I guess only black comedians get to use that word. For the rest of us, it's off limits.
Acqua di Giň is my guilty pleasure. What's yours?
Jean Paul Guerlain is very old and is showing signs of dementia, this is the only explanation for such thoughtless behavior on his part.
jlouismi, there's a lively discussion going on in the Fragrance Industry board: http://www.basenotes.net/threads/262...T-BUY-GUERLAIN
I marvel at your mastery of selective indignation. If it's wrong to use the word, it should be wrong in all instances.
I'm sorry. I would have thought you had heard of Jaime Foxx, Chris Rock, Kanye West, Whoopi Goldberg, and Sherri Shepherd. Or Richard Pryor.
I have hesitated to comment here because of the great polarization of views, but here goes. I hope it doesn't add fuel to the fire.
Older people can lose their sense of propriety. My mother has now begun making embarrassing remarks in public, apparently not realizing that she is easily overheard. I hate to shush her, but imagine how I felt when she asked me in a loud stage whisper (in reference to two men seated across from us in the lab waiting room) "Do you think they're Arabs?" It's even worse than when small children say embarrassing things, because everyone expects adults to know better-- but as their brains age, they may not know better.
Of course what JPG said is now considered unacceptable, but I have the impression he uttered an old French idiom without thinking, then tried to correct himself awkwardly, succeeding only in making the original error even worse. Was he actually thinking of slavery when he said it? I doubt it. Idioms or "dead metaphors" are sayings that no longer bring up thoughts of their original meaning. Well, in this case, the idiom seems to have come full circle and has once again become associated with its original meaning-- which I find interesting from a linguistic point of view. Dead metaphors being brought back to life, so to speak.
Language is full of such dead metaphors, but as it is a living and changing thing, some of these metaphors are pruned out of use because they are now considered racist. An old person is more likely to put his foot in his mouth than someone who grew up after these idioms had fallen out of acceptable use. This is not the same thing as excusing racism because the man is old-- it is merely recognizing that old people have a memory bank of language usage that includes remarks no longer considered appropriate, and so are more likely to misspeak.
I can't connect his comment with Guerlain perfumes. The man is the man, the remark is the remark, the perfume is the perfume. I have no particular love for Guerlain perfumes-- they don't seem to suit me, in general-- but I won't be boycotting anything because of one man's faux pas-- for which he (quite rightly) apologized.
I've just merged all the Jean Paul Guerlain threads together.
I am a firm believer of the quote, "Say what you mean, & mean what you say"! He said it, so...
after reading your post, I do agree with you in theory, in regards to age, but I still have a difficult time in accepting that his use of the word is in no way connected to his reaction to black people.
You mentioned me said it without thinking, that just tells me his mindset is still the same from back then when the N word was thrown around and meant what i was intended for.
Even if what people are saying is true, its still a hard thing to read considering ive long been an advocate of one of his fragrances for a long time, it makes me now feel like he was thinking these scents are not made your your kind. Sorry but i cant help but feel this way.
I earlier made a comment about Jospehine Baker, the icon of Paris in the 1920s and 1930s who epitomised the Jazz Age.
I understand Guerlain made Sous Le Vent for her. How does this enter our debate on Jean-Paul Guerlain's comments and the House of Guerlain?
A beautiful woman and a beautiful perfume. A very courageous woman if you read what she did for the French Resistance during World War Two:
Last edited by Primrose; 18th October 2010 at 05:11 PM.
"No elegance is possible without it...perfume is a part of you." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
On a side note, I am the queen of mangled metaphors, to the great amusement of my family. I've been known to utter such absurdities as "up a creek without a saddle", "a stag at half mast" (flag at half staff) and too many others to count.
I hate to think what I'll be saying if dementia sets in someday.
negre = negro
negre =/= n****r
I don't believe the phrase "worked like a negro" is inherently racist. It's definitely politically incorrect and COULD be motivated by underlying racist beliefs, but I don't think racist beliefs are required to use such a phrase. It seems at least as likely to me there was no racist intent, as it does there was.
And that's all I have to say about that.
Edit: One more thing. Even if there was racist intent "Sometimes you have to seperate the art from the douchebaggery". Just because someone is racist or an ***hole, doesn't mean they are any less of an artist. Doesn't forgive the racism, but shouldn't take away from the art.
Last edited by rorschach128; 18th October 2010 at 05:44 PM.
Honestly, if Jean-Paul is no longer in control of his mental faculties, then it's cruel of his friends and family to allow him to give public interviews. Rather than an apology, it would be apt for friends and family to come forward and mention his mental illness.
However, until someone does, comments on age-related dementia remain unconfirmed and I hold Mr. Guerlain to the standards I would anyone else.
...And much more recently (about a month ago) France was suspected of racial discrimination in the case of Roma population expulsion. The passing of the burqa ban is yet another issue.
Mental changes of aging have an insidious onset and often the first indication that they are happening is this sort of thing.
But it might be a good idea for family to take him to be evaluated, particularly if these comments of his are uncharacteristic, as dementia (if that is what this is) is more easily treated early on.
Last edited by 30 Roses; 18th October 2010 at 06:25 PM.
It has been reported that Ronald Reagan may have been in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease during the later years of his presidency, something that was never explored/discussed at the time for some of the very same reasons that the Guerlain family will remain silent on this matter.
Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 18th October 2010 at 06:34 PM.
I love that people live in a world where there are no shades of gray.
He said a stupid, offensive and dumb thing off the cuff. He apologized. That should be good enough. Move on.
An old man said a dumb thing. He said he was sorry. If that is not good enough for you then I feel sorry for you.
You are right to be outraged - he should have known better - but the moment he apologized was the moment the world should move on. This is not an example of institutionalized and consistent racism on the part of Guerlain or LVMH or by extension Christian Dior.
You know....from reading this thread I have decided we should boycott France...
Reminds me of the Frédéric-Malle-smelling-like-a-maid-discussion. As if there were no other things to be worried about. Much Ado about nothing. Just stop buying his products, but don't be so silly to make a Weltanschauung or a movement out of it.
If he had thought the words a hundred times and never spoke them, would he be a better person? No. But none of us would know any better.
When someone makes an offensive statement, the hope is that they recognize the offense, change their mind about it and convey that change in a sincere way to the offended. The challenge with public statements of this character is that the offended are not limited to a defined group of people (i.e., a spouse, a friend, or the five people one ate lunch with) and regardless of anything he says or does, it will likely be unsatisfactory to some.
If there is an expression of contriteness, I tend to take it at face value. Sometimes the apology is insincere, so that doesn't work. And sometimes I may be naive in presuming sincerity. Regardless, I don't see the point of harboring ill-feeling, unless there is evidence that the action is part of a pattern of behavior, as opposed to an isolated incident.
DOWN WITH GUERLAIN!! Let us not excuse this despicable comment! Let us march to Levallois-Perret and set the whole place on fire! Smash your Mitsouko, your Shalimar, your L'Instant for he, Jean-Paul Guerlain, is a straight up fool! He's rotten to the core! lol
Last edited by Siifter; 18th October 2010 at 08:23 PM.
I'm shocked at how shocked you guys are.
He did not a state an opinion about black people, he did not talk about chains and slavery. He used a phrase he should have not used; behind it there may or may not be a racist attitude, who knows. He made a mistake - finding that inexcusable is a lot more worrying than a silly choice of words of an old man is.
I appreciate the righteousness of people here, I really do. It's just, that people seem to react approximately same way than they did to a news, where a guard killed a customer for stealing Joop!. There should be an unspeakable gap between seriousness of these events.
We should understand certain cultural differences and try to make not-so-tolerant people see things from a different perspective, not dig the trenches deeper by judging and labeling! That's what is happening here. Overreacting will only make it harder to communicate. It may feel good to be morally above other people or to identify oneself for belonging to a group of more tolerant people. This is something that happens alot, but it's usually just counterproductive.
I see violence against some reactionary groups in the future - just for not sharing the view of the majority. And people will feel they are doing the right thing. I'm not kidding.