November 8, 2005

"Paris is burning, civil war, war zone, race riots -- the headlines, especially on TV, often have no nuance."

That's one of many complaints by the French about the bad press it's been getting. Your country is going to hell and you're begging for nuance:
The conservative Le Figaro was indignant about the way U.S. media reported from riot-hit areas such as Seine Saint Denis, the rundown area between the capital and its Charles de Gaulle airport to the north.

"American newspapers don't hesitate to compare Paris to Baghdad or Seine Saint Denis to the Gaza Strip and to call the crisis a 'Katrina of social disasters'," an editorial fumed in a reference to the recent hurricane.
I wonder how much nuance there was in Le Figaro's reports about Katrina.
Other commentators objected to the way foreign media stress the ethnic backgrounds of the rioters and the racial discrimination they complain about -- issues less prominent here because France officially does not recognise it has minority communities.
Aspirational? Or too convenient?
But the critics were not without self-criticism.

Le Figaro said the riots were "too good an opportunity to pass up, an opportunity to mock the country that claims to have invented human rights and that's always ready -- yes, it's true -- to lecture the rest of humanity."

57 comments:

Dave said...

"Your country is going to hell and you're begging for nuance"

Perhaps the most eloquent encapsulation of the French condition that I have ever read.

Dave said...

Did you see the this New York Times article in which Le Monde is quoted as claiming, ""Exhuming a 1955 law sends to the youth of the suburbs a message of astonishing brutality," the Paris daily Le Monde declared, "that after 50 years France intends to treat them exactly as it did their grandparents."

Well, yeah, that's the point: treat unruly immigrants the same so that they will assimilate themselves into French society.

jeff said...

Nuance... let's send Kerry to talk to the rioters. He'll give them nuance.

Troy said...

I think the Bush=Hitler crowd is too obtuse to see the irony in Paris=Baghdad.

There's a Malcolm X "chickens roosting" thing going on here, though not quite in the context of Malcolm's intent.

37921 said...

You know why the French are having such trouble quelling the violence?

They cannot figure out who to surrender to.

Dave said...

So, the home page of Le Figaro shows...NYC's mayor voting. They have their priorities in order, obviously.

reader_iam said...

This may be absolutely the funniest thing I've read in a donkey's age.

Like France's judgement of the U.S. etc. etc. etc. has been "nuanced"--or fair, even.

It figures that the concept of "turnabout is fair play" would prove elusive.

FXKLM said...

37942: Sadly, they haven't had much difficulty finding someone to surrender to. Part of their response was to promise to allocate more money for the rioting communities. For some reason, I haven't seen much criticism of that, but it certainly seems worthy of criticism. The French, living up to their stereotype, are trying to appease the rioters and meet their demands. It's disgusting.

Pastor_Jeff said...

"Paris is Burning" - What an interesting characterization from Le Parisien.

Does their critique of news coverage intentionally echo Hitler's famous question? So the foreign media are all vindictive francophobes?

TidalPoet said...

Oh, I so loathe to have to do this... it actually hurts. But here I go.

If we slammed French (heck, American media for that matter) media for not being fully informed before reporting on Katrina and a host of other problems - are we really better placed to return the favor?

Seems like taking the high ground is a better road here. Not ridiculing them while their society is on a course towards implosion.

That felt dirty. I'm going to go wash now.

knoxgirl said...

they use the all-purpose "nuance" defense a lot over there.

ATMX said...

Perhaps the common thread we have here between New Orleans and Paris is the French influence. So what tragedy is going to befall Quebec?

Knemon said...

"Seems like taking the high ground is a better road here. Not ridiculing them while their society is on a course towards implosion."

Oh, you're no fun.

But you're right. Yes it's a relief to have another country's dysfunction take center stage for a while, but France is an important place and their inability to keep their societal shit together is a Really Bad Sign.

Jacob said...

Nah, things are pretty chill in Quebec. The biggest problem they have is yellow margarine sneaking in (Only white margarine is allowed in Quebec). The police have snapped into action and launched raids to shut them down.

Oh and the Canadian Governor-General made a joke about a Quebecois politician being a cokehead. That's pretty much all that's happening.

P. Froward said...

TidalPoet is right. Should we take French triumphalism about Katrina and 9/11 (and so on, and so on...) as a model for our own behavior? The reason we're disgusted by that stuff when they do it, is that it's disgusting.

Besides, I'm a lot more interested in accurate information about what's going on there than I am in people pointing and laughing. The latter gets old pretty quick.

Eli Blake said...

These people are rioting because of the intolerance and discrimination they face on a daily basis. And France has a long history of intolerance, truth be told. In fact, just about four years ago, Chirac, a conservative, was re-elected with 80% of the vote in a runoff-- but that was because his opponent in the runoff, Jean Marie le Pen, was an open racist, anti-Semite and bigot against Africans, who praised Vichy French collaborators who turned Jews over to the Nazis. For Le Pen to have gotten into a runoff is the equivalent of David Duke being nominated to run for President on one of the major party tickets.

The fact that an open hate-monger like le Pen got one out of every five votes shows that France is still a country with a great deal of intolerance.

I blogged in a bit more detail about this on a team blog I am on last week.

lindsey said...

"The fact that an open hate-monger like le Pen got one out of every five votes shows that France is still a country with a great deal of intolerance."

Yeah, and after this, Le Pen will get even more votes.

Of course, the violence seems to be spreading to Belgium and Germany. There have been riots in Denmark, assassinations in the Netherlands, bombings in Spain and the Uk... let's just ignore the real issue. The crazy thing about all this is that America's poor would love to have France's welfare state.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm not laughing at them. I'm genuinely alarmed.

Ibid said...

The French are shocked the foreign media covers this like it does because they're used to mild rioting occasionally... last news year's under the eiffel tower, school kids protesting la Loi Fillion, etc... it's just the way things are, and they shutter the windows every night because they know the dangers. Only now it's quite obviously violent, and the world has taken note.

vbspurs said...

And, as mentioned, Le Figaro is the arch-CONSERVATIVE Parisian daily too.

Hated by those who read Le Monde, with a passion.

Me, I'm that rarest of righties -- I like France. Love talking the language. Even have a soft spot for the French, proper.

But the Ancient Regimists like Le Figaro have no sympathy from me.

I'd like to show them France2's coverage of post-Katrina, for them to realise what over-reacting truly is.

It was disgusting.

If anything, MSM here have barely scratched the surface of this news story.

Today, the Lehrer Report had on a self-serving ITN report, where the presenter bewailed that these riots will only serve to inflame the right-wing's passions.

They showed a Le Pen-sponsored rally with t-shirted protesters reading, Si vous n'aimez pas la France, laissez-la

Trans.:

"If you don't like France, get out".

My heart bleeds.

Cheers,
Victoria

PatCA said...

Well, we're now on Day 12 and nothing has been done (except establish a curfew, if the locals want one) so this outstrips the response to our race riots or Katrina.

12 days means this is no longer a riot--we will have to wait and see where this goes. Since Villepin is throwing money at the "community," I suspect they will be establishing and paying for a separatist enclave. I also love European culture, and I think it's in trouble.

And I thought the 1955 law was the curfew law. What's so bad about that?

Pogo said...

Ann's right. This is no cause for laughing, nor even schadenfreude.

What's even more alarming than the riots is the complete lack of recogntion by the French that they are at war.

We are watching the slow dissolution of France into Eurabia. I hope they wake up soon, very soon.

Harkonnendog said...

Lots of shadenfruede in these comments. I think France's cultural elites betrayed her... or at best failed her... and the non-cultural elites are paying the price, and will pay the price for centuries.

Very sad. Hard not to hate France's cultural elites, and hard not to take pleasure from their pain, but they aren't the ones suffering the most now...

The US suffered from the '68 generation's elites rise to power before it stifled them, but Europe is run lock stock and barrel by them, and there is no way they can deal with this. They don't have the philosophy for it.

Troy said...

Because Pat... you know... 1955 was so bad. That's the Dark Ages. Since the curfew law was used against the Algerians then it is bad. That's what passes for enlightened analysis in today's media. No analysis if a curfew owuld actually work, just sloganeering which passes for liberal discourse today -- unfortunately and to the detriment of real argument.

No schaednfreude here. I agree with harken... elites have let their working class and middle classes down (not to mention the immigrants). I don't think Chirac and deVillepin have any sort of concept of how to deal with it, which means when they do gfigure it out -- it will be extreme -- either extremely appeasing or extremely brutal followed by recriminations.

Victoria -- I'm with you on the French. Love them over all, don't necessarily trust them (at least on a policy level) but the "regular" French person has always struck me as "good people" as we might say in Texas.

Jake said...

French flights to Iraq are booked solid. Muslims over forty and the French army are fleeing to Iraq because there is much less violence there.

Troy said...

If I hear Chirac mention the word "lebensraum" or whatever the french equivalent is....

French surrender jokes notwithstanding, they are capable of putting this thing down and in a not very nice manner.

Balfegor said...

>"And, as mentioned, Le Figaro is the arch-CONSERVATIVE Parisian daily too."

Haha-- I've been trying to purchase a copy each morning to see what progress there has been on the riots (it adds up though -- $3.45 a day, here in the DC area). The first day, I couldn't find it on the newsstand, so I went up to the counter with a copy of Le Monde, and asked if they had Figaro.

I think the man there caught the meaning.

That said, though, I can't help but think that an awful lot of French commentary on the problem -- like American commentary on Katrina -- is too removed from the actual fact of the violence to give real insight into what is motivating the rioters. If I had time, I think it would be more fruitful to track down those online fora where posters are inciting their fellows to violence, and read back to see what their attitudes and concerns are. The notion that there's a direct connexion between racism and the outbreak of a responsive violence seems to me rather too simplistic as a narrative (hah! How Frenchified!) -- there must be something else. After all, the Japanese experienced massive racism before WWII (San Francisco had segregated schools, for example), and certainly after WWII too, not even counting their expropriation and the prison camps, but to my knowledge, there were never riots in the Japanese neighbourhoods of LA or SF. Racism and mainstream scorn alone may help tip people over into wanton violence, but it does not seem to me a sufficient condition.

Steven said...

I've always been astonished at the French attempts to claim the invention of human rights.

The English Bill of Rights (1689), Declaration of Independence, Virginia Declaration of Rights, and the first draft of the U.S. Bill of Right predate the Declaration of the Rights of Man -- which itself was written by Lafayette, who of course was heavily influenced by the American Revolution.

The French will point to Montesquieu and Voltaire's influence, of course, but can only claim origination by willfully ignoring the English Civil War, the English Bill of Rights, Locke, and the fact that both Montesquieu and Voltaire were explicit in their writings that their ideas were rooted in the practice of England.

Britain was the birthplace of the modern concept of rights; British America developed them; the French used them as an excuse for the Reign of Terror.

nina said...

I am dismayed at some of the comments here. France, no, much of Europe is in trouble. The tough issues that are fueling the current riots are complex and would require more than a scant reading of the press. I agree with Ann -- what is happening in France is sad. Blame can be apportioned readily, sure, but before you go ahead and float your comment that has a smell of a retaliatory anti-France stance, can't you please have empathy for the people whose lives are being shaken by the current unrest?

On another note -- I, too, of course, have noted the racial issues spotlighted by the press, but what strikes me even more is the age of those engaged in violent acts. You might dismiss the protest outright for that reason alone, but if you think about it, isn't it sad that those at the cusp of entering adulthood feel the need to resort to acts of violence simply to let the world, their government know of their level of frustration and desparation?

Balfegor said...

>"they aren't the ones suffering the most now... "

There have been very few deaths (1 or 2 I think), and surprisingly few injuries so far. It wouldn't astonish me to discover later on that the press simply hadn't reported on deaths that had occurred because the deaths were among the residents of the banlieues or something, but really, the violence seems to be directly mostly against property. The ones who are really suffering here aren't even France's non-elites -- it's a very specific subset of them: the ones who live in the banlieues. Or more specific even than that, the ones who live in the banlieues and own cars.

Pogo said...

Why is this so difficult?
This anarchist riot is part islamofascist, part mob instinct. The French may quell this uprising, but there will be another after another after another.

World. War. Four.
WWIV, year four.
We live in interesting times.

Balfegor said...

>"isn't it sad that those at the cusp of entering adulthood feel the need to resort to acts of violence simply to let the world, their government know of their level of frustration and desparation?"

Oh, to be sure. But they are adolescents. If you took a cross section even of well-to-do adolescents here in the US, and told them they could go out torching other peoples' cars and face few to no consequences for it (because everyone was doing it) I think you could gin up a pretty good sized riot right there. Possibly, being close to adolescence myself (23yrs), I simply think too little of an age group I've only just left . . . but really, adolescents are probably the easiest group to tip over into senseless violence.

If they are doing it because they think there's no other way to express their frustration (as opposed to, to consider an alternate hypothesis being bandied about, because they're the tools of drug/gun-running organisations trying to keep the police out of their havens) then certainly that's sad, but so many youths think that violence (if not against other peoples' property, then against themselves, e.g. self-mutilating, cutting) is their only viable means of communication that the riots seem much less significant. Then, it's just an expression of a high concentration of the usual disaffected youth culture, coupled with inadequate adult supervision. Lord of the Flies type stuff. Not a harbinger of anything greater.

Well--

I suppose it could lead to a kind of Islamic renaissance in the banlieues -- the rise of a kind of Taliban, there, directed towards the imposition of an absolute order within the community. I think it would be a kind of counterreaction against the rioters (i.e. people got fed up with their cars going up in flames night after night after night), rather than a development of the rioters themselves. But of course, I have no idea. I've never set foot beyond the safe touristy bits of Paris myself.

Eli Blake said...

Pogo:

This riot is WWIV? And did I sleep through world war III?

lindsey said...

Some people believe the Cold War was WWIII.

Apparently, Le Monde has reported they're now torching churches.

lindsey said...

From the BrusselsJournal.com:

Yesterday, Michel Pajon, the mayor of Noisy-le-Grand near Paris, asked for the French army to intervene and stop the violence which is taking over France. The mayor – a Socialist – went on French radio to say that what is happening in his country is absolutely appalling:



“Women have been made to stop on the streets of my town. They were dragged from their cars by their hair, they were practically stoned and their cars were set ablaze... The situation is absolutely dramatic and inacceptable. This is a real scandal. I sound the alarm bell in my town. If the state is incapable of defending us, we will have no choice but to defend ourselves. My town has a psychiatric hospital which has been attacked with molotov cocktails. This is beyond comprehension. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life. I do not ask for the resignation of the Interior Minister [Nicolas Sarkozy]. I want him to do his job. At the moment he is not doing his job.

Send in the army? I do not know, for a socialist to say that the army has to intervene is an inconceivable admission of defeat, but what I can say is that one cannot abandon the people like this. At some point we need to know whether this country still has a state.”

F15C said...

"These people are rioting because of the intolerance and discrimination they face on a daily basis."

There are significant areas of the world where there is far greater 'intolerance and discrimination' and poverty (these rioters are not impoverished by a long shot compared to the rest of the world) and yet we are not watching and reading about those people rioting.

The difference is in the people themselves.

Had these people chosen peaceful means to air their supposed grievances, most of the world likely would be in support of their actions and them.

They chose their course of action. It was not foisted upon them by French government or society. They enjoy what they are doing.

Balfegor said...

>"Le Monde has reported they're now torching churches."

So it would seem:

"Pour la première fois, deux églises ont été attaquées : celle de Saint-Edouard à Lens (Pas-de-Calais) et le presbytère de l'île de Thau à Sète (Hérault)."

JDM said...

Well, the thought that comes to mind is what proportion of the police and armed forces is arabic of north african in background?

aidan maconachy said...

A few commentators above pointed to economic deprivation and racism as the root cause of these riots. This may play some part, but I don't think it is the whole story by any means.

The French welfare state is very generous. Prior to these riots I saw an interview conducted in Paris with some suburban members of these "North African" gangs. These kids were well fed, decked out in the coolest fashions and accessories, hooked into their own brand of jihadist hip hop chic and exuded an air of smug confidence. They didn't look like hungry job seekers to me.

It was clear that they viewed French society as "other" - something to be played and scammed, but not to be taken seriously. Their entire identity was derived from some larger belief in an Islamic umma or "community" and they referred to it the way an exiled son fondly refers to the family back home.

These I repeat, were not guys who looked hard done by or in need of a leg up into the French mainstream. Any complaints they had on that score appeared to be voiced in order to play into the leftist concerns of the interviewer, rather than a concern that was genuinely felt. Their rhetoric was crafted and their cynicism coolly focused.

It can be enormously empowering to be part of a sub-culture, fighting a common enemy. Truth is a lot of these kids are probably having the time of their lives. What sixteen year old male who feels repressed and misunderstood wouldn't love to douse his "fascist" dad's Mercedes in gasoline and toss a lit match. It's the ultimate teen fantasy.

What makes this more sinister, is that it isn't simply the underdog kicking back in a passing fit of rage, but has the potential to morph into an urban resistance with much more serious implications. And by the way, creating jobs programs for these youths won't prevent that from happening, because this clash goes deeper than temporal needs and a desire to climb the ladder of social mobility.

It amazes me that so many people choose to see this in basic socio-economic terms. If only it was so simple!

PatCA said...

How does anyone know if they are rioting (again, this is no longer an accurate term) because of "frustration" and "discrimination"?

When the WWII youth grew up, some of them formed violent protest groups mainly in Germany, Italy and Japan (like the Red Brigade.) Psychoanalysts like Schura Cook proposed that it was no accident that this occured with the children mainly of fascist axis countries. They were enraged and ashamed of their countries' history and projected that rage onto the present governments, which they viewed as impure, imperfect. I think something similar is happening here: it's a culture clash, and it's happening inside their brains as well as on the streets.

Pogo said...

The Cold War was indeed WWIII.
As to WWIV, it's time people got up to speed:

World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win by Norman Podhoretz

Read it.

P. Froward said...

Ann, if that was me you were responding to about not laughing, I didn't mean to suggest you were. Some others above were, pretty clearly, and I'll admit I've been tempted myself.

But in fact it's not funny at all. Knowing what I know about the last forty years, I wouldn't care to start over again in Detroit in 1967 (not even for a chance to see the Stooges). But the French are stuck with it. We can at least tell them that a welfare state won't help. I don't suppose they'll listen.

P. Froward said...

Yahoo has a photo of riot police in, I kid you not, "the southern suburban town of Le Kremlin-Bicetre near Paris".

I don't even know what to say about that.

vbspurs said...

I am dismayed at some of the comments here. France, no, much of Europe is in trouble. The tough issues that are fueling the current riots are complex and would require more than a scant reading of the press. I agree with Ann -- what is happening in France is sad. Blame can be apportioned readily, sure, but before you go ahead and float your comment that has a smell of a retaliatory anti-France stance, can't you please have empathy for the people whose lives are being shaken by the current unrest?

Oh no. Not from you, Nina.

I can't believe you would direct this high-bound attitude to the good, and may I say, moderate denizens of Althouse.

Sure, there are people here who have expressed a kind of ironic sentiment about the French.

But there hasn't been one person TTBOMK who is so gleefully chauvinistic in his remarks, as to merit such a sniffy remark.

In fact, many people have alluded to the Schadenfreude being felt by some, but in equal amounts as to the actual Schadenfreude (!).

Those are not the remarks of a partisan, braying crowd like can be found in any number of blogs, Conservative and Liberal both.

Note: Earlier I remarked that I liked the French as a people, and later Troy agreed, saying he feels much the same way.

But I have a caveat to my own sentence.

I think it's beyond the realm of human comprehension to dislike or like wholesale, an entire group of people.

Instead I should have said that the history of France, the traditions of France, and latterly, some of the French people I have been happy to be acquainted have been to my liking.

What hasn't been to my liking, is the general French attitude to America.

I find that deplorable.

The little outcry that you see on Althouse, towards the French, is I would make a strong wager, a reaction to THEIR actions in the past 50 years, since at least the time of De Gaulle.

Since that time, the French have allowed their society to express attitudes far exceeding the normal anti-Americanism on display in other parts of Europe.

It even seeps into the Francophone world -- whenever the an American NHL team play versus the Montreal Canadiennes, they have the gracelessness to boo the US National Anthem.

That NEVER happens with the Anglospheric Canadian NHL teams. That the Canadian national anthem, is NEVER booed in the US, is almost too obvious to mention.

Maybe an inconsequential examples both, but people deal with people, just folks to just folks. Not with the French government.

I suggest to the French if they want sympathy, that they be less inclined to be unsympathetic.

On another note -- I, too, of course, have noted the racial issues spotlighted by the press, but what strikes me even more is the age of those engaged in violent acts. You might dismiss the protest outright for that reason alone, but if you think about it, isn't it sad that those at the cusp of entering adulthood feel the need to resort to acts of violence simply to let the world, their government know of their level of frustration and desparation?

Let me just say that this is nothing new under the sun.

Every society goes through growing pains, it's just that Europe has come to the MASS immigration game later than the Americas.

It's just that France thought they were exempt because their beloved State could take care of the basic necessities -- health care, education, public services.

So everything else, including racism, integration, multi-culturalism, would take care of itself.

Well these past 12 days, the jury just returned a guilty verdict.

Cheers,
Victoria

Bruce Hayden said...

After exulting in the shadenfruede, I came back to reality. This is quite worrisome for any number of reasons. France is in serious decline, as are some other parts of western Europe. An aging white population tying up the best jobs, and a very young ethnic population with extrodinarily high unemployment. These are precisely the people who are paying the price of France's socialism and overly generous worker protection.

The problem is that the French unemployment (significantly higher than our own) is not distributed evenly throughout the population. Rather, the jobs are distributed to a very great extent by age and race. Older white males have relatively low unemployment, whereas younger white males have higher levels, and younger ethnic males and females have extremely high levels, some 40 per cent or so by some estimates. And there is little reason for them to believe that things will change for the better.

The white French may suggest that these young adults be deported. But that is very hard, as they were mostly born in France and have native born French citizenship. Yet, they are treated differently. Much differently. A second class citizen.

Yet, what can France do? Sure, it may be able to use force to put down the riots. But the basic problems remain - a whole lot of unemployed or underemployed ethnic youth with little real opportunity for betterment.

I think though that the thing that has many of us worried is that we are not sure if France has the will any more to fix their problems.

In 732, Charles Martel stopped the Muslim invasion at Poitiers, making France (and much of Europe) safe for Christianity for the next almost 1300 years. But I am not convinced that they have the strength to do it again.

And that is why I am worried. I worry that their aging white elite is too old, too complacent, to do what it takes to solve their problems. To dismantle their semi-socialist workers' paradise and start to treat their ethnic minorities as truly equal citizens.

Icepick said...

I think it's beyond the realm of human comprehension to dislike or like wholesale, an entire group of people.

It seems you've never worked in the tourism industry, V! Here in Central Florida, there is one nationality that is universally reviled within the tourism industry. And it ain't the French, or even the Canadians. I won't say which nationality, but everyone up here in the vicinity of Tourist World knows who I'm talking about!

Nina, I'm a little surprised by your reaction to the age of the rioters. Large numbers of unemployed young men is ALWAYS a danger sign for any society. You will rarely, if ever, see riots of old women. (Although one should always approach individual old women with great care, as they can be very dangerous if provoked.)

vbspurs said...

It seems you've never worked in the tourism industry, V! Here in Central Florida, there is one nationality that is universally reviled within the tourism industry. And it ain't the French, or even the Canadians. I won't say which nationality, but everyone up here in the vicinity of Tourist World knows who I'm talking about!

I'm well aware the chavs and chavettes are hated in Orlandoshire, but that's because the French have their own EuroDisney (which, BTW, is very popular)!

When they bring Anglo-Disney to Hednesford, brother, you won't have to see our red-drunken faces ever again. ;)

Cheers,
Victoria

Steve Donohue said...

Icepick: Is it Brazilians?!? It's gotta be Brazilians, right? I spent the summer working at Epcot, and I could write a book on the subject...

Steve Donohue said...

I always liked British people at Disney World. They're darling and soft-spoken, and don't understand how are change system works, so they usually take out a handful of coins and implore us to figure it out for them.

And somehow I never minded because of the accents. It seemed right. I should be serving you. Now the Brazilians... (shudders).

Icepick said...

Victoria, it's not the British, although your comment about the red, drunken faces made me laugh. The British are probably the easiest tourists to spot, because of the way they sunburn. Or at least I thought it was sunburn, as I've seen it on children, too. How young do the Brits start drinking?!

I do have a problem with the Brits, however. They have been buying up residential property in the Orlando area the last few years, helping drive up the property values to ridiculous levels. Property values have more than doubled in the last five years, and that sucks if you don't already own a mortgage. Needless to say, I rent. And I'm worried that if the housing market doesn't collapse, I'm going to have to move to another city to find a house, and the Missus will hate that....

Icepick said...

Steve, I can't say exactly who I mean, but those who have worked here know. ;)

Incidentally, as pleasant as the Brits are, the Japanese were even better. Very polite, very cheerful, and they only bought office buildings. They took LOTS of pictures! The stereo-types about the Japanese tourist and the 80 pounds of camera equipment was spot on. They don't come here like they used too, though, since Tokyo Disneyland opened. That would have been before your time, Steve.

Ed Longshanks said...

Did I really read that the french "invented human rights".

I missed that history lesson. Was it when the U.S. guaranteed freedom of speech, or when the British stopped the slave trade.

Possibly they invented human rights while they had the guillotine chopping off aristocrat heads. I'm sure they had plenty of time after Napoleon invented total warfare.

Could someone tell me when the French invented anything except cowardice.

vbspurs said...

Victoria, it's not the British, although your comment about the red, drunken faces made me laugh.

The first signs of alcoholic poisoning...it's not funny, actually.

It's a national tragedy. Of course, I would say that, since I'm abstemious and prissy. :)

The British are probably the easiest tourists to spot,

Uh, yeah. But because of our wearing of soccer shirts!!

Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs.

because of the way they sunburn.

That too. I still haven't gotten acclimated to the sun down here (I live just south of you), and though Americans have a complexion as fair as ours, you guys just seem not to get as tomato-y.

"Darwin explains".

Or at least I thought it was sunburn, as I've seen it on children, too. How young do the Brits start drinking?!

Kids could've been given a shandy (ginger beer/draught beer, 50-50) just before you saw them. ;)

I do have a problem with the Brits, however. They have been buying up residential property in the Orlando area the last few years, helping drive up the property values to ridiculous levels. Property values have more than doubled in the last five years, and that sucks if you don't already own a mortgage. Needless to say, I rent. And I'm worried that if the housing market doesn't collapse, I'm going to have to move to another city to find a house, and the Missus will hate that....

Tell it to the Marines, buddy! We're here, we're queer! Erm, you know what I mean.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Icepick: Is it Brazilians?!? It's gotta be Brazilians, right? I spent the summer working at Epcot, and I could write a book on the subject...

Steve, seu babaca Americano! Sempre falando mal dos Brasileiros. Eu hein!

Beijoca,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Did I really read that the french "invented human rights".

I missed that history lesson. Was it when the U.S. guaranteed freedom of speech, or when the British stopped the slave trade.


Because to their understanding, Rousseau > Locke, Voltaire > Hume, and Napoleon > George Washington.

Nonsense, all, but there you are.

Also, historically, our Glorious Revolution and the American Revolutions are considered "conservative" revolutions: top-down hierarchies, not popular revolts.

The French (and later the Russian) are considered more populist, and therefore, more legitimate.

As Americans say, whatever.

Cheers,
Victoria

Knemon said...

"It amazes me that so many people choose to see this in basic socio-economic terms"

It's simpler that way. If you ignore culture, religion, etc., etc., etc., every problem looks nice and solvable - on paper.

Call it Chomskyitis.

Steve Donohue said...

Steve, seu babaca Americano! Sempre falando mal dos Brasileiros. Eu hein!

I had a feeling I might be called out for my perceived Brazilian bigotries! But I never expected it from the very person I was attempting to protect from perceived Anti-British bigotries.

You're a traitor, but nonetheless charming. I must be able to hear that accent even through the printed word:-)