As I’ve mentioned many times, I keep an internet “eye” on who is discussing or mentioning Romania worldwide. With a basic knowledge of ngrams and the use of a few tools, it’s a rather easy thing to do.
Yesterday I was shocked and angered to come across this piece from Michael Noer, an editor at Forbes magazine, followed up by a few equally racist and idiotic updates.
Mind you, I expect people to be ignorant about Romania. Just yesterday I linked to a young man who was surprised to see a modern mall in Arad. Ignorance is excusable because until you know, well… you just don’t know.
I for one am completely ignorant on the subject of Japanese poetry. I do not, however, pretend that I know something about it nor do I have the temerity to ask people to pay me to write articles about Japanese poetry.
Racism plus ignorance, however, is a deadly combination and that’s exactly what Michael Noer is up to. Look at the opening line:
Some of my colleagues have been accusing me of wanton sadism simply because yesterday I sent Forbes reporter Jon Bruner to Romania on five hours notice just to stress test laptop computers.
So his colleagues accuse him of sadism (taking pleasure from pain) because he sent a well-paid American reporter on a commercial jetliner from New York to Bucharest to test some laptops? No.
Aside from the minimal preparation time (five hours notice), what exactly is so painful about flying on a plane with a suitcase full of modern laptops? Or getting paid to “stress test” them, whatever that means?
Oh… it’s because it’s Romania. God knows what torture it is to be sent to Bucharest and stay in the Marriott with all your expenses paid! Good lord, how will this poor reporter ever survive?
Meanwhile of course, Noer is writing in a “hee hee I’m just joking” manner where he reveals that in fact that he does enjoy making this poor reporter suffer.
It gets even better (or worse, if you are Jon Bruner). It turns out that Bucharest is also infested with something in the neighborhood of 100,000 semi-starving, feral dogs. These aren’t the “nice puppy” sort of homeless hounds that can be bought off with a spare milk bone or two (See: “Stray Dog Kills Japanese Man in Romanian Capital“).
Uh, let’s see here. In exactly 10 seconds, I found this Wikipedia article detailing how many people were killed by dogs in the United States. Yes it’s true that a stray dog killed a Japanese businessman in Bucharest in 2006 (I’ve written about this both here and in my book). But in the same year twenty-nine Americans were killed by dogs, including a child named Matthew Davis, aged 10, who was simply walking home when his body was ripped to pieces.
I even wrote (on Twitter) to this asshat Michael Noer to see if he would respond, and included the link about dogs killing humans in the USA and got no response.
It only took about a minute online to find Michael Noer’s Wikipedia entry and see he spent 15 months traveling through Europe, paid for by a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship grant that specifically mandates that the recipient spend at least one entire year outside of the United States. I’m assuming that this “stay away for a year” clause is there specifically to force idiots like Michael Noer to learn about new cultures.
Did it work, in this case? Apparently not. The guy looks like a lifelong idiot, from a college paper on Santa Claus to… a business book about Santa Claus… to an incredibly misogynistic piece warning men not to marry women with intelligence and money. Nice work if you can get it.
So let’s review. A misogynistic, Santa fetishist editor of Forbes cruelly and sadistically sends a cub reporter to Bucharest, a city “infested” with an army of homicidal dogs, purely to “stress test” some laptops. Right.
Looking at his profile on Forbes, I see those 15 months were spent in “Western Europe and Scandinavia”. Why not Eastern Europe? Don’t tell me it was impossible as I myself went to Communist nations in the 1980’s on the very same American passport Noer has. My guess is this chickenshit was just too scared to go anywhere besides London, Stockholm and Rome.
And so he gets paid to pen these idiotic racist tropes about Romania and refuses to respond to anyone who challenges him.
I realize as a “Romanian” I’m supposed to shrug and say “oh well” and get on with my life of navel gazing, Moldovan accent belittling, non-stop linking to silly pictures on Facebook, endless chitchat about how life sucks and fussing over 20 bani hikes in the price of milk and other such imperatives.
But the American in me says hell no, I’m not going to take this lying down, and so this post was written.
AND NOW YOU KNOW!