Yes, the French may be many things -- arrogant, supercilious, self-righteous. They may use too much cream in their cooking, not bathe frequently enough, and insist on their narcissistic notion that, Civilization -- il est France.But on
, they were right. Pure and simple. Iraq
So, is that supposed to be…. funny? The writer, Ted Reinstein, can’t even get his French right ["La civilisation, c’est la
One topic that keeps coming back for some reason is WWII. You’d think that by now, some 2 generations later, it would be an old story. But no, some people seem unable to ever forgive
was known more for knuckling under to the Nazis than for aiding the fight against fascism. True, the lonely heroism of the vaunted French Resistance was real and legendary. Last week, one of its last surviving heroes, Lucie Aubrac, who freed her husband from the Gestapo, died at 94. But during the war, while Aubrac risked her life in the resistance, crooner and later-movie star Maurice Chevalier smiled like a stuffed pig and performed in France for occupying S.S. brass. And who is the more famous Frenchman today? "Gigi" beats the Resistance. Paris
Well, that is a bit.. passé, isn't it? Even if it were so in
When you think of it, this obsession for WWII France is ironic since it is after all Nazi Germany that was the big “evil” back then. Yet it seems the Americans are much more likely to forgive the Germans, even today.
While its position regarding
was similar to the French one, Iraq has a much more favorable score (83%), having returned to the same level as before the Germany crisis. (Le Figaro via WatchingAmerica. ) Iraq
A(Le Figaro via WatchingAmerica. )
poll conducted last month indicates that only 57% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Gallup . The country's image is improving but remains far below what it was before 2003, which was largely positive (70 to 80% favorable). France
Reinstein is right about something – it is not all Americans who bash against the French, but mostly Conservative pundits and their anti-French rhetoric is actually meant against liberal Democrats.
Conservative radio jocks called the French "wine-drinking, cheese-eating, surrender monkeys." (Which, truthfully, was only a slight recycling of the right-wing's usual label for liberal Democrats.) TheBostonChannel.com
Now this has had some direct consequences:
The opinions Americans have of
today varies according to their political sympathies: 69% of Democrats hold a favorable opinion, versus 40%for Republicans. Such a gap didn't exist prior to 2002. (Le Figaro via WatchingAmerica. ) France
You’d think the failure in
"The anti-French mechanism" declares Jeremy Shapiro, "is about betrayal, ingratitude, and the cowardice of
- and the conflict in France crystallized this image. No matter what a person's political stripe, no one making policy would dream today of saying: I agreed with the French in 2003 …" (Le Figaro via WatchingAmerica. ) Iraq
Hence the WWII jokes which fuel the myth of French cowardice. Even though the French government has kept a low profile, avoiding the arrogant I-told-you-so rhetoric, it is sometimes not forgiven to be right. (Of course, I personally disagree that Chirac was right but one must admit his vision of potential regional chaos has come true.)
Granted, the French are not more virtuous – there’s plenty of Anti-Americanism in
In the end, I don't mind a bit of French bashing if it were at least funny.... .