Friday, July 27, 2012

A Saturday in July, the 14th

The 99th Tour de France ended on the Champs-Elysées in Paris last Sunday, July 22nd, 2012. It is always exciting to watch the cyclists arriving near the Seine River and to get the first glimpse at the Eiffel Tower. Luckily it was a beautiful sunny day because when it is raining the cobblestones on the boulevard can be dangerous. I watched it all on my little TV in my kitchen and took some pictures (they are not very good though.)

As expected Bradley Wiggins (Wiggo) from London, England, was the winner of the Tour. There was not too much suspense because Wiggo has kept the yellow jersey for quite a while. The last day of the Tour was the 20th stage. It started that morning in Rambouillet and the only suspense was in finding out who would sprint on the Champs-Elysées and win the stage. Mark Cavendish from the Isle of Man in England was the winner of the stage. So England did very well in the Tour this year – actually this was an historical win as it was the first time the Tour was won by a subject of her Gracious Majesty. There were British flags en force in Paris. (photo courtesy below NBC.) Click on collage to enlarge then on each photo to biggify.

We have already heard that next year, for the 100th Tour de France, it will start in the island of Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean Sea and will be there for three stages. The Tour has never been on Corsica Island yet. It will leave from the port of Porto-Vecchio on 29 June 2013 (on the bottom right hand corner of the island shown in the postcard below.) The next two stages will end in Bastia (upper right) and Ajaccio (on the left.) Then it will leave from Nice on the French Riviera. But we have to wait for over 11 months to watch it… sigh…

My last post published on July 13th had been pre-programmed because we had left earlier that week for Tennessee to visit our daughter and family. It was the birthday of our youngest grandson on July 13th. I made a cake – it was not very attractive and the birthday boy was not quite sure what he was supposed to do with it, nor the candle.

Once a piece of cake was given to him he did not wait for everyone to be served to eat his slice and finish it very quickly.

Here he is below the next day, on Saturday July 14th and also with his mommy, saying goodbye to us at the end of our stay.

Early on that Saturday of July 14th, I had watched the Tour de France live on TV. It was the 13th Stage which started in Saint Paul Trois-Châteaux, a small town in Provence. The French tourist site says that it is a very ancient fortified town. It has some Roman ruins and medieval remains of a 14th century ramparts and synagogue, a 12th century cathedral and church. Below are pictures of a street in the village, a lavender field nearby and the Tour de France leaving it.

Then about 3 hours later the Tour ended in Cap d’Agde which is one of the largest leisure ports on the French Mediterranean, near the town of Agde. Within the beach is a large family-style “naturist” resort with about 40,000 daily visitors during the high season. It is considered THE naturist destination. Nudity is mandatory on this beach but optional in the nudist area. The postcard on the top of my post is from the Cap d’Agde and below is the town and the cap (courtesy NBC Sport and newspaper La Dépêche.)

That Saturday, the 14th, my daughter was working, but my son-in-law, the grand children and my husband decided to go for a walk. The Tour for the 14th was ending, so I stopped watching TV.

Bike 163 (Courtesy Bicycle Clipart)

I opted to stay and look on my computer to see if I could find anything on the 14 of July celebration in Paris – Bastille Day. I found some articles on the French newspapers and some pictures (courtesy of FrenchNews.)

Then I looked on the Web and found US articles on Bastille Day, too. One article was fine but there were some comments below it. I know I should not have looked at them. Usually most of the comments about France are very negative – on any subject. But I did read them. Well – as usual they were not very nice. I know I should not have continued reading, but in a way I was like hypnotized. I thought that since 2003 French bashing had become less popular, but I was wrong – it is as strong as ever. When my husband came back, I showed him the comments but most of the worst ones had been deleted by the administrator of the site. Here was one “Q: What's the motto of the French Army? A: Stop, drop, and run!.” Here is another one: “The French don’t bathe – French women do not shave their bodies and can make braids out of their under arm hair.” I told him that I had read many comments which were a lot more offensive. He asked me if I knew why this was still so prevalent. So I read up about it – all week. I found many articles, blogs, columns, and pictures on this francophobia (Wikipedia says that this a term that refers to a “dislike or hatred” toward France, the People and Government of France and Francophonie.)

I was not going to write about this on my blog as I had written part of a post on this before. It was toward the end of my post on St Pierre et Miquelon on September 4, 2009 – you can read it here. But then I remembered a post I read last June in a friend’s blog, Friko’s World, “Why Are So Many Of You So Much Better Off Than Me?” where she lamented, jokingly, the fact that most posts were positive, rosy, showing enchanting lives with no pessimism, sadness or angry feelings. So I thought I would write about this francophobia now. I am not looking for mean pictures to illustrate my post, so I’ll just show some paintings from Albert Marquet who was born in Bordeaux, France in 1875 and was a roommate of Matisse in art school in Paris.

Le Pont Neuf in Paris 1935 by Albert Marquet, French 1875-1947

There have been anti-French feelings here for a long time. At my first job in the early 1960s the president’s secretary disliked me immensely just because I was French. I came home many days in tears. Later, in the 1980s in the corporation I worked for in Georgia another employee there disliked me because of my origins. He would call me Frog, Miss Piggy and many names behind my back that I can’t repeat here. When in the 90s he lost his position because of personnel reduction he felt that it was my fault. He started to call my answering machine at night and leave dirty messages, calling me mean and ugly names. After a year the messages turned quite threatening. My boss said not to worry. I had one of the supervisors listen to them. He said if his wife received such threatening phone messages he would send them to the police. So I did. The Police said it was a crime to threaten someone over the telephone lines and listened to the messages. They told me they were concerned. They took care of it.

Festivities in Les Sable d’Olonne in 1933, Albert Marquet, French 1875-1947

During the Iraq War, I received nasty emails about France even though I am a citizen and live in the USA. Some papers were even stuck on walls close to my cubicle saying “First bomb Iraq, then France.” Once while driving my Pontiac which had a small French flag on the bumper, a guy in an elevated pick-up truck (the kind that sits high on huge tires) kept coming closer to my car into my lane until I was forced to drive into a ditch. Then he left giving me a dirty gesture while yelling to go back to my F*+%$ country. Luckily my car did not overturn and I was more mad than scared. I read then about a French woman in Houston who had lived there for decades whose house was vandalized with red paint saying “Go back to France” and another French man whose windshield was broken. I remember when Condoleezza Rice said “Punish France, ignore Germany, and pardon Russia.” Unfortunately these anti-French sentiments have survived and are still rampant. They have become mainstream.

Le Pont St Michel at Paris, Albert Marquet, French 1875-1947

Some people will say that these comments come only from bigoted, ignorant people, or people with slow brains, but they come for everywhere. As I was watching the Jon Steward show, which is very liberal, Jon Stewart said in answer to his guest: “Nobody likes the French. I think it’s a given – even enemies can agree …nobody likes the French”(Jon Stewart March 8, 2012 Comedy Central Show.) I was so surprised that I copied his words. Just last week Jay Leno made a joke about the American athletes at the upcoming Olympic Games: “We have American athletes in uniforms made in China, wearing French berets. I don’t know if we’re supposed to compete, ask for a loan or surrender.” –Jay Leno, July 16, 2012. Everyone laughed – it has become part of the pop-culture. On another talk show I heard the host talking about parties in Washington, DC, where Republicans and Democrats sit apart until someone says “have you heard the last good one about the dirty French” and, he said, everyone stops, listens and laugh. Everyone “Hah! Hah!” Just think if he had inserted the word “Jew, black, Italian, German or …” he would have been reprimanded for sure, but saying “dirty French” is quite OK and nobody minds.

Le Vieux Port de Marseille 1916-1918, Albert Marquet, French 1875-1947

I did find an interesting research by the Brookings Institute. This is a highly regarded non-partisan public policy organization “think tank” made of more than 300 scholars specializing in various fields. Their research on French-bashing concluded that there had been a persistent campaign of disinformation about France and this had come from the Bush Administration. I’ll quote some of this research here but you can read it at the site here.When it became clear that France was becoming a major hurdle in the run-up to the war, the parts of the Bush administration favorable to an early war and their allies increasingly used France both as a scapegoat….to discredit opposition to the war by branding it "French," hence unpatriotic. Bashing France, denouncing it as the active agent of anti-Americanism… was a way to incite patriotism and coerce the opposition, from the anti-war movement to Republican dissenters, into acquiescence.”

Le Louvre et Pont Neuf – 1906, Albert Marquet, French 1875-1947

Well after all, it was the commissary in the Congress of the United States where Freedom Fries were born. To this day Fox News repeats many of the old untrue allegations that were “leaked” to them by “anonymous sources.” But people watching TV think they are true and so they are kept alive. There is no objectivity or fairness anymore when it involved France, at least by the majority here.

La Rochelle 1920, Albert Marquet, French 1875-1947

I did find out too that the French minority in the US is one of the smallest. France has been one of the few major European countries to have not undergone widespread immigration to the USA resulting in no lobby to satisfy or minority to pander to and no American constituency overseeing their interests. So now French-bashing is considered fashionable – people don’t notice it and children are growing knowing that these feelings are commonplace.

Les Bateaux Bleus dans le Port de St Luz, Albert Marquet, French 1875-1947

My husband has accompanied me to France many times and we spoke only in English. We never encountered any unpleasantness or rudeness – but I did here. It really pains, hurts and saddens me because I love this country and wish the hostility against France would stop. But I don’t think it will, if ever. It was so easy to find material on this - I typed “French bashing” in Big search and immediately received 6,110,000 results! So it has been a depressing week – time to breathe some fresh sea air and needed oxygen.

Rocky-Point Sunset, Alexander Dzigurski II, American born 1968

I did hear French spoken though two weeks ago – it was the first time since May 2011. It was the French movie “The Intouchables.” It is written after a true story about a quadriplegic aristocrat who was injured in a paragliding accident and a young man from the projects. It has won several awards.


Thérèse said...

Too much to write on the subject. I prefer to skip a comment though we were lucky in Arizona and I would only say "just show who you are by your acts" and the bashing should decrease by itself.
For the Tour de France: I usually look at the results a few years later to see who the winner was... :-)

Kay said...

I had no idea there was more prejudice than what Bush caused with his "Either you're with us or against us" sort of mentality with Iraq. The ridiculousness of it all was aggravating! Freedom fries? Crazy!

We've been to Paris and everybody with the exception of one grumpy patisserie counter person were as friendly and polite as could be. I'm going to apologize for all the dunderheads whose prejudice is showing their ignorance.

Helsie said...

I don't hear comments like that against the French here in Australia. They do have a reputation for rudness towards tourists but on our recent holiday we never experienced anything but pleasantness. Perhaps snobby waiters in big hotels are the cause???
We're happily planning another holiday and looking forward to another pleasant cultural experience and though our French is rudimentary at best, we enjoy giving it a go and find most French people happily encourage us.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Frankly, I do not understand this hatred of France and all of the French Bashing. My own personal experience in France was nothing but positive and wonderful. Everybody---and I mean EVERYBODY was so very nice to me---I know it was a long time ago, but, I was warned---even back then---'Oh The French hate Americans'...
Well, I did not find that to be the case, at all.
As to the Politics of it all---I do not understand that and I never did...I can only go by personal experience, and that was ALL Positive. So I find this French Bashing really horrible and very 'racist'. It makes me feel bad that this is how so many Americans behave regarding France. And as you say---Substitute any other people and think how horrible we would all feel about that! Why is it that people always have to have someone to out down and/or hate? Does that make them feel better about themselves?
I will never understand it.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

That should be "PUT DOWN"...sorry about that, My finger slipped over to the "o" and I didn't catch the mistake when I read my comment over before posting my comment....

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I am very offended by the French bashing that took place and think it is a real shame. For a time there people were not even buying French wine if you can imagine that. We love France and when we've been there, the French people have been very gracious to us.

I had someone say to me once, "I wouldn't go to France if someone paid me." To that I said if you find that someone, please let me know and I'll happily go in your place. It's a shame most people who say bad things have never been there and don't know what they're talking about.

Your grandson is adorable. How nice that you daughter lives nearer now and makes visiting easier.

DJan said...

The Intouchables is coming to my independent theater and I am looking forward to it very much. I think the French bashing that began with Bush is a symptom that our country is in dire straits. We are now trying to find someone to blame for the fact that we have become a jingoistic, intolerant people. It saddens me to no end, and I hope that we come to our senses.

Down by the sea said...

I was shocked reading your experiences and findings from the research you did,such a dreadful shame. My children have worked in a French cafe for many years run by a Frenchman and Pascal is one of the nicer people you could meet, and his food is good too!
Sarah x

Kay Dennison said...

How I envy you getting to see "Wiggo" cross the finish line!!!! Your photos are excellent!!

As to the French, I don't hate people based on their nationality. In fact, I don't hate anyone -- it's a waste of energy and bad for one's psyche.

FilipBlog said...

I am always astonished to see how heavy the Tour de France is. Great collages.


chlost said...

Your post started out so happily, with your grandson....what a sweetie! By the end, I was so sad and disgusted. I, too, heard the "rumors" of anti-American feelings in France, and we also were treated wonderfully by all but one very cranky shopkeeper. I think she was cranky to everyone, though, not just to Americans. I would visit France again in a minute. I apologize for the stupidity, laziness and outright racism of these Francophobes. Education is the only thing that has a chance to change preconceptions, but with the media's lack of intelligent coverage and the social media's encouragement of hateful trolling on websites, it seems to be a losing battle. I will try to do my part to fight it in my little corner of the world. I personally love the fact that you are originally from France!!

Gail Dixon said...

I enjoyed seeing your little grandson and his cake. Such a cutie pie!! Bet you hated leaving him. He is adorable times 100!

Reader Wil said...

Merci de votre post! Je suis triste pour le hostilité contre les francais .. C' est idiot. On ne peut pas juger une nation pour les actions de son gouvernement. Aux Pays Bas on dit les même choses contre les Américains parce que ils avaient élu les présidents Reagan et les deux Bush. Moi, je connais beaucoup d'Américains qui pense comme vous et moi. Heureusement il y a des gens aimables aussi partout dans notre monde. Vous même êtes toujours aimable!
Votre petit-fils is mignon! En Australie j' ai vu ma petite-fille qui avait né en février, pour la première fois .

Reader Wil said...

You asked about my flight from Australia to Amsterdam. Yes it takes a long time. First 7 hours from Cairns to Hong Kong , then 12 hours from Hong Kong. This time we had a 28 hours delay due to a typhoon in Hong Kong. I was dead tired when I came home. The good thing was that we found people with whom we could talk and share the tedious hours of waiting without having a sleep.

joared said...

Enjoyed photos of your birthday boy and cake. I like the paintings, was unfamiliar with the artists, but I've always liked Monet. I've had little more than a passing interest in the Tour de France through the years, but enjoy views of the countryside the riders traverse.

I'm truly sorry to hear you've experienced such France-bashing. Frankly, I've had no idea such anti-France behavior was so prevalent in this country. I've always had a very romanticized view of France, took some French language classes, but never had an opportunity to practice conversationally and have long since lost what little I learned, I expect. I've always loved hearing English spoken with a French accent, unlike the accent of any other language I've heard -- such a lovely quality to my ear. Most everything French has always attracted me.

Learned with great pride in recent years that there's a possibility I have a French ancestor. I thought perhaps that explained why I was
unaccountably attracted to France.

I do recall now, the stupid Bush-era French Fries nonsense which disgusted me. I always think of our Statue of Liberty with which the French gifted our nation. I can only say that those who thrive on hate are going to focus on anyone they perceive as different from themselves whether in nationality, beliefs, appearance or any other feature. Tragically and frighteningly such people exist in every nation I think. It behooves us all to constantly discount the venom they spew and thwart any destructive actions they foment.

joared said...

I see Blogger has created strange spacing within the comment I previously wrote. That happens with some posts I write for my blog when I make a change, but then the system doesn't seem to re-edit correctly. Oh, well!

I wanted to add, I recall having a 100 yr old active patient who had a slight stroke. I was asked to treat her to see if I could aid her in speaking English since staff didn't understand her French. She had lived in this country many years, spoke English fluently and primarily. In fact, the only time she spoke French was occasionally with her daughter. However, what may happen with some types of stroke is that people may revert to their birth language -- even if they haven't used it for years. This had occurred with her as she mixed her languages. Short term memory problems prevented her from remembering to use her English with staff, so prompts to do so were constantly necessary. Aging hearing loss complicated the matter. She was a sweet lady with a very supportive family.

Marja said...

I am so sorry to hear avout the hatred against the French. I had no idea about it. I always loved France and the French people I encountered were always very friendly. I just can't believe the short sightness of people.
Your little grandchild is absolutely adorable.
I saw the movie the untouchables in the plane when I went to holland. It is one of the best movies I've seen in a while. Would love to see it again

Dee said...

Dear Vagabonde, I wasn't aware of French bashing and so I'm surprised by all I've learned in this posting. Thank you for helping me become aware.

I think that I'm still bound to the Revolutionary War and the arrival of the young Lafayette who was such a great help to General Washington and to the arrival of the French military without whom we couldn't have won the Revolution and freed ourselves from England.

I've never forgotten studying all this in school and having my teacher--a Sister of Mercy nun--tell us that the United States would always be grateful to France for her help in the Revolutionary War.

Then we studied World War I and the tremendous affection the French people had for the "doughboys" from the United States.

Then after World War II, I read fascinating accounts of the French Resistance and how the French people in the villages helped American airmen escape when they's crashed.

Then there's college where I studied the wonderful French artists--the Impressionists and others. (I so like the pictures you've shown us by Marquet. His use of shadows is memorable.)

So I haven't been aware of French bashing, but I'm not surprised to learn that it was encouraged by the Bush Administration. The tactics that group used to get us into war are well-known now, and they always let the chips fall where they would with nary a care for who got hurt.

I'm sorry that you and France must bear the burden of American arrogance. Somehow we persist in feeling that we are superior. I fear it's a fatal flaw. Peace.

Fennie said...

When I hear francophobe comments from Americans I am relieved that most could not place France on the map of the world, nor would they have a clue who financed their war of Independence, nor who made them the Statue of Liberty. Of course maybe they are just trying to take their revenge for all those French fries which have made them obese. But one of the interesting 'what-ifs' of history is what might have happened had Napoleon decided not to surrender to the British navy (he imagined fondly that he would be installed in Britain as some sort of hero and honorary duke) but instead had followed the councils of his close circle and had escaped to the USA. But he had about as much time for the USA as the USA currently has for France.

Incidentally, a propos du 'Tour,' the London Times had a brilliant cartoon showing Francois Hollande in full cricketing dress leading an army of French cricketeers down Les Champs Elysées. He was shown as exhorting 'Aux Armes, Citoyens!' Though what almost certainly the cartoonist didn't realise was that the last time cricket was contested at the Olympics, France actually won the silver medal (1902). Mind you there were only two entries! The first international cricket match between England and France was scheduled to take place on 14 July 1789 in Paris but was cancelled because of local disturbances. I wish you a tardy 'bonne fete!'

Lorraine Joan said...

Loved your posting. Almost missed the middle part about next year's tour. It will be wonderful. Enjoyed watching the Olympic roadrace with the big names. Wasn't it fun to watch them without their ear pieces and no communication with team cars? How can they compare old stats of the great French and Belgian riders like Hinalt to today's riders with so much technology and team help?

Vagabonde said...

Thérèse, Kay, Old Lady of the Hills, Sam@My Carolina Kitchen, DJan, Down by the sea, Kay Dennison, Filip and Kristel, chlost, Gail Dixon, Reader Wil, Marja, Dee - I so enjoyed reading each and every one of your comments. Thanks again for your kind words.

Fennie – I did not know France ever played cricket in the Olympics and then won a medal – that is an interesting fact. I wonder if it ever will be played again at the Olympics. Thanks for the comment.

Vagabonde said...

Helsie – Hello and welcome to my blog. Paris waiters are not the most pleasant but they are like that with everyone - as soon as one travels out of Paris though it makes a difference. Please come back to my blog whenever you can.

Lorraine Joan – I did not know the cyclist road races at the Olympics would be televised. It was a lot of fun watching them. Next year we should see some new scenery for the Tour de France in Corsica. Thanks for the comment.

Joared – That is interesting about the 100 years old French lady who forgot to speak in English. I am going to hospital on Tuesday and just finished the information form they require. Keeping this in mind I wrote “French” as primary language and added that I speak English fluently – just in case…

Mary said...

How will they cross from Corsica next year?

I've never understood the French bashing either - we loved having young French students come over to SW England in the Summer and several stayed in our home.

One Summer I pretended I was French as a young teen - my cousin and I would fool the holidaymakers from Northern England by speaking (practicing!) French and dressing in French styles - we thought we were so hip!

When I go to France now I never really have any problems when they think I'm American because I've lost my Brit accent - the people in the south were especially nice to us last visit......but perhaps because my brother and his family have lived there for so long!

One of my dearest friends here is French - she was actually my boss at one time years back.

Happy weekend - what's remaining. We lost the Olympic coverage last evening - the power went out for several hours in a huge storm. Congrats. to France - they won the 4X100 relay swim today!

Mary X

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Ginnie said...

I'm with so many of the others, Vagabonde, who have had no clue whatsoever about French-bashing in the USA. Seriously. However, because you are French, you would be more sensitive to it, so I believe you. And I hate it for you.

Right now I'm glued to the Olympics on TV and wonder if we'll ever get to the place as a worldwide community that works and plays together as one family? Is it possible?

Pat said...

Thanks for the fascinating post. I love le tour also. Corsica, huh? Should be interesting.

Love all the paintings ~ my first trip to Paris in 2009 was delightful... lovely, gracious people. Depends on one's own attitude, yes?

Jenn Jilks said...

People fear what they do not understand. I found in my years teaching in Ontario, Canada, dual track schools, that French teachers taught about the culture of Quebec, and most of the people I know do not show this animosity. My son-in-law is of Acadian descent, bilingual, and my elder granddaughter (4 yrs) loves to correct my anglophone pronunciation! She is right, of course, and both of my grandgirls speak and understand French, as do my sons and daughter.
It is a shameful way to treat one another.
We do not do that here in Ontario.
I love your wee grandson!
Gald you had a good time with the biking. I contracted tendonitis from biking in my old age. I have been forced to take it easy!
Cheers from Cottage Country!

Sally Wessely said...

My maiden name is "French" which meant that people always thought I was from that nationality. Mostly I am Welsh, Scottish, with a little Irish and British. Many of my ancestors came from the Isle of Jersey. I think they came from France originally. Because of my maiden name, I was constantly teased as a child about French kissing, and other not so nice things, just because of my name.

I have heard and seen and lot of French bashing. I think that Bush did us not favors in that department. Of course, in my opinion, he didn't in other areas either.

There seems to be a mixed message in the world at large, or even in the U.S.A. The "Lost Generation" spent time in Paris, and as an English major, I have always fantasied about being able to be a part of such a time. Also, "The Greater Journey" by David McCullough is a wonderful read about the part France played in leaving such a wonderful legacy because so many spent so much time there during the 19th century pursuing artistic, scientific, and literary development.

Perhaps it is just one of those cases of jealousy. Everyone loves to hate the French because they think they think they are superior. Jealousy makes monsters out of many.

Vicki Lane said...

Dear Vagabonde, It seems to be a nasty part of human nature to fix on groups to dislike. I'm sorry for the experiences you've had and embarrassed for my countrymen.

Is there anything comparable in France? A group or nationality that are viewed adversely?

I remember my husband saying that when he was stationed in Japan back in the Sixties, a Japanese friend asked him why white Americans were prejudiced against African-Americans. At the time, according to my husband, the Japanese were extremely prejudiced against Koreans. And Americans were commonly known as 'big nose barbarians.

Human nature can be deplorable.

Friko said...

Oh dear. It is too bad.

As you know I come across a lot of German-bashing in the UK. I dislike it but the only thing that helps me is to allow myself to feel superior. If you were as nasty as the French-bashers, wouldn't there be a lot you could say in return about sections of the USA and some US citizens. But, as you have better manners and a higher intelligence, you do not indulge in such practices.

Dee said...

Dear Vagabonde, just another comment--brief this time I hope!--about a series of books I'm reading that take place in a small French village. The main character is Benoit Courreges, whom everyone calls Bruno. He's the chief of police. I'm learning so much about the ambience of a French village and the people there. And the books are a delight to read. Just in case you might be interested in exploring these, the author is Martin Walker and he lives in the southwest of France and in Washington, D. C. The name of the first book in the series is "Bruno: Chief of Police." It was published in 2008.

Fennie said...

Vagabonde, Yes - as cricket has never again featured among Olympic sports France remain the silver medallists to this day. On checking my memory by looking up Wikipedia I find that it was 1900 not 1902. And the 1789 match that was cancelled was replayed in 1989 (and France won!) Well, it would have been uncharitable as it was the bicentenary to have let them lose, I suppose! Thanks for your comment on my comment.

Pat said...

Dear Vagabonde,
May I just say that from way back, when my town was twinned with Le Puy I have always had a special feeling for France, the French people and all things French.
There will always be prejudice nd ignorance in the world and - if it affects us personally - we have to rise above it.
Vive la France!

Perpetua said...

Vagabonde, I'm sitting here in our little cottage in Normandy, trying to catch up with posts I've missed and am so sad to read the ignorant and deeply unpleasant anti-French prejudice you document here. As a lifelong Francophile, who studied French and German at university and loves both countries deeply, I find such racist bigotry hard to fathom.

Here in Normandy there are streets and squares named after the Americans who fought and died to liberate France. American veterans still visit and are greeted so warmly and their visits are reported in the local paper. It is a great shame such warmth and friendship can't be shown the other way.

Jeanie said...

Where to begin -- I guess with your last part -- I'm so sorry you have had to experience this kind of feeling from people in this country. I think it may well be because so many Americans are ignorant of any world other than their own. For us to travel to Europe is a big deal (unlike going from country to country in Europe so easily) and so many rarely get beyond their own state, much less to other US places or Europe. And you are spot on about the Bush administration adding to the fire. I suppose the only way we will all ever become accepting of all is when we know so many different kinds of people from all over -- and discover that they may have differences but they are indeed wonderful.

And on the tour, was so happy for Wiggo and glad he took the time trial in today's Olympics. I glue myself to the set during the Tour and am relieved that soon the Pro Cycling challenge will be on and I'll get to see biking again. It's much more fun to watch than to pick Rick up at the ER from a crash (which I did a couple of weeks ago.)

Elaine said...

Loved the photos of your grandson's birthday! What a little sweetheart, but then I guess they all are at that age.

It's sad that there are so many bigoted people in the world. We are all descended from the same ancestors and we are all part of the human family. If only everyone could embrace the differences between us instead of hating anyone different. I fear human nature will never change that much.

claude said...

Je repasse demain et je réponds à ton mail aussi.

claude said...

Je vois que tu es une grande fan du Tour de France et des beaux paysages de notre belle France.
Je vois aussi que tu défends la France et le français et tu a bien raison. Merci pour cela.
Il est beau ton petit fils.
J'aime ta façon de montrer la France en tableaux.
Je n'ai pas encore vu "Les Intouchables" mais je crois que c'est un excellent film et qu'il fera carrière aux USA parce qu'il le vaut bien.
Omar Sy est impeccable dans ce film.

Lonicera said...

I'm horrified by what you say, which is racism pure and simple. In the UK I've always been proud of the fact that racist sentiment is fought and regulated against. And yet, and yet.... there is a form of French bashing. Not the disgusting type you describe, but humorous mentions of the old enmity and jokes about not liking the French.

For what it's worth, having observed over a summer the endless conflicts when a French (male) student came to work at the wholesale seed merchants where I was employed at the time, I can say that to me the problem was obvious. Having been brought up in a Latin country and living my adulthood in an Anglo Saxon one, (and you too) the two ways of looking at the world seem always to be in conflict. I can't speak for the US approach, but here they deal with these differences by making jokes about it, often in very poor taste. I've never heard serious insults, though the humorous ones are no less acceptable. What you describe is a dark side of the Land of the Free - more a case of "free to mouth off against other lands".

Stoneage tribalism.


SG said...

Amazing pictures. There was so much to read and absorb in your post. I think every country has its idiosyncracies, and well.. yes, things do get to us sometimes.
The birthday boy did look lost.. I bet it was delicious cake :-)

Vagabonde said...

Mary, Ginnie, Pie Lady Pat, Jen Jilks, Retired English Teacher, Friko, Fennie, Pat, Perpetua, Jeanie, Elaine, Claude and Lonicera - Thanks for coming to read that not-so-fun post. I’ll try to write something more pleasant next. I appreciate all your comments and the time you took to read my post.

Vicki Lane – You asked if people are also prejudiced in France. As in any country, there are prejudice people there too. I think that many are prejudiced against North Africans, immigrants or people born in France from North Africans parents. I read that there are between 10 and 15% of prejudiced people in every country, unfortunately.

Dee – Thanks for telling me about the books by Mary Walker. I’ll check them.

SG – Hello and welcome. Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you will come back soon.

Amanda said...

Your youngest grandson is gorgeous. I cannot find your email address anywhere to forward "American in France" newsletter. It had an article about french bashing. It was really interesting. French bashing is nothing new and dates way before Baby Bush era.

rhymeswithplague said...

I have been alive now for 71 years and have spent the last 37 of them in Georgia. I would like to apologize to you personally for the stupid, hateful remarks made by Americans, especially Georgians, about your native country. I think some of the Georgians must have been influenced by Atlanta radio talk-show host Neal Boortz in that regard. (I have been your neighbor in Cherokee County for the past 9 years; before that we lived for 28 years in Cobb County.)

I was delighted at the way you interspersed the ignorant racist comments with some truly exquisite paintings. It's true what they say, that a picture is worth a thousand words.

I probably would not have dignified other people's rude comments by repeating them, but your post is very important and very brave. The only way to destroy slime is by exposing it to sunlight.

joared said...

Intouchables has long been on my list of movies to see, and finally I was able to enjoy it at our local theater -- an experience I recently wrote about. Delightful!

betsy said...

Americans resent France because it is civilized and has a superior culture. I see people from all over the world immigrating here to my city(Where the symphony just went bankrupt and where the Bank of America foreclosed on the symphony Hall.) I have never seen immigrants from France. Why would they leave?

You being an exception, but you came here in happier times during the American "Camelot".

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