A councillor in Paris has sparked mirth online after suggesting that rats in the city be considered as ‘big field mice’ and celebrated for their contribution to rubbish control.
Green councillor Douchka Markovic was speaking at a Conseil de Paris event on July 7, when she was asked about the well-known rat problem in the capital by Paul Hatte (Les Republicains, centre-right-wing).
She responded that she prefers to use the term ‘surmulot’ to describe the animals as it has “fewer negative connotations”, she said.
"Je préfère les nommer surmulots (...) Nous devons nous interroger sur de nouvelles méthodes efficaces et non-létales"— BFMTV (@BFMTV) July 8, 2022
Interrogée sur la dératisation, une conseillère de Paris préconise de "boucher les trous" dans les logements pic.twitter.com/PByFvv5phk
The word ‘surmulot’ in French loosely translates as ‘big field mouse’ (the words sur, meaning ‘over’ or large, as in ‘oversize’; and mulot, meaning field mouse or mole), but is in reality just another kind of rodent.
This comment provoked laughter in the crowd, but the rest of her answer also prompted mirth.
She said: “[They are] our waste control assistants. We must firstly note the role played by the animals on a daily basis in the sewers, with the evacuation of several hundred tons of waste and the unblocking of pipes.”
She called for more ways to manage the rat population in Paris such as closing up holes that enable the animals to enter older buildings, rather than looking for “lethal methods” of extermination.
Ms Markovic’s ‘renaming’ of rats as ‘surmulot’ also prompted mockery on social media.
One user wrote: “Here’s an ‘over-chair’ (surchaise),” with a photo of a bench.
Voici une surchaise : https://t.co/finhdRRLPv pic.twitter.com/D4MwbHsUyo— PacoCoco (@NitnerocP) July 7, 2022
Another said: “Here’s an over-cat (surchat)”, with a photo of a tiger.
Voici un surchat. https://t.co/hs75Fgnoar pic.twitter.com/pHSN9JdeNI— Emmanuelle Ducros (@emma_ducros) July 7, 2022
One joked: “To avoid any stigmatising discrimination, the film Ratatouille will be renamed Surmulotatouille.”
Pour éviter toute discrimination stigmatisante, le film Ratatouille sera rebaptisé Surmulotatouille— Christophe Conte (@christopheconte) July 7, 2022
While another asked: “So in Paris we no longer say ‘traffic jam’ but rather ‘over-traffic’. Do I have that right?”
Yet another posted a famous photo of the group of musicians known as the ‘Rat Pack’, calling them “The Surmulot Pack”.
The Surmulot pack pic.twitter.com/WKVbo4cQDh— One day After school (@ErwanRannou1) July 8, 2022
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