If you can possibly wonder what Paris Hilton, slow service at a restaurant, how early people in the military retire and this one stupid girl standing right there have in common, you clearly are not a Parisian.
For the Parisian knows instinctively that what all these things have in common is that “c’est un scandale”.
Parisians are not dramatic people. Their daily display of measure and reason is seldom breached. Only rare frenetic dispossessions come trouble this calm torpor. Those sporadic episodes are usually fully explainable. Reason – always – even in dispossession.
The Parisian does not deal well with the unfair. No matter how old the Parisian gets, he never seems to come to terms with the idea that unfair is – actually – the norm of life. Mostly because the Parisian struggles with the idea that life differs from his life. His life being governed by reason, it seems illogic to him that life may not be. Illogic though is something the Parisian in his great modesty can deal with. Unfair on the other hand is a different story. Unfair, in the Parisian’s mind, is simply when illogic has become profitable.
More profitable that is. Thanks to his sharp reason sword, the Parisian is mostly on the privileged side of the great social circus. Glimpses at what his reading prism tells him is an illogically profitable situation leave the Parisian in pure torment. Unfair is punching the Parisian from the inside. The Parisian being no fighter, he shall not fight back.. But he shall whine. Grandiloquent whining of course. Politically flavored whining. Obviously always educated and superior whining.
Saying “c’est un scandale” is the Parisian’s systematic response to what seems unfair to him. Flouted order of things shall not remain unpunished. Some would argue this loyal tribute to reason in dealing with an issue diminished reason fostered could seem unreasonable. Not Parisians. Parisians reckon that outside of reason is a world of crooks and idiots. Saying “c’est un scandale” is just an unconscious way for Parisian to assert that this is not their world. No matter what, Parisians are more elegant than dogs.
Younger Parisians find themselves quite witty mockin older people’s alleged tendency to say “c’est un scandale” a lot. Older people’s cultural indignation faced with phenomena it has gotten socially gratifying to simply justify – if not enjoy – is indeed very funny. Not funny on the other end is younger Parisians’habit to genuinely find that the theme of an expo, the quality of a Spring roll, or the price of a movie ticket can be “un scandale”. Those are real scandals. And young Parisians are cultured and strong enough to stand tall against such evolutions.
The Parisian is convinced that saying “c’est un scandale” will immediately lead to solving the situation. As if his vision of fairness was the Deus ex-makina of social interactions. Needless to say this never happens. “C’est un scandale” in his utter inefficiency is an almost aesthetic tribute to the Parisian’s persisting and well bred soul, an outdated hommage to deposed reason. Reason being such a cardinal value in Paris, Parisian men use this line to prove their superior intellectual qualities to their female companions – a very Parisian vision of an alpha male. This line reminds Parisian women of endless Sunday lunches with their father and uncles – they find it annoyingly unsexy.
Instead of keeping a low profile, looking at a situation with humor or trying to be pragmatic about it, the Parisian always prefers to show intelligence and reason. Thinking that intelligence and reason at that point would be to keep a low profile, look at the situation with humor or be pragmatic about it is not a Parisian thing to think. Even when he whines like a little boy bullied by a bigger child, the Parisian sees himself as the epitome of triumphant reason – adulthood in its splendor.
So, really, unless you want to deal with outraged reason – and the crippling sound of S bombs being dropped – do not mess with the Parisian.
Useful tip: Scandale in French does not carry a sexual undertone. So feel free: be generous about your “c’est un scandale”s. .
Sound like a Parisian: «Attends: on a fait entrée, plat, plus une bouteille de vin. A deux, on en aeu pour 95 euros… 95 euros, sérieusement, c’est un scandale… Entrée plat putain!».