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Monday, January 03, 2005

Then there is that Jerry Lewis thing...

Here’s a lesson on how to defeat your argument in your own byline. Antoine Audouard penned the linked OpEd for the New York Times entitled “America’s ridiculous hatred of the French.” The International Herald Tribune (New York Times' European outlet distributed out of Paris, France) couldn't pass on this tripe.
Absolutely delicious. Here we have a French citizen and author trying to make the point that there is no need for an adversarial attitude towards the French, and he offends his intended readership even before he starts. We’re “ridiculous” for holding the opinion dear Antoine? Let me assist you in diplomacy just this one time. Try this byline:

“Romance Writer had an Opinion, and the New York Times had Some Space”

Mr. Audouard is amazed by the “French-bashing in the media.” Personally, I’m of the opposite ilk. I’m amazed by the patronizing embellishment of the French contribution of civilized homogeny. Sure, there are the stereotypical, knee jerk jabs at the French psyche and military history. There are the consequential references to dairy products and linen white battle flags. There are the anecdotal references to body odor and insolence upon visiting the “City of Lights.” And, yes, there are mimes.

However, those of us with access to the newspapers, or the internet have, somewhat, more of an arsenal when it comes evaluating our “alleged” ally. We have factual references. We have quotes from your President. We have personal experiences from visiting your nation.

Let me respond by quoting your designated and elected leader, President Jacque Chirac as he addressed the European Union Summit in Brussels on November 5th, 2004.

"It is evident that Europe, now more than ever, must strengthen its unity and dynamism when faced with this great world power," Chirac said. "More than ever, we must reinforce Europe politically and economically."

Of note should be that President Chirac was elected to the high office with 82% support of citizenship. I would ask Mr. Audouard if that sounds like the words of an ally, or as someone diametrically opposed to the United States’ current status. There is no mention of support. There is only rhetoric in the direct hindrance of American policy and economics. But, that’s too undemanding of a response. We know how the French enjoy the complication in foreign policy and continental relationships.

The United States is a sovereign and capitalistic republic. With the exception of some misguided left-over hippies, and European transplants, we view Socialism as an obstacle to advancement, success, and achieving valid goals. France, on the other hand, coddles and deifies Socialism in their press, and in their government. In March 2004, the Socialist Party, solidly, advanced their candidates in the French Government. That doesn’t translate well with the average American. In fact, it is significantly counter opposed to the very foundation of our Country. That’s not “ridiculous” Mr. Audouard.

We accept that France, under the direction of your elected government, vehemently, opposed US intervention in Iraq. However, was it necessary for your President to refer to supporting European nations as “infantile” and “reckless?” Was if necessary for your, overwhelmingly elected, President to make the statement that those not in line with the conventional “wisdom” of France “missed a good opportunity to keep quiet.” Was it necessary for France to state through the United Nations Security council that they would not support the war in Iraq “"under any circumstances". Even if France was against the Iraq War, that very statement emboldened Iraq to consider the ramifications of continuing to defy the UN Resolutions. In that one statement, France, sabotaged any peaceful regime change. Such scorched Earth politics with 25 Million lives in the balance is nothing short of an international temper tantrum.

Do you see the trend here Mr. Audouard? We don’t hate the French any more than we hate our Mothers’-In-Law. We hate the constant opposition, and the juvenile rationalization. We hate the ideology of collective thinking that stunts innovation, creativity, and advancement. We hate the concept of “we’ve always done it that way so why change.” We, fervidly, have voluminous disdain for those who placate in the sacrifice of what is right, what is admirable, and what is necessary.

I’m not so sure we, even, hate the French. More likely, we empathize with the common Frenchman being led astray by your media and collective toting government. We are more specific in our animosity. We hate folks like you who veil the truly valid argument in placating generalizations on a known liberal leaning sounding board.

It is understandable how your government and your citizens dislike that the United States as the solitary “super power” on the big blue marble. We understand this trepidation only because we understand your line of philosophy. You put yourself in our place, and realize that, historically, France could not handle the post. Therefore, how could any other country, successfully, fulfill the duty? We understand your necessity to encourage the European Union to advance relationships with China in an effort to (what?) even out the balance. That is the prerogative of your nation. We understand this viewpoint even if we don’t agree with it. Therefore, when an entity acts in such a reckless fashion of self-interest we are apt to consider the value of holding such an alliance politically, economically, and, yes, emotionally.

Malaysia’s acting Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, in October 2003 addressed a conference of Islamic leaders. He stated the following:

“Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them. 1.3 Billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews, therefore Muslims must unite against the Jews for a “final victory.”

Here in “hateful” America it takes all of two seconds to contemplate the necessary response to such bigotry and ignorance. There would be no political cow towing on the matter. We have no qualms about calling Mahathir Mohamad an ass. With such comments and ideology, he has earned the label.

However, your nation was represented thusly. President Chirac, strongly, argued that the European Union should not disparage Mahathir for his asinine and inflammatory comments. Initially, Chirac fought hard for that position. Eventually, he caved when it became apparent that he held a strong personal friendship with the troglodyte. It was the same type personal friendship that Chirac held with Saddam Hussein for thirty years. Do we hate France for such misguided camaraderie? No. We hate what you stand for and fail to take a stand for.

We hate that your nation openly supported terrorists such as Yasser Arafat. We hate that your patronizing of his endeavors gave him gravitas. We hate that your President was the only non-Arab world leader to attend, Hafez Assad’s funeral and make comments such as this:

"A statesman who was attached to the grandeur of his country and the destiny of the Arab world, President Assad has marked history for three decades," Chirac said.

President Assad was a terrorist supporting, anti-semitic peckerhead Mr. Audouard. Most of the free world acknowledged that. France did not.

We hate that you don’t understand what we hate about you. Whether it be wrapped in a false superiority, a self-imposed enlightenment, or a syndicated re-run of “Father Knows Best,” it truly doesn’t matter. The very fabric of the United States plays directly opposite to the mentality that we take direction and demands from a subordinate. France has yet to acknowledge that accolades are earned, as is respect. France will never understand that they do not exceed the United States in strength, economy, integrity, or intellectualism. While the US is willing to avoid the obvious mismatched comparisons, France continues to try and bring those comparisons to the forefront. It doesn't matter if we can run faster than you Mr. Audouard. Just don't think that we'll listen to you when you ask us to slow down for your own benefit.

I invite Mr. Audouard to explore the following references of “indignation.” Some embrace the usual “soup du jour” accusations that don’t hold Bordeaux. Others, well, looking in the mirror, Mr. Audouard, can sometimes reveal a disappointing countenance. The trick is to study the man in the mirror, and not the clothes. Anyone can wear Pierre Garroudi. Some make it look good. Others are just covering up what’s underneath.

--Saddam paid off French leaders By Bill Gertz THE WASHINGTON TIMES

--The socialists and their allies won 50% of the second-round votes--BBC

--France's gutless wonder December 13th, 2004

--Iraq may be on the edge but France has hit rock bottom abyss By Mark Steyn (Filed: 23/08/2003)

--France motivated by its own oil argument January 23, 2003

--THE CANARY IN EUROPE'S MINE By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist Copyright 2002, The Boston Globe


Linked to the (OTB Traffic Jam)

Addendum: Looking closer at the publication of Antoine Audouard's piece I happened upon something that further compromises the position of the author...or more aptly, the media outlet. Consider that Mr. Audouard's piece in the International Herald Tribune ran under the byline "America’s ridiculous hatred of the French.” However, the same piece, exactly, ran in the New York Times under the byline "Behind Enemy Lines." Think about that for a second. In the US (New York Times) the connotation is one of sarcasm in the reference to the US as the enemy.

Yet, in the European release of the very same piece, the title comes right out and describes Americans as "ridiculous." There is nothing of sarcasm in that lead.

Consider that the premise of Audouard's OpEd is to point out that Americans have no basis for the animosity towards the French. Then why, exactly, does the piece hold two very different titles determined purely by the reader. I would suggest that the animosity is valid...and the New York Times (and International Herald Tribune) just showed us a good example as to why.

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