Who says humor doesn’t translate?
iStockphoto.com You may have noticed that blogging was light at Passport yesterday. (It was May Day, after all. And since we are a global magazine, we were in solidarity with all those countries that celebrate it as labor day.) To tide you over, we posted a Top Secret memo from Paul Wolfowitz to World Bank ...
You may have noticed that blogging was light at Passport yesterday. (It was May Day, after all. And since we are a global magazine, we were in solidarity with all those countries that celebrate it as labor day.) To tide you over, we posted a Top Secret memo from Paul Wolfowitz to World Bank employees. In this super-duper secret memo, the beleaguered World Bank president warns that Bank employees are forbidden from wagering on a sports betting website that trades in the probability of future political events.
Doing so “will be considered insider trading in clear violation of my anti-corruption guidelines,” the memo says. It goes on: “Your knowledge of normal World Bank personnel procedures gives you a clear information advantage in predicting whether I will be forced to resign. You must not abuse it. Please note: the Bank’s prohibition on insider trading applies not only to immediate family but also to significant others (e.g., girlfriends).”
We are delighted that Very Important People read ForeignPolicy.com. Our esteemed Gallic cousins across the Atlantic at Le Monde were kind enough to post a link to our super-duper secret memo. For you non-French readers, Le Monde‘s piece has a straightforward headline, “Paul Wolfowitz wants to prevent World Bank employees from betting on his resignation,” and basically just translates and quotes selected text from the memo into French. There’s not much editorial commentary except for a throwaway line that Wolfowitz is not totally without humor.
Neither are the French, thank goodness. Several hours later, after finding out that our memo was fake, Le Monde posted an “Oops” note on its website. (They weren’t alone. When I first read it, I had to ask Blake, “Is this for real?”) As the byline should make clear, the satire was the brainchild of our friend Kenneth Rogoff, who is a professor up at Harvard and a potential future candidate for the economics beat at The Onion. Thanks to both Ken and to Le Monde for giving us a chuckle today.
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