Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Understanding the Psychology of the French

A reader recently commented that he’d be interested to hear my views on France and its people. I must say that I am reluctant to make grand sweeping observations about a distant country, populated by millions of diverse people who, while sharing a common culture, otherwise live very different lives. To have the intellectual precocity to think that your opinions, based as they are on so little knowledge of a people, have any merit or redeeming quality sufficient to suggest that such views and observations should be publicly stated … well, I consider such precocity a most ugly and obnoxious trait.

But I'll offer my comments, only because such precocity is characteristic of every single person living in France. I know this, because I spent upwards to six hours walking around Paris on a Winter’s day, and I had a classmate in graduate school from France. If that’s not enough for you, I’ve spent over 30 hours on Air France flights in the past year, and some 5 odd hours in Air France lounges stuffing my pockets with croissants. If that doesn’t make me a bonafide Francophile, I don’t know what does.

It's probably too easy to spell out the faults of a country that arguably offered less resistance to Hitler than Eva Braun. So what I'll do is wax philosophic on the psychology of their anti-Americanism. I think that their attitude towards Americans should be viewed as a reflection of their comparative reduced stauts in the world; they think that world should be more like France, and every day they see it become more like America. They are like the really smart sensitive kid in high school who sees the quarterback of the football team get all the chicks; he curses the inability of the cheerleaders to see and value his gifts over the machismo of the football star, and longs for the day when the scales fall from everyone's eyes so that they can see that they've had it all wrong.

And what gifts do the French value? From what I can see, they value accomodating their laws regarding separation of Church and state to suit their growing Molsem population, they value anti-Semitism for its own sake, they value sitting in cafes and talking about Marxist philosophy in glowing terms, and they value sharing the opinion that the world should look up to them over and above the good old USA.


Blogger pbryon said...

You forgot to mention stuff about deodorant use and love of Jerry Lewis movies. Other than that, I think you've got them pegged.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Hatless in Hattiesburg said...

but wait! your last paragraph contradicts your previous analogy of them being like "the really smart sensitive kid". maybe they're more like "the stoner punk who hangs out behind the arcade".


3:53 AM  

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