limit to how entertained they will be with "Yellow Car.")

Best wishes to you,

Clare

mizu said...

The link is very educational, and surprisingly entertaining: "Bare flagpoles are a sad sight."

prwelly said...

"Fimbriation of the ordinaries". Now that's a phrase you don't get to use every day. Or on any day...til now.

I had never heard of Wall Street (trademark) English before this. Seems they are all over the show; have been for forty years. Weird branding here is what interests me, though: combining an English symbol, okay a British one, with an American name that globally means "business". What, there's no American symbols they could use to tie in with Wall Street. Nothing? Not a well-recognised flag, not a bald eagle in sight, not an outline of a famous, hello Empire State, building...odd. Ah ha, they are saying...forget Blighty, go where the action is: Wall St. Clever.

Thanks for the flag link, though. Now I can go to the people in the street who have flagpoles (we have a number) and critique them when they fly a flag at half-mast but too low, or somesuch. And get shouted at for my pedantry. Sigh.

mi said...

Sorry for being off-topic, but what are those ice-cubed-cartoon-frogs doing on the left of the page? Or is it just me?

christine-r14 said...

What were you doing in France? (Because this was in France, right?) What were you doing in my country? Did hope to break it, I hope, (Well, more than it already is.. XD)

I. J. Ranter said...

I've googled it, but I can't find out - how long CAN a cat survive in an unheated hold at 30000'? I'm going to Germany in August, and I was wondering if I could smuggle a cat back in my suitcase?

I. J. Ranter said...

I've googled it, but I can't find out - how long CAN a cat survive in an unheated hold at 30000'? I'm going to Germany in August, and I was wondering if I could smuggle a cat back in my suitcase?

I. J. Ranter said...

I've googled it, but I can't find out - how long CAN a cat survive in an unheated hold at 30000'? I'm going to Germany in August, and I was wondering if I could smuggle a cat back in my suitcase?

Anonymous said...

Message from Los Angeles:

Oh my goodness, thank you for making rush hour traffic bearable, almost pleasurable, in fact :) If anyone deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, it's you.

Parapluie said...

I like this one: 'arretez de massacrer l'anglais!' Even if he sort of looks Scottish...
http://paris-glasgow.blogspot.com.au/2008/09/telelangue-arrtez-de-me-torturer.html

The Frog said...

I hate to "cut a hair in 4 parts" but I have a slight criticism to express about that advertising argument : look, I'm French and I even can't speak or understand stock exchange French, why on earth would I learn Wall Street English ??? Normal English is already difficult enough...
By the way I've already noticed that you - I mean British people in general as well as you, Mr Finnemore, as I could note in C.P. - love teasing French people about their supposed bad accent when they speak English and...
well, I must confess that you still underestimate my compatriots' skills in that field ! If you just could listen to my father or one of my friends speaking english, you'd definitely know what an awful french accent really can be...
Please give my love to Arthur which I'm very fond of.

John Finnemore said...

Everyone - Thank you!

Fiona - Ha! Yes, I just re-read the post in Geoffrey Whitehead's voice, and you're absolutely right, I WAS having a rather Birling day, wasn't I?

Douglas - Ah, but the Flag Institute isn't just 'a site', it's an authority. Look it up.

Clare - That's an idea... Maybe one day!

Mslivin - Gosh, poetry! I'm touched. Thank you.

prwelly - Yes, the confusing branding was what I was pointing out. The upside down flag business was just a footnote.

mi - I think it's just you. I can't see them, anyway.

Christine - Switzerland, actually. Although I was also in France. I don't think I broke it. It just came off in my hand.

I.J. - Alas, I don't know. I wouldn't, though.

The Frog - If you think 'Captain du Cref' in Qikiqtarjuaq is teasing the French for doing bad accents, I think it's possible you may have slightly misunderstood that part... If you mean Yves in Douz, he speaks English rather well, doesn't he? I passed your message to Arthur, he was pleased. But then, he's always pleased.

Rupert Goodwins said...

Rather odd watching Game of Thrones, where Roger Allam parades about being medieval but sounding rather like Douglas. I wish he'd been given some industrial-strength sarcasm to deploy: my fan boy pleasure would know no bounds.

Stu said...

You came all the way over here and never dropped by for a cuppa ... I'm distraught. (you could have broght some PG Tips with you as the French stuff is limp-wristed and lacks uumph)

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr Finnemore,

I did find this post very informative and entertaining, but that is not why I'm leaving a comment.

I just wanted to inform you that you have at least one fan (I know it's more than one, but I can only account for myself) in one South American country that I'd rather not mention due to ... reasons.

All the luck and nice things in the world to you, Sir.

Kris said...

Hi, John -- Have you seen this?"The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar"

Think I'm printing it out *really big* for reference next time I'm ready to give up writing forever.

spitfire.k8 said...

Ohhhh - brilliant longest analogy on the Now Show!

Anonymous said...

It may be upside down because an eye operating alone will see everything upside down. Evidently there was no brain behind it.
Meland - I know the secret to creating fizzy yoghurt. Take one average yoghurt drink. Leave out of the fridge for a month or so. And voila. Fizzy yoghurt. (Caution: liable to explode.) It did not make me popular in the playground.

Sam McGowan said...

Surely the flag is not upside down, merely mirrored. We are looking at a picture of an eye, reflecting the Union Flag at which the owner is no doubt longingly staring.

Secondly, you most certainly *do* call a Union Flag a Union Flag at sea. You don't call a Union Jack (flown from an aptly named jackstaff) a Union Flag.

Thirdly. I know it's officially allowed now to use the term "jack" to refer to flags which are definitely not jacks, but just because a mistake was made so much that it became accepted, doesn't make it any less of a mistake, in my petty, pedantic mind.

Anonymous said...

It was actually Rose who said it.

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