Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Trains that run on time

Civilized humanity is thinking today, of course, about the earth-shaking events of a certain September 11, seen by most of us on TV, that nobody is likely to forget.

Jumping from one subject to another. In France, there's a profound old saying: Nobody's interested in trains that run on time. It means that people are concerned—indeed excited—by things that go wrong [look, for example, at the mind-boggling drama of the McCann vacation in Portugal], whereas we tend to forget about things that go right.

French trains have the habit of running on time, and this means that they're rarely front-page news... except when they break speed records. See my blog of 3 April 2007 entitled Fast track [display].

The publicity people working for the French railway system, called SNCF, have produced a nice website based upon the theme that nobody's interested in trains that run on time. It starts out by suggesting that maybe you might be interested in an exotic animal known as the Crowned Propithecus of Madagascar.

Chances are that you're even less interested in this beast than in French trains that run on time. So, we're back to scratch... unless you click the above banner, to see a delightful mini-show of the beast talking and acting like a robotic SNCF lady. Brilliant publicity work.

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