Friday, September 17, 2010

Why I Hate George Clooney

[Before any George Clooney fans approach this post readily wielding pitchforks and lighted torches, I do have a plausible reason for hating him. Well, perhaps "hate" is too strong of a word. I think he did an excellent job in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou and he certainly still shows that he has some acting stamina left to do more action films (more recently, The American).

But Georgie-Porgie and I have a score to settle... ]

Back when I started teaching in Dijon, I learned a little too late that the French have had their vocabulary supplemented with the phrase "What Else?" This is thanks to the Nescafé/Nespresso commercials that Clooney endorses in rather amusing clips and posters at bus stops showing what looks like his passport with the catchphrase "What Else?"

Here was the commercial I repeatedly saw for the Nespresso Espresso Maker:

[EDIT: The video for the commercial was, for some reason, messed up. It featured Clooney appearing to escape from dying after he exchanged his Nespresso Maker to a John Malkovich "God." At the end, Clooney asks the question "What Else?"]

It's kinda funny, right? You'd think that I would be charmed by such a cleverly-done advertisement, particularly because it involves coffee and suggests that you could potentially have a "Get Out of Dying" card should you be able to trade something material after you get crushed by a piano and face the pearly gates.


Thanks to this campaign, the question of "What Else?" has created an impediment with my job of properly teaching English. I found that in the middle of my lessons, I would pose the question a few times and it would always result with my students chirping back an answer of "Nespresso."

In short, the French mind intercepts the phrase as follows:

Native English Speaker Unwittingly Asks "What Else?" = Opportunity for Us to Mock Native English Speaker

Got it?

You never know how many times you end up blurting those two words until French students start giggling and respond "Nescafé!" or "Nespresso!" in your face. For a teacher, not being able to ask this question is like having a kidney removed; it has really put a hitch in doing my job.

You would think that avoiding this combination of words would be simple enough, but it is not as easy as I would like to believe. The two monosyllabic words escape from my lips at crucial moments when I interrogate a student.

Ha, ha, ha. That joke gets old real fast.

Also: That'll be the day when French high schoolers do end up drinking Nescafé at a party instead of vins et bières.

After being stung by these predictable quips a good 5 or 6 times, I began to make conscious efforts to prevent myself from uttering "What Else?" in the middle of class. I thought that this phrase could easily be avoided if I kept repeating the mantra "I will not ask 'What Else?'" and concentrated my mental energy to purge this from my vocabulary.

I just hope that during my 4-month absence, the French have completely forgotten all about this advertising campaign and within two weeks I can go back to asking "What Else?" without any repercussions and qualms of embarrassment in front of my students. But I doubt that will be the case. A friend even offered a solution that I start asking "anything else" instead.

But the fact remains that I WANT TO KEEP MY "WHAT ELSE?"

Barb the French Bean

Disclaimer: I obviously do not own anything belonging to Nestlé, not the company name, not the commercial, not the question (which I want back). I honestly don't wish to beat George Clooney to a pulp.

Really. I don't.


  1. Wow I could see why you are not liking George at the moment. I am so sorry.

  2. i would bear such torture for george clooney with a smile on my face.

  3. I do think that the commercial is funny, it's my favourite one. But of course I can understand you! That must be terrible! So now I'll always think of you when I see George Clooney. I'm with you! :)
    Love, Cay

  4. Cartoon George looks scarily like real George. I'll forgive him most things because of Dusk 'til Dawn though

  5. HAHAHA @Fizzee Rascal... I just watched From Dusk til Dawn, and you are so right on there, it was awesome. And I'm sorry Barb, but George is just nice to look at and he has a sexy voice and... it's too hard to hate him.

  6. You know that Clooney himself is a prankster, so he would LOVE that this is happening. Which should trigger even more hate.

    I'm sorry.

    Perhaps you can get permission from your supervisor to throat punch any child old enough to withstand the force the next time they say Nescafe?

    It only seems fair. I'm sure the Principal and parents would TOTALLY understand. lol. ;-)

  7. Lol, great post, I hate Tom Cruise. I have no amusing reason I just do.

  8. Pancake: Not if you were teaching English in France! :-P

    Cay: Thanks! :-D

    Fizzee and Elimy: I still have yet to see that film, so I probably *won't* watch it if it has the possibility of changing my animosity.

    K. Gravelle: Nope. You're not.

    Stephanie: Heh. I don't doubt that!

    I'm not much of the fighting type and I would not like to take my frustration out on anyone...unless your name happens to be "George Clooney" and you are a famous American actor.

    Mrs Midnite: I only like Cruise in "The Last Samurai." He does give off a bit of a weirdo vibe, though.

    -French Bean

  9. I have another reason to hate George Clooney; Batman and Robin.

  10. Invader - you have a good point there...

  11. I pretty much stopped at the Batman film which starred Val Kilmer as the hero, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, Nicole Kidman as the love interest and Jim Carrey as the Riddler. So, if I watch the Batman and Robin version, it is possible that I will despise Clooney even MORE than I do now???

    -French Bean


Apparently, leaving comments on this blog is a hit-or-miss game of Russian roulette: you are either lucky and can comment away, or you are required to log in when the settings are CLEARLY set to allow trouble-free commenting (sorry 'bout that, folks). If anything, the Facebook page is always a viable option. :) -Barb