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Wednesday, January 19

Nationalism is for the Birds...

Airbus had a big party yesterday to unveil its newest and most daring airliner yet : the A380. Now, I don't know how much coverage this got in US News (and I'd like to know, so please comment), but it was big news here. Major success, European cooperation, don't forget that Airbus has outstripped Boeing in sales recently, ha ha, pats on the back all around, and yada yada yada. They barely had time to tell us about Condi's gaffe at the hearings where she described the tsunami's aftermath as a wonderful opportunity for American diplomacy. The saddest part of which, she's right. But I digress. So we Europeans were subjected to much "Cocorico!" as the French say. The litteral translation would be "cockadoodledoo!", which could be hard to put in context if you happened to be among the 6 billion + human beings who do not know that zee roostur eez zee nassionul burd of La France. Suffice it to say, to quote another national icon, that the Cock is the only animal which sings whilst standing in shit. Now, allow me to give you a flightless barn bird's eye view of the Yahoo News report on this same event : Overweight (okay, I'm overly sensitive on this one, bite me), overbudget, and yet to fly. Ahem. Notice that there is no mention of it being behind schedule, since it ain't. It has yet to fly because you have to take it out of the hangar before the first test flight, and this party was precisely for that event. Now granted, you can object to blowing so much money on this event, rather than waiting for that all-important first flight. Shades of W's Expensive Washington Party (yes, they had time to tell us about that too... amazing all the things a rooster can say, when it's got its dander up. Ouch. Broke a metaphor to make that omelet, didn't I?) or my mother telling me you NEVER congratulate a prospective mother until you've counted all the toes... especially in HER side of the family. I did worry about this overweight thing. I know how important that is in the airline business, and how hard it is to lose weight you've put on in childhood. I felt for the poor plane, I really did. Bigger than the other kids, and a little overweight. I imagine he won't be bullied, but the canards (get it? *ducks the flying footwear*) have already started! Imagine my relief when IN THE SAME ARTICLE, but down towards the end which only 15% of the readers actually get to, it says that this is less than 1% of the total weight, that the Boeing 747 had the same issue at the start, and that airlines aren't worried. I wish I were only 1% overweight. Hell, I'd settle for 5%! After that, the rest of the article was just funny. I couldn't get worked up about it anymore. A380 just a logical, minor extension of the 747's upper deck? Pourquoi pas? Mention that the budget over-run is 10% only, that Airbus has outsold Boeing, and has a newer, leaner product offering, but only at the end? Allez! Bring up the supersonic airliner Concorde as an economic failure? Au point où on en est... I suddenly had this image of le rooster français, die deutsche eagle, and the british ... uh... partridge? stool pigeon? dang, can't remember... ah, the swallow, perhaps? (there goes my UK readership, anyway) having a party, high-fiving each other and just generally carrying on. They look rather silly, as only 7' basketball players can make this look good, but they're having a good time, and yes, a big part of their pleasure stems from the fact that they beat the bald eagle this round. Silly, no doubt about it. A couple trees over, the maligned bird is sulking, and not Boeing particularly honest in its evaluation of the damage. Not quite so silly, perhaps, but still a little sad. So I'm curious... Was this mentioned in the news in the US? How was it treated? Location : Avenue Ledru Rollin, Paris, France

6 Insights :

Blogger james intuited...

I watch NBC Nightly News (with Brian Williams, as they say). Anyway, It was a big story last night and they even had a slick interview with Sir Ricard Branson. Is he a "Sir" or have I just granted that status to him? En tout cas, the big caviat to the story here in the states was indeed that Boeing took it, "in the shorts."

1/20/2005 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Mathieu intuited...

Ah, thanks James. It's interesting to note the difference in tone with Yahoo.

Oh, and he has, indeed, been knighted. It's Sir Richard, quite.

1/20/2005 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger wendy intuited...

I don't watch the news so I didn't see it there but I saw bit about it on an episode of Modern Marvels on the History Channel. It was amazing!

1/20/2005 05:38:00 AM  
Blogger Mathieu intuited...

Oh, I love that show. It doesn't air here in France, but I like to see it when I'm in the US, and others on the History Channel.

Once a geek, always a geek. :D

1/20/2005 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Marie intuited...

I do pay attention to the news since it is afterall, part of my job. The Airbus story saturated most media outlets--print, blog and tv. The headlines and following commentary about the Airbus was interesting and often humerous. I cannot specifically remember where I saw it, but it was on tv that referred to the Airbus as a conquest of the skies for Old Europe and a great America defeat. Personally, I would mind taking a ride around the world on that thing, but I would like to make sure that it does fly first.

1/20/2005 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Mathieu intuited...

Thanks for dropping by, Marie!

I guess that Yahoo piece was an exception, it sounds like the coverage, if anything, leaned to the other extreme.

It was pretty one-sided here too, and frankly a little silly, but who's to deny Europeans their party?

1/20/2005 04:53:00 PM  

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