The commentary at this post by Wangkon at The Marmot's Hole reminds me of something I've long thought: the irrational, knee-jerk hatred some Americans feel toward France and the French is eerily parallel to the irrational, knee-jerk hatred some Koreans feel toward America and Americans.
I happen to like France, and maybe that clouded my judgement a bit, but none of the stereotypes we often hear about France or the French played out when I was there. My two friends from Texas felt the same. I've been to France only once, and I stayed for about three or four days, but I was not treated rudely by anyone. People were very nice, and I had a lovely time. I see more dog poop on the street in my daily jog through my part of (upscale) Honolulu than I did the entire time I was in Paris. (And I'd like to post a picture from my trip to France, but my camera was stolen while I was in London.)
Really, I think that France-bashers in America are thankless prigs who do not understand their own history, much less the value of someone not playing yes-man to your adventurism, or their right to do so.
Last year, at a gas station near the eastern entrance to Zion National Park, I was in line to pay for my petrol when I overheard the discussion between the customer ahead of me and the clerk who owned the place. The customer asked how the owner liked running the gas station with all the tourists from all over the place coming in (a positive or neutral thing, judging by the tone), and the owner replied that it was great, she liked meeting people from all over — except the French, who she would refuse to serve if they walked into her store.
In hindsight, I probably should have told the owner a thing or two, but I didn't. I considered momentarily adopting a faux French accent (not that I look at all French) and telling her all about Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier Lafayette, not to mention the Statue of Liberty, and then asking her, excuzez-moi, if she's an "Americain" or an "Americain't." Alas, I was in a hurry, and my aunt was with me and she has no patience for that kind of thing.
Happy Thanksgiving. Say a word of gratitude for some dead French soldiers if giving thanks for being in the US is on your list.
Merci. Je tiens à vous exprimer ma gratitude. Je vous remercie de tout cœur.
[above: He and his men risked their lives to help America become independent. And now his people are treated like English teachers.]
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