Let’s Lay Off BP’s Swedish Guy

By Yul

What I’m about to say may seem like a course reversal (which it isn’t) but I think the widespread condemnation of BP’s chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, for calling inhabitants of the Gulf “small people,” is just reinforcing the world’s opinion that Americans are a bunch of rubes.

The man is from SWEDEN. Sweden’s official language is NOT English. That means Svanberg is fluent in at least two languages. How many Americans (excluding Hispanics) can say the same? And if they know a second language, do they always speak it perfectly?

Any idiot can tell by the man’s name and accent that he isn’t from around these parts — or even England’s.

Going on and on about how awful it is to be called “small people” is just another example of our shallowness, our national obsession with form over substance. Reporters are fanning the flames of ignorance by capturing the average “American on the street” reaction.

On TV last night, I saw some Gulf coast resident still bristling from the snub say, “Well, I guess the guy isn’t of American descent.”

No, my friend. I bet we could go back just a few generations and find that YOU aren’t, either.

We all know what Svanberg meant. He’d just come out of a meeting where Obama probably mentioned “small business” many times. And when Svanberg first used the phrase “small people,” he was referring to Obama’s concern, not BP’s. See it for yourself. It’s his last comment at about 4:00.

Svanberg is the only BP exec I’ve seen whose tried to express a bit of genuine contriteness. He comes from a culture that not only believes in taking good care of its own — but does it. He’s ponied up $20 billion, not including clean-up costs, and suspended paying dividends, which is certainly going to piss off everybody else with a stake in BP.

At this point, short of plugging the leak, I think he’s pushing things in the right direction.


12 Responses to Let’s Lay Off BP’s Swedish Guy

  1. Joanaroo says:

    That’s why when I mentioned that in the other post I said the Brits would probably think I was nitpicking. Yul, I can say there are people in other countries who can speak English better than we can. I think nerves in the Gulf are so raw that anything like that will be taken personally. Anyway, I just had on C-SPAN 3 coverage of the grilling. Because Tony Hayward pretty much skirted the issues and later most of what he said was I cannot answer that because I did not make that decision, they are repeating coverage. I don’t know if they knew the mikes were on, but at the end 2 committee members were talking and this came over: We will end questioning since it’s evident Mr. Hayward won’t answer anything. We need to take a break and get MMS in here. We could have done his part ourselves.

  2. catsworking says:

    Joanaroo, some of the foreigners who speak better English than many Americans come from Scandinavian countries.

    I agree that the slightest little misstatement is bound to be blown all out of proportion, and I totally sympathize with the humans and animals who are living with this ordeal every day. But turning into raving lunatics and foaming at the mouth over every perceived insult isn’t going to make things any better.

    No surprise that Tony Hayward did the dance of the 7 veils before Congress. When the chips are down, has there ever been a time when the CEO WASN’T exposed as a clueless suit, far removed from the reality of operations, with no idea what was going on? They why they get paid all the BIG bucks. If the CEO position were eliminated, I don’t think there’s one company that would suffer, and it would send millions, in some cases billions, of dollars straight to the bottom line.

    Instead of all this interrogating, I think Congress would serve us better by trying to track down the best minds in the world to figure out how to plug that leak and get rid of the oil without polluting the whole planet. I think I read that Belgium said it has a process that could clean things up in 3 months, rather than the 9 months we think it will take. Why isn’t Congress talking to them?

    There’s plenty of time for pointing fingers, analyzing, and blaming when this is all over. Job One right now should be to get a grip on the situation and STOP THAT OIL.

  3. Joanaroo says:

    I agree. That’s what I said about Obama’s speech, that he seems so off in the stratosphere on this. And the Repubs aren’t any better. They’re on here sniveling over everything and sniping. One from Alabama said I’m a cancer specialist and 60,000 will die from cigarette smoking so this is not a major environmental problem alone. Duh! You may get sick yourself from this, Old Boy, and who goes outside the office to smoke crude oil, even though smoking you might as well. Assholes!

  4. Joanaroo says:

    Aww, hell! They’re gonna try to get Tony to open up on this and are pissed because he had his testimony postponed for 2 weeks to prepare. You know, Yul, I wish the cats were in charge because we humans are f’ing this up royally!

  5. Tuxi says:

    Hi Yul! I came over, got on Mom’s lap, grabbed the remote and turned on Turner Classic Movies and took her phone and am setting Comcast reminders for ANYTHING but CNN and any other news or C-SPAN. News depresses her and usually she avoids watching it, but the Gulf coverage is everywhere. You know Yul, if these humans got their asses on repealing the Jones Act NOW, that much-more-intelligent foreign help would be here and start really cleaning this weekend! And this is supposed to be the smartest species? HAH!

  6. catsworking says:

    Tuxi, if more Americans knew about the Jones Act and what an outdated law it is, and what havoc it wreaks on their cruise vacations, they’d be demanding its immediate repeal. If that’s really what kept Obama from accepting foreign help, then somebody needs to put a call through to George W. Bush so he can bring Barack up to speed on how to do an Executive Order.

    Tony Hayward’s testimony has been postponed for 2 weeks so he can bone up on what his company does for a living? That’s priceless.

    Instead of Congress, I would like these guys to have to testify to a room full of cats. No cameras allowed. Just give us an hour. The person would come out looking like cole slaw, but the cats would get all the facts anybody needs. Every time.

  7. Tuxi says:

    I love that idea, Yul! Watching Tony sitting at that mike earlier, my back claws got to tingling and I was ready to go get on Amtrak to get to DC! I’m front declawed thanx to my past owner, but have marked up Mom’s legs when my back claws were long. Mom makes sure they’re clipped before I get on her lap when she’s in shorts!

  8. catsworking says:

    Tuxi, Cole, Adele, and I would all volunteer for interrogation duty. We’ve got all our claws. Mine and Cole’s are like can openers and Adele’s are very fine, like hypodermic needles. There’s hardly an inch of Karen’s skin that hasn’t been scratched over the years — most of it accidentally, of course. But she knows what kind of damage we could inflict with just a flick of the paw.

  9. MardiMcQueen says:

    I could not agree more.

    There are many legitimate things that people in the U.S. may have to complain about, but picking on this man’s choice of phrase is not one of them.

  10. Pegu says:

    Good post Yul.

  11. Zappa says:

    I’ve got claws front and back and I volunteer! I also have extra long whiskers that would tickle and torture the face of a suit-covered Human who had their hands tied behind their back.I mean,my whiskers would enhance the fact finding interview because cats do NOT torture!


  12. catsworking says:

    Zappa, you’re IN! Whiskers are an elegant touch. And there’s always the well-placed tail swished under the nose of a tied-up human to bring on a fit of uncontrollable sneezing. But before that begins, the show of nonchalance. Standing on the human’s lap, facing forward, then going into a good S-T-R-E-T-C-H with claws extended into the thighs, and a rosy pink butt-hole raised to the human’s face. They love that.

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