| French-bashing favorite
French always surrender, they are cowards, ....
- Buy a French rifle on e-bay
: never used, dropped once.
- The last time the French asked
for "more proof", it came marching into Paris under
a German flag (David Letterman)
- "For some reason, France
and chicken match together" (a commercial campaign by Subway
in 2004 about a new chicken sandwich)
- "French surrender again
: this time, it's their cigarettes...": Herald, Everett
- Read my editorial about "surrender
jokes" and American
- More to come
- The French are against religious freedom
- In the US, you do not joke about religion (the French do : see the page about Charlie-Hebdo)
French are ungrateful, we saved them several times, ....
don't know why people are surprised that France won't help us
get Saddam out of Iraq. After all, France wouldn't help us get
the Germans out of France (Jay Leno)
- Read about gratefulness
- More to come
- Buy a Frenchman for what he's
worth and sell him for what he thinks he's worth
- More to come
- (an endless source of French-bashing in the economic and/or British press reporting about the attittude of the French government with its partners regarding the economic and monetary policy of the European Union) (very frankly, I can understand that...)
- They put on perfume rather
than taking a bath (read
a letter about it)
of the messages
sent to the webmaster illustrate some of the stereotypes
|The New French Bashing Now Available!
After the wave of an anti-French campaign in the US (remember the jokes about the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”?), a new form of French bashing has appeared in the US press. The previous wave was a reaction to the French firm refusal to participate in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, supposedly and wrongly to dismantle mass destruction weapons which did not exist (the only people who believed they did were in the US government). Today’s wave results from the conflict between the (US) concept of identity and the (French) concept of secularism. Now the headlines in the US press refer to France as a country where liberty is at stake and religion is persecuted. The President of France, E.Macron, took his phone to protest the reporting about France by NYT's journalist Ben Smith.
||A few examples :
- After an Islamist Pakistanese terrorist killed and beheaded a high-school teacher who had used a caricature of Mohamet in a course on freedom of expression (Oct.16, 2020), the NYT headline was “A young man killed by the police” (referring to the murderer trying to escape)
- The French government is discussing a law to put an end to the terrorist attacks in the name of Islam (see a list of terrorist attacks since 2012) by forbidding organisations which approve or support them, forbidding home-schooling which is often practised by extremist Muslims who refuse to send their kids to school. The headlines in the US press (NYT, Washington Post, etc) include : “Children swept up in French terrorism raids” (NYT, Nov.24,2020), “France is about to become less free” (The Atlantic, Nov.24, 2020), "New laws raise alarm over rightward tilt in France" (NYT, Nov.27,2020), to name a few.
- More to come
| Some French-bashers
|Jay Leno is an endless joker about the French
surrendering, smelly, etc.... According to miquelon.org he illustrated
in March 2008 "he is an insensitive patronizing buffoon"
when he asked actor Ryan Philippe about his first role as a gay
teen on daytime TV :"Can you give me your 'gayest look?'".
There is no difference between openly mocking sexual orientation,
racism and anti-French jokes.
||Bill O'Reilly does not like
France and the French. That is his absolute right. He loves to
express it on Fox News at any occasion.
||Richard Chesnoff hates
everything in France and particularly the French. See examples.
Why did he choose to buy a house and retire in this hateful country?
| ..and a few examples...
||The US press and French-bashing
- According to Fox host Sean Hannity, the two Socialist Presidents, Francois Hollande and Barack Obama, are expected to work closely together because they share a common goal: “To make each of their country the best possible version of Francennier.” and "There are already signs that Messrs. Obama and Hollande are collaborating, Mr. Hannity said, and the French know a thing or two about collaboration."
(Fox News, May6,2012)
- "Well, there's nothing funnier
to me than the French. The
French Resistance is probably the biggest mythical joke that
ever existed. There were four guys in the French Resistance.
They couldn't hand over the Jewish people fast enough. Oh, please,
don't tell me about the French. The French have all sorts of
secret deals with Saddam and everybody else for two cents a liter.
It's an easy target."
- James Douglas Muir Leno, Interview with Nikki Finke, LA Weekly.
- Former Governor of the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts, and candidate to the Republican presidential
nomination of 2008, had the unfortunate luck of having his strategy
leaked to the Boston Globe in February 2007. How does
Mitt Romney plan to discredit Hillary Clinton? By - I kid you
not - making her sound French. Mind you, Republicans had some
measured success with making Kerry "look French" during
the last election. So why not capitalize on Anti-French sentiment for the 2008 bid?
- "The French are a smallish, monkey-looking
bunch and not dressed any
better, on average, than the citizens of Baltimore. True, you
can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but
why this is more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large
glasses of whiskey I don't know." --- P.J. O'Rourke (1989).
Note " smallish ", " monkey-looking "
and " little " cups of coffee as opposed to "large
" glasses of whiskey (" big " size for a virile
drink and " inside " which seems to be more manly than
"outside " which is " stylish " and presumably
- Says Franck Costigiola (Univ.of
Rhode Island, Cahiers de l'IHTP N°28, 1994 ) : "...when
they describe France, Americans always use words used to describe
fickle woman : emotive ,
hypersensitive, hysterical, frivolous, unrealistic, unrestrained,
too much attracted toward food, drink, sex and love", as
opposed to the masculine virtues of the Americans : "...reasonable,
calm, pragmatic, efficient and wise...". Read the results of a survey (published by the L.A.Times) about the adjectives associated with the French.
For a change : HOW ABOUT A LITTLE BIT OF FRENCH-PRAISING ? Do you remember in 2003 the anti-French newpaper articles ("the French are cowards and traitors"), the freedom fries and the Beaujolais poured into the gutters of New-York after France said that the invasion of Iraq war was a stupid mistake ? I have never read any article saying that France was 100% right and the US 100% wrong ......
France and the French, as seen by the
U.S. press : zero, except for
food, strikes) or sensational happenings. Conversely, whether
you read about the USA as a superpower, an economic giant, or
a place where everyone's running amok with guns, you READ about
the U.S.A. every single day ! Among the most familiar themes
in the US press:
DID YOU KNOW
THAT....? Many French-bashers live
in France and enjoy it ! For me, this is amazing. If you hate
a country and its inhabitants, how can you happily be among them
every day ? The classical (racist) joke is "it's a nice
country : too bad there are so many French people around".
What these French-bashers like in the country is not only the
climate but things that are somehow related to the French (the
way of life, the culture, etc...) but they hate to admit it !
For me, this is a shere example of racism or colonialism : you
enjoy the landscape, the food, etc... but people are just objects.
When you are invited to spend a week-end with friends in their
cabin on Lake Tahoe, do you say :"I loved their cabin :
too bad they were there"? Among many, the list of French-bashers
living in France includes Richard Chesnoff, Richard Perle, etc...
- French-bashing and business : the California fast-train project in 2015 gives an excellent example of French-bashing. In the call for bid, the legislature demanded that the SNCF (the French railway company, one of the world leaders in fast-trains) apologize for its "participation in the Holocaust" (during the German occupation 1940-1944 of France, deportees were transferred to Germany in its cars, which had been requisitioned by the German Army after the French surrender). Among the other competitors were Siemens from Germany and Hitachi from Japan : nobody demanded them to apologize for the Holocaust and for Pearl-Harbor, but the French competitor had a special treatment, in California as in several other US States.
- Islam and French-bashing: everything about the so-called Islamic veil and the burkini raises torrents of French-bashing ; for many US medias, the French idea of secularism is just sheer hypocrisy and forbidding visible signs of a religion is the remains of colonialism etc. Read the NYT for multiple examples.
- Gripes about the French in WWII : Gis' complaints
about the French were so numerous that in 1945 the Information
and Education Division of the U.S. Occupation Forces published
a booklet summarizing, and responding to " 112 Gripes about
the French ". (read
them). One is tempted to say " Only 112 ? ".
The list is an honest and compelling one. Some of the gripes
are petty ; all are deeply felt. The Gis list cannot be underestimated.
If still today, American tourists are surprised when the French
are " nice ", or " helpful " or " not
dirty ", it' s because since World War II and before, the
image of France and the French was largely formed by the unhappy
GI. His beefs on the French returned home with him and were passed
them on until they became part of giant Urban Legend whose flames
were fanned by Francophobes like Bill O'Reilly. Read about life in France during the German Occupation.
- What is the worst anti-French
site ? I propose I
hate France ! It is filled with hate, prejudices, racism
and contains everything you can imagine and more. It is vulgar
and not funny but I assume that its author is vulgar and not
funny at all. Americans often say that the French are anti-American
but I have never seen anything like that in France, by far....
- See a funny anti-anti-French video of Bill Maher, after the Franco-American crisis about Iraq in 2003
- However : many criticisms of
the French are well-deserved : read my page about irksome
- More to come...
- Obliterated memory ? An American myth : the French refuse to look at their (ugly) past ! For many Americans, even when they know France and the French, it is common wisdom that the French do not want to see the worst aspects of their history like the Vichy government or the Algerian war. For them, only Robert Paxton dared to study the Vichy period and no book and no movie ever mentioned the Algerian war. Very frankly, this is not as true as the New York Times believes, as any serious bibliography or filmography can easily establish, but it is consistent with the image of the French that American media like to maintain (cowards, ungrateful, traitors,etc…). If you watch French TV (instead of Fox News) and read French newspapers (instead of the New York Times), you'll have a more balanced opinion....(this paragraph is under construction : it will be completed with examples)..
DID YOU KNOW
THAT....? Among his (many) anti-French statements, Thomas Friedman
wrote "(In Europe) Poland is to France what Advil is to
pain in the neck." (IHT, Dec.29, 2003). He also said "If
France was a stock, I'd sell it". What people who don't
read French don't know is that every year there is a plethora
of new books by French people deploring the decline of France,
criticizing French politicians, analyzing and scrutinizing their
country and their countrymen in the most critical way. In truth,
the French don't need foreigners to bash the French. They're
quite good at doing it themselves (see examples)....
Cyrano de Bergerac : understand the French through a play!
Cyrano de Bergerac is one of the most famous plays of the French theater. Written by Edmond Rostand in 1897, the play (in verse!) has been a constant success since and was made into an excellent film starring Gerard Depardieu (read about it). The character of Cyrano (a historical figure of the 1640s) makes him somehow a quintessential Frenchman : romantic and sentimental, too talkative, aggressive and generous, idealistic and irrational, etc. He dies at the end of the play saying that the the only thing he takes with him as he dies is his "panache". He is unsuccessful in his love for Roxane but he says beautiful words about his love, even unshared. He is very ugly, with a ridiculous enormous nose, but in his most known tirade, after someone makes fun of it, he mocks his own nose in a hyper brilliant very long tirade in which he ridicules his nose with extraordinary funny images and he concludes
Je me le dis moi-meme avec assez de verve
Mais je ne permet pas qu'un autre me le serve.
("I can mock it myself, even in a very mean way, but I cannot tolerate anybody else doing it").
Then he wins the duel with the person who insulted him. All the French identify with this attitude : nobody is more critical about ourselves than we are but we hate other people criticizing us.
Read about criticizing Americans (as seen by the French)!
DID YOU KNOW THAT....?
The first appearance of the phrase "cheese eating surrender
monkeys" to refer to the French seems to have been in
the New York Times Book Review (Ted Widmer, "The Wayward
Media", March 16, 2003), because the French government did
not support the (very intelligent...) war on Iraq. How elegant
Sources on French-bashing
In May-June 2011,when the(French) IMF director was prosecuted for alleged rape, the DSK Saga in New-York gave the gutter press a great opportunity for French-bashing...
|To related pages : intercultural differences, questions about the French, French attitudes,
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Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French.
Order her books :
- "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
- "French Toast, An American in Paris
Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press,
New York, 1999
- "French Fried, The Culinary Capers
of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001
More on Harriet's books (excerpts, upcoming
events, testimonials, etc..)
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