Language Masters and Physics Babes

May 1, 2016

In a world of growing English language dominance, westerners like myself (i.e. people with native or advanced English) who pursue expert proficiency in any other language often find themselves fighting an uphill battle.

Everyone either tries, wants to try, or wishes their English was good enough to speak English to us!!

Just 15 or 20 years ago, this was not so, at least in Eastern Europe. But it's getting worse and worse with each passing year. About 7% worse, actually. The pressure to speak English is doubling every decade.

I wrote a series of satirical posts on this subject back in 2010, 2011, 2012. This current rant continues that fine tradition.

You say — the spread of English means access to information, opportunities, and the free world. Yeah, I'd definitely want all of that if I were a Georgian, Russian, or Ukrainian. But I'm not...

What may be better for the world is worse for a few individuals who are swimming upstream.

But it is really worse? Maybe it just makes us swim harder?

What most gets my goat are innocent suggestions that I help local people out by speaking English with them.


Here is the best analogy I can come up with...


The Physics Babe

Imagine a hot babe with the body of a goddess. Everywhere she goes, men stare at her and drool. The bolder among them attempt to start a conversation or flirt with her. This happens to her multiple times whenever she goes out.

The babe is an up-and-coming physicist — one of the best, in fact. She's intensely passionate about physics.

A good 30% of the men she encounters deeply need to get laid. It would make their day, maybe even their week or their month. It would probably even make the world a better place.

The babe could do untold good for humanity by humoring these wanting men. More good than through most of the other activities she engages in. And it would take so little effort on her part. She could probably make dozens and dozens of men's lives better if she really applied herself.

The problem is, the physics babe is oddly self-centered. She doesn't get the big picture. Instead of serving the greater good by bestowing a few moments of bliss on her needy male colleagues, she insists on talking physics with them. Having no choice, the poor souls oblige and work on physics problems with the babe.

But whenever she turns away, they sneak a peek at her and have dirty thoughts. Whenever she gets flustered or loses her train of thought, they think — Is this a sign she's attracted to me? Is she getting turned on? Maybe now is the time to make my move??

Once in a while, someone does make a move. The physics babe responds coldly, stiffens up, and puts on a strained smile. Then she starts ignoring or avoiding the offending colleague. "She certainly is neurotic!" certain male physicists say behind her back. "I wonder how long it's been since she's had sex..."

(Incidentally, the physics babe's love life is just fine, though she prefers not to talk about it at work.)

There is a growing movement to put the babe in her place or even find grounds to fire her. The problem is, she's just too damn good at physics. Her brilliance is undeniable to all but the most lust-clouded minds.

Tensions in the physics institute are mounting. The physics babe is attracting ever more stares and awkwardness. Many colleagues seem hesitant to talk physics with her. A few of the old-timers, however, take genuine interest in her ideas and seem not to have issues with her appearance.

One day the babe approaches a group of physicists who are caught up in an intense debate on the nature of some subatomic particle. Just as she opens her mouth to share her views, someone makes a lewd comment. Almost instantly, the group is laughing and telling jokes about body parts. The babe laughs nervously, not knowing what to make of it all. Later, she cries to herself at her desk while no one is watching.

But yet the physics babe presses on, producing ever more stunning work...

P.S. This may seem hard to believe, but just moments after I pressed "Publish" on this post, a middle-aged woman from Moscow entered the guesthouse I'm staying at and, seeing me hard at work at the table a few meters away, said:

"Hellow. Ver ar yoo frum?"

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