Friday, August 01, 2008

In Defence of the French...

Barack Obama was in Paris last week, wooing expatriate voters and playing 'president' opposite French head of state Nicholas Sarkozy.

Sarkozy was very diplomatic about things - stopping just short of endorsing Obama as America's next president, but admitting: "I wish Barack Obama luck — if it's him, France will be very happy."

One reporter went a little further than Sarkozy, accidentally referring to Obama as 'president' as if he'd already won the election - and forcing a rather embarrassed Barack to correct her!

Sarkozy and Obama have quite a lot in common - both being young, good looking presidential personalities who have been described as 'rock stars' rather than politicians. That goes a long way to explain why Sarkozy, although friendly with John McCain, enthusiastically supports Obama in his campaign for the White House.

France just loves Barack Obama.

I was watching this press conference during the lunch break at work - and was chatting to a colleague about how much the French seem to love Obama (snootily throwing in that my parents live in France and, therefore, I'm highly qualified to make blanket generalisations about the country.)

It was at that point that one of our bosses came in - a very senior executive. He watched the press conference for a moment or two and then said: "Do we really want a President the French love?"

He was voicing an opinion common throughout the United States - one that gained ground following 9/11, when France refused to join America and Britain in invading Iraq.

Many Americans simply hate the French.

I've always found this very curious. I mean, the level of antipathy goes beyond even the average uneducated Brit's opinion of the French - something along the lines of "Yeah, well, they all smell like garlic and don't wash, right? And the only thing France is fit to host is an invasion."

In America, people commonly accuse the French of being cowards, drearily dig up that old 'they'd all be speaking German if it wasn't for us' rubbish and I'm sure you'll remember congress renaming French Fries 'Freedom Fries' in the cafeteria.

In fact, it went so far as some people pouring boycotted French wine down the drains back in 2003! That, in my book, is the only crime worth of capital punishment.

So I say to your French-haters: 'Enough is enough!"

It's time you grew up about our friends, the French. If you'd spend less time watching American Idol and more time reading the wisdom of the great Thomas Jefferson you'd clearly see that France is America's closest ally and oldest friend.

Sure, some redneck idiots might argue 'the Frenchies would be speakin' German if it weren't for us.' But just as valid an observation is this - America would still be a British colony if it wasn't for the French.

France sent money, ships and troops to help overthrow the British rule in the thirteen colonies. In that respect, France was the midwife that helped give birth to the American nation. If it wasn't for them, an independent America would have been a long time coming - and probably along the same lines as Canada (with pictures of the Queen on their banknotes.)

France and America have certainly had their disagreements - especially recently. But to criticise and defame France, like so many American 'patriots' do, is to be utterly ignorant of that nation's long standing friendship and fraternity with America.

Go to MacDonalds this instant (or Chateau McDo as the French call it) and order yourself a jumbo serving of French Fries - and eat them with pride, mes amis!


Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Roland a good piece but I have to admist I am also not a lover of the French. I have always on many holidays just found them rude, dirty and arrogant enough to end up with a dislike! I know that's not all of them, but it's a fair percentage in my experience.

Oh and btw Sakovsky 'good looking' - mais ami "I think not"!

Anonymous said...

brit' gal sarah must have spent too much time in Paris. Even the rest of the French dislike the Parisians. It doesn't matter which country you visit, the country people tend to be nicer.
By the way the biggest spread of McDos outside the USA is in France, where it is the largest restaurant chain.

The Chemist said...

Quelle coïncidence! J'ai mange pomme frites en ce moment!