February 4, 2012

"While Americans fret over modern parenthood, the French are raising happy, well-behaved children without all the anxiety."

"Pamela Druckerman on the Gallic secrets for avoiding tantrums, teaching patience and saying 'non' with authority."

That's a column, but I'm not surprised to see it a book. Another book in the "Tiger Mother" genre — about other cultures' superior child-rearing methods. It's here — "Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting" — in case you'd like to buy it. It's also in the "French Women Don't Get Fat" genre — the "French is better" genre.

153 comments:

Steve Austin said...

Keep those French kids passive so they know how to surrender properly.

SteveR said...

We'd be a lot better off if we could count on retiring at fifty, getting several months off a year, free health care and being able to depend on other countries to defend our constitution. Surely our children would pick up on that.

Oh yeah, don't forget cordoning off the gypsies and Arabs.

The Crack Emcee said...

I've lived all over that country:

It's a load of hogwash.

They're brats are just like everybody else's,...

~N. said...

The thing about the French is they don't care what other people think. There's something to be said for that.

Many American parents are totally over-involved in their children's lives, and many American parents do allow the children to run the show.

The Crack Emcee said...

Pardon:

Their brats are just like everyone else's,...

Henry said...

My friends who have lived in France beg to differ. The French playground is the lord of the flies.

Ann Althouse said...

"Their brats are just like everyone else's,..."

Not like Wisconsin's! Our brats are the best!

(Photo URLs destroyed by Apple! I need to redo them in Flickr. Suffice it to say: They look delicious!)

pm317 said...

I love French movies. They are masters at depicting relationships -- even the uncomplicated ones are made more interesting to watch and learn. Maybe that translates to good parenting also.

Ann Althouse said...

In Wisconsin, a brat is not a living human animal... but a cat is!

The Crack Emcee said...

~N.,

Many American parents are totally over-involved in their children's lives, and many American parents do allow the children to run the show.

I've seen the same in France - kids acting out in restaurants, dominating the parents in the home, etc.

Why we buy lies from France - in this Information Age - is what amazes me,...

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

At last a solution to Michelle Obama's epidemic of fat kids.

Make them eat wine, fresh vegetables, butter sauces and and cheeses.

If it works, do it.

Seriously, the goodness of the food when prepared the French way makes it easy to be satisfied with smaller portions.

Tip: Your meal must start with a glass of Zinfandel.

JAL said...

I wish our modern(?)moms weren't such wimps.

Parenting?

Like the shoes -- Just Do It.

The Number One thing to keep in mind (after all the other Number One things) is this -- accept that your kids are not going to like you all the time.

Tough.

gerry said...

Look, the French are dying, reproducing at 1.6 per adult or something, right? Even if they have well-adjusted children, their futures are shot.

And Crack, I like the first version better.

The Crack Emcee said...

Henry,

My friends who have lived in France beg to differ. The French playground is the lord of the flies.

Not to mention they've never heard of "safety equipment." Oh man, I've seen those kids knock themselves out cold - especially on the stone tile floors they use. It's hilarious, once you realize all the adults are going to do is stand around, shrugging their shoulders and saying, "What are you going to do?" That's their answer to everything horrible - acceptance. They're the biggest bunch of losers I've ever seen in the world.

Without the ability to subjugate others, at the end of the barrel of a gun, they're nothing.

David said...

I read the article during breakfast at our local Waffle House this morning. There were several examples there of the deficiencies in American parenting described in the article. Parents ineffectively trying to control their annoying kids.

The central French insight of parenting as an educational process is a good one. American parenting has become too much like the rest of our education system--anything goes while the little ones discover themselves.

Whether most of the French actually live up to the ideal described in the article I have no idea. But the techniques described in the article are good examples of how to parent.

Maguro said...

And they produce exemplars of humainity like Mitterand and DSK. Who could argue with those results?

The Crack Emcee said...

pm317,

I love French movies. They are masters at depicting relationships -- even the uncomplicated ones are made more interesting to watch and learn. Maybe that translates to good parenting also.

Those are, mostly, lies too. You have to understand the French:

It's all imagery.

Tell the truth and they go nuts. So, instead, they're all sophisticated lovers, swapping partners without a care or drama. heroes of the war, blah, blah, blah.

"The French probably invented the very notion of discretion. It's not that they feel that what you don't know won't hurt you; they feel that what you don't know won't hurt them. To the French lying is simply talking." - Fran Lebowitz

All of it a bunch of nonsense.

David said...

We had a middle class French girl life with us for a year as an exchange student. The girl was intellectually brilliant, and killed all her courses at the demanding local high school, even though she had never spoken English regularly before she came to live with us. She was mature, presented herself well, had nice manners, was interested in many things and got on well socially. A well brought up young lady.

She was also totally brainwashed politically. She had great academic success in university in France, has married and had children and is teaching literature (as does her husband.) She simply does not get the idea of capitalism, the harshness of international conflict, the need for military strength or the downsides of statism. She is a lovely person, a great cook and a wonderful mother, I am sure. She is also a terrific representative of why Europe is messed up.

ricpic said...

The best thing about the French is also the worst thing about them: they don't do "nice."

The Crack Emcee said...

traditionalguy,

Seriously, the goodness of the food when prepared the French way makes it easy to be satisfied with smaller portions.

Stop it - they eat smaller portions because it's always the same damn meal! Go to someone's house for a party and they serve A, B, and C. Go to another party and guess what's served? A, B and C.

That's why McDonald's and the like are such a threat to them - it's something different!

The American diet is more tasty, varied, and yes, healthy, than anything the French have ever come up with.

They simply can't keep up. Why we love insisting we're somehow inferior to them - in any way - is a puzzler because, in all the years I went there, I never saw it.

if anything, I started understanding why the Germans were always deciding to kick their asses,...

YoungHegelian said...

As someone who's half-French and has got loads of family over in Frogland, let me assure you this is hogwash.

Some of the nastiest behaved kids I've ever seen were on the buses after school in Nice. And I say that as a 30 year DC metro rider who has seen my share of school kids act up.

Yeah, the Frogs do everything better. Then why is France such a mess?

I wonder if these Francophiles even visit the same country I've seen. Do they never walk into a French bank and see six people behind the counter and only one of them helping customers? Do you want to eat lunch at sometime other than between 12 - 2PM. Well, you know where the McDonald's is at, dontcha?

Jose_K said...

yes , France is better.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3184941.stm
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1322441/France-riots-Demonstrations-pension-reforms-continue-ninth-day.html
That is why those kids want to send them to the Carrousel

Jose_K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jose_K said...

That's why McDonald's and the like are such a threat to them - it's something different. There are more Macdonalds compared to population than any country in the world even the USA.
In the end ,they sell french food as Revel put it: a meat pie with french fries

EDH said...

Wow, one of my early memories as a child just came back to me, with I believe an insight into how kids think.

As a very small child I hated receiving old style nose drops. My mother had to chase me around the house and pin my shoulders to the ground to administer nose drops.

After a while, the nose drops really didn't bother me.

But the ritual of having my mother chase me around the house and pin my shoulders to the floor was so much fun, I just had to continue with my resistance.

Looking back, it's funny how even then I realized I was full of shit.

So, yea, by all means, call your kids out on their bullshit. They know.

dmoelling said...

The french really aren't better but they do realize (in both school and home) that kids aren't little adults. This helps them in discipline etc. However, most are quite willing to ship the kids off to day care from an early age (not so the parents can work, but so they can shop and sit in cafes)

The Crack Emcee said...

YoungHegelian,

I wonder if these Francophiles even visit the same country I've seen. Do they never walk into a French bank and see six people behind the counter and only one of them helping customers? Do you want to eat lunch at sometime other than between 12 - 2PM.

Amen. Or a french supermarket where the clerk is having a smoke and talking to her friend while 20 customers are standing in line, fuming but saying nothing?

I've always imagined the Germans timed their attacks for "lunchtime" because they knew - they KNEW - all the frogs would be stuffing their faces and lazy on wine.

France was, easily, the most frustrating country I've ever been to,...

wv: "marde" - too close to "merde" to pass up,...

LarsPorsena said...

he Crack Emcee said...
pm317,

I love French movies. They are masters at depicting relationships -- even the uncomplicated ones are made more interesting to watch and learn. Maybe that translates to good parenting also.

Those are, mostly, lies too. You have to understand the French:


_______________________________

I just saw 'The Artist'. Brilliant. A joyful tribute to the American silent pic era. It ought to garner a half-dozen Oscars.

Never thought I'd be mesmerized by a silent flick.

sydney said...

Heh. These kinds of stories always make me think of my brother-in-law who loves all things European and dislikes all things American. I once served him potatoes fried in two sticks of butter. As he was turning up his nose at them, I explained it was a French recipe and that there was a special French word for the process, but I had forgotten it. He loved those potatoes. (What is that word?....French Fries?)

edutcher said...

Hmmm,

A lot of people would say a shot in the mouth is as much part of educating the kid, as it is disciplining.

Then, too, as tg implies, a shot of Zinfindel in the little darlings probably also helps (over here, during the French And Indian Wars, the favored calmative for Junior was a shot of brandy laced with opium).

The Crack Emcee said...

LarsPorsena,

I just saw 'The Artist'. Brilliant. A joyful tribute to the American silent pic era. It ought to garner a half-dozen Oscars.

Never thought I'd be mesmerized by a silent flick.


I love Claude Berri's Jean de Florette and (english title) Manon of the Spring - two halves of the same 6 hour film that's honest enough to tell you everything about the french you need to know:

Superstitious, venal, and, good lord, proud of it.

Try the (almost silent) Triplets of Bellville, an animated french feature with a lot of charm.

That might be the secret to liking the French:

Make them shut up.

YoungHegelian said...

@Crack,

The French labor movement began its life dedicated to the Marxist creed of the dignity of work.

It has since morphed into being dedicated to the dignity of goofing off.

NTTAWWT

The Crack Emcee said...

YoungHegelian,

The French labor movement began its life dedicated to the Marxist creed of the dignity of work.

It has since morphed into being dedicated to the dignity of goofing off.


Dude, I've seen them use 9 guys to dig a fucking hole - with one guy digging while the other eight were standing around smoking. And we think our union workers are bad,...

But, oh, they've got us beat in every way!

Dead Julius said...

My children-- soon to be 8 and 12-- are growing up in Denmark. I spend nearly half the year there. It is, all-around, a better place to grow up than America: quieter, slower, more conscious, and a sense of well-being that we ain't got. But I think most adults would find it better to live in America. The things that are good about Denmark have nothing to do with earning a living, etc... I'm happy that my children are born in America so that they can live here when they grow up if they want.

The Crack Emcee said...

I wish you guys would think about this for a moment:

How far from reality we are actively being persuaded to see ourselves and the world.

It's a crime, if you ask me,...

Freeman Hunt said...

This is all over the place. She's connecting things that aren't necessarily connected.

There's some good though. The truths she's uncovered are that (1) children behave better when you don't teach them to get things through bad behavior and (2) parents need to act with authority over young children.

I don't think these truths are particularly French.

YoungHegelian said...

@Dead Julius,

I can't speak to Denmark, never having been there, but I can say one thing: Danes ain't Frogs.

Scandinavia is a very different place than France, than Italy, Greece, etc.

The cultures are so different it just amazes me, as an outsider, they they ever thought the EU would work.

But what the hell do I know?

Darleen said...

You all are concentrating on what the French are doing, but what I noticed most about some of the points being made "evenings are for the adults, the kids need to learn to amuse themselves, delayed gratification, no snacking throughout the day" ...

are ALL the default way American parents raised their kids in the 40s/50's/early 60's.

Freeman Hunt said...

My sons, two and four, are generally delightful in restaurants. I bring no toys or special snacks. They know that acting nicely means a nice meal with good food and conversation. Whining or screaming does not lead to special pacifying treats or release from the table, it leads to sitting in the car with a parent in silence with no diversions while everyone else stays inside the restaurant to finish the meal without hurrying.

The Crack Emcee said...

YoungHegelian,

I can't speak to Denmark, never having been there, but I can say one thing: Danes ain't Frogs.

Scandinavia is a very different place than France, than Italy, Greece, etc.


Amen, again. I'll never forget the sense of gloom that would come over me when returning to France from another country. It was just depressing. To leave where people moved with purpose and head back to the land of "This is not done" just sapped my will to live.

And yeah, the EU was doomed from the start,...

Dead Julius said...

@Young Hegelian -

I'll take your word for it. I know nothing about the French, and I've never been there.

The kids want to go to Euro Disneyland this summer though. I've tried to convince them to do the Disney thing in FL or CA instead, but they want to go to the one in France because it is the one that their friends have been to.

So maybe I will be visiting the Frog Pond soon.

Unknown said...

Kids can drink wine at the table when they are 8.

Except the muslim kids who riot every year in Paris suburbs roasting cars.

So maybe that is the key difference in child rearing in France. The kids are all drunks.

Denial is a river in France

kimsch said...

I think what she gets right is that American parents are too concerned with "entertaining" their children every minute. Mine (knock on wood) were almost always well behaved in public, at restaurants, etc., and I think it was because we didn't entertain them always. They learned to entertain themselves. We've had so many people tell us how well behaved our kids were and are.

There was one time when The Little Guy was smaller and he decided to have a huge meltdown temper tantrum in Walmart as we were in line to check out. Hubby picked him up and put him over his shoulder and took him out the car. Customers and employees around us actually applauded.

The kids also have to wait for things. The Little Guy will have to wait to open a new toy. Even if he's bought it with his own money (he earns his allowance every week and receives a little "paycheck" that details how many of his weekly chores he's completed (hours) and has 10% withheld for savings. He'll know that a check will not be for the gross amount when he gets old enough for a real job and a real paycheck.

n.n said...

American parents have been taught to fret about rather than raise their children. Perhaps the problem is that people who exist inside the system, are challenged or incapable of characterizing it properly and fully.

Darleen:

You're right. There is a faction of Americans who have pursued progress for its own sake. They have rejected traditional knowledge because they are rebels with a cause and without a clue. They are the quintessential juvenile delinquents who suffer from unmerited and unwarranted high self-esteem.

Alas, this is all too typical and predictable. Each succeeding generation wishes to believe they are superior to the preceding. They believe they possess superior knowledge and skill, but they fail to acknowledge the human condition has not materially changed. They are also ignorant of the processes which govern our minds and their associative characteristics. They dream of instant gratification, and the outcome has been progressive corruption of individuals and society.

The Tutsi slaughter Hutu slaughter Tutsi historical cycle seems to be inevitable and we are fast approaching its segue.

Dead Julius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

Freeman Hunt said...
Whining or screaming .... leads to sitting in the car with a parent in silence with no diversions while everyone else stays inside the restaurant
.

So who did you say won that battle again?

Carol_Herman said...

Ah, but the french have to keep them indoors at night. Or the kids would see all the cars being barbecued.

And, then you do have the benefit that the french can give their kids wine. Which they do starting around the age of five. This really does mellow out cihldren.

While the muslim children in france are being bred and taught to burn everything down.

The french are arrogant fools. Sure. They start raising them this way when they are very young.

Clare King said...

Her description here is how I was raised, here in the states. I doubt that there is anything especially French about it.

We were expected to wait, amuse ourselves, eat what we were served, keep quiet when adults were speaking, etc...

I raised my son the same way. Meanwhile, my peers seemed to have elevated parenting and childhood to mythic heights of nobility.

I just didn't want to have the kid that people hate to see coming up the sidewalk.

mccullough said...

Darleen,

The kids who grew up in the 40s/50s/ and 60s are the boomers. As a generation, they are selfish assholes. So are the French, in general. If we can make it through to when the Boomers are gone, this will be a great country again.

Tari said...

So the select group of French parents she spoke to have done many of the things my husband I and already knew to do to our (exceedingly American) kids. Wow. Such a revelation. I thought the essence of parenting was teaching your child that being loved unconditionally does not make them the center of the universe. I never knew that made me French.

mccullough said...

What is wrong with parents is that they think to much about parenting. Tiger Mom and this book are just more self help bullshit. If parents keep in mind that they are raising kids who are going to live to be 90, they'll be fine. It's the parents who are raising their kids to get into the best college or be a high school quarterback or a ballerIna who are fucked.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Customers and employees around us actually applauded

HA...reminds me of the time I got applause in a restaurant. I was out with my daughter, aged 4 who as always was behaving very well. A restaurant experience was a treat to be savored.

There were two parents at the table next to us and they were pleading with their horrible brat of a son. He was about the same age as my daughter. The kid was whining, throwing things and the parents were groveling to the kid. Ruining the experience of everyone in the restaurant.

My daughter even asked me...."What is wrong with that boy".

Finally, I turned and faced the kid and in a loud and stern voice told him to SHUT UP and then told the parents to get control over their kid or get out because non of us could enjoy our food. The kid's mouth dropped open in shock and he shut up.

Applause from the rest of the patrons.

The parents and their brat left the restaurant.

The problem was that the parents were not in charge and the kid had the power, but had no idea what to do with it. It was all assbackwards.

Kirby Olson said...

It's the same rot. Americans who actually visit other places or live there for a while realize that all these other much-vaunted cultures are about the same as ours in the long haul, or else they are worse. But it sells articles and books. Whatever.

Tank said...

Why all the hate for France?

We spent two weeks in Paris and The south and were treated well by all. We also. Interacted quite a bit with locals and noticed hiow well behaved their kids were, and how nicely they all got along.

Really, just as this article describes it.

kimsch said...

The problem was that the parents were not in charge and the kid had the power, but had no idea what to do with it. It was all assbackwards.

The parents gave the child the power by catering. Can't tell the child "no", that might damage his self-esteem. They also give the child the power because they don't want to deal with an unhappy child. Instead of teaching the child self-control and the ability to self-pacify, they reward the bad behavior by trying to bribe it away.

MayBee said...

My youngest son threw precisely one horrible tantrum in a grocery store. Everyone around me was saying, "Well, if that were my kid, I'd take him to the car" to which I replied, "But that's what he wants". I figured it was a grocery store, and people there could deal with a kid crying for a few minutes, although I apologized to anyone who gave me an ugly look.

He finished his fit and never had one in public again.

ricpic said...

EXTRA! EXTRA! DBQ tells Eisenhower to stop dicking around and show who's boss. Leads American troops into Berlin. Receives bulletin of congratulations from Stalin. Cold War averted!

DADvocate said...

Every bodies better than us. Why are we the most powerful, prosperous country in history?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ ripic

LOL

You bet.

I paid for my food with my hard earned money and wanted to enjoy it.

If you can't keep your kid quiet or even if YOU are being a dick in the restaurant, I'm not going to just sit and take it.

It seems that parents today (in the USA since I don't have a comparison to France) have become more obsessed with being the kid's friend and not so much with being the authority figure.

Also the compulsion to try to fill every waking moment with some sort of organized, meaningful activity. Hovering over the kids and controlling their day.

When I was a child, eons ago, went out to play. Unsupervised by parents and in a group of many ages. Did we get picked on? Did we do things that hurt each other's feelings? Did we fall down, get hurt, get cut, break things? Heck Yeah.

Can you imagine parents of today sending their kids out after lunch to play all afternoon without any supervision?

rhhardin said...

The French have well behaved dogs too, by having them as part of society to learn the deal.

The Crack Emcee said...

Tank,

Why all the hate for France?

We spent two weeks in Paris and The south and were treated well by all.


As I've said many times, Living In France Ain't Visiting Paris. It's like going to San Francisco and claiming you know "America." If you do, stories out of New Orleans are going to freak you out.

The South is almost like visiting *some parts* of California, by comparison.

traditionalguy said...

It's been 20 years ago, but we kept a French exchange student several months.

She was respectful and intelligent.

She was fascinated about our driving everywhere in cars 10 miles each way. Apparently Paris has an underground or other public transport, and gasoline is out of sight expensive.

We learned through our teens after she left that Parisian girls are normally sexually active and party goers among society of all ages from age 16 on. Which brought to mind Gigi.

The next Christmas we recieved a package containing some beautiful French mustards and chocolates and a nice note from her grateful parents.

Alex said...

Just another in a long line of articles titled "Why X country is better then America". Yawn.

The Crack Emcee said...

traditionalguy,

Apparently Paris has an underground or other public transport, and gasoline is out of sight expensive.

Yep, when I was last there it was $11 a gallon.

What you have to remember about what you hear about France is that, for what seems like an obvious benefit, there's a brutally nasty downside.

"Free" medical care = half of your paycheck gone.

3 months vacation = you have time to travel, but you can only go sight seeing.

35 hour work week = doing 40 hours worth of work in less time, which means (if you have a job) you're worked harder.

Socialism = you don't have access to most things ("We do not have" is a common refrain heard when ordering from a menu) and you have little to no chance of moving up from the family home.

The taxes, the snitches, the fear of outsiders - the racism against anyone who isn't white and born there - it all adds up to a pretty grim reality.

Alex said...

Crack - there is no free lunch obviously but the French prefer to structure their society differently then we do. There is no right or wrong to it, but it is a fact that they have been the ungrateful recipients of the American nuclear umbrella during the Cold War period.

BJM said...

@Crack

Dude, I've seen them use 9 guys to dig a fucking hole - with one guy digging while the other eight were standing around smoking.

Yeah...almost as efficient as Cal-Trans.

Then there's the myth of the ever thin French woman.

Not to forget the "French shower" and the chic Gallic custom of men pissing in the streets and dog shit everywhere that give French cities their je ne sais quoi.

DEEBEE said...

Perhaps we need to up our parenting game. But if our coaches are going to be cheese eating monkeys -- we have no prayers

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

Crack - there is no free lunch obviously but the French prefer to structure their society differently then we do. There is no right or wrong to it, but it is a fact that they have been the ungrateful recipients of the American nuclear umbrella during the Cold War period.

I agree with the latter half of that. As for the former, I can't tell you how many times I've described American life to a Frenchman and they just started bawling like babies, because of the lost opportunities and their inability to, basically, be free. They can't start businesses as we can - they can't do shit.

Sure, they start off describing French life as "the best," always. But get a couple of glasses of wine in 'em, and watch the waterworks flow ("My life is so HARD!") They're really trapped like animals.

Sometimes I wish we could go over there and free them from themselves,...but they'd still be the same ungrateful, backstabbing bastards they've always been, so whatever. I will say this:

When you meet a genuinely nice person, anywhere in the world, they are golden.

My favorites are the Germans and the Thais - Man, the good ones really know how to treat a visitor,...

Alex said...

Crack - people are really the same everywhere. Of course the French feel an enduring shame for being cheese-eating surrender monkeys to Hitler. I'm not even talking about 1940. But this:

Remilitarization of the Rhineland

Historians writing without benefit of access to the French archives (which were not opened until the mid-1970s) such as William L. Shirer in his books The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960) and The Collapse of the Third Republic (1969) have claimed that France, although possessing at this time superior armed forces compared to Germany, including after a possible mobilization 100 infantry divisions, was psychologically unprepared to use force against Germany.[31]

So there they were in 1936 they could have crushed Hitler right then and there, but were too busy eating cheese and drinking wine.

Alex said...

To be fair, the French psychological inhibition to fight is a product of World War I's devastation. Basically the French lost their manhood at the Battles of Verdun & Somme.

The Crack Emcee said...

BJM,

Not to forget the "French shower" and the chic Gallic custom of men pissing in the streets and dog shit everywhere that give French cities their je ne sais quoi.

They're no more dirty than any other rural people, but the amount of dogshit in the cities is uncanny.

What always got my attention was the lack of standardized plumbing. You've got literally centuries of toilets to encounter - most without water - so the smell is outrageous. (And, for those with water, you can end up covered in it if you don't know what you're doing,...) Step on a peddle, pull a cord, wiggle a handle, or some completely Rube Goldberg contraption was always waiting for me - which I found fascinating when it came to evaluating architecture through the ages (look at buildings built in 12 or 13 something - they made 'em stand any way they could - with straw and rocks and mud) but was the last thing I wanted to "discover" when I really needed to go.

And then, of course, right in the middle of smelling your own shit - full strength - the lights would go out (it's a socialist country) so I'd have to feel my way to the door in the dark.

In the bathroom.

Ah yes, France, a lovely place I will never, ever forget,...I'm damned that way.

Alex said...

Battle of Verdun

Verdun resulted in 698,000 battlefield deaths (362,000 French and 336,000 German combatants), an average of 70,000 deaths for each of the ten months of the battle.[5] It was the longest and one of the most devastating battles in the First World War and the history of warfare. Verdun was primarily an artillery battle: a total of about 40 million artillery shells were exchanged, leaving behind millions of overlapping shell craters that are still partly visible. In both France and Germany, Verdun has come to represent the horrors of war, like the Battle of the Somme in the British consciousness. The renowned British military historian Major General Julian Thompson has referred to Verdun as "France's Stalingrad".

MayBee said...

Oh, but I never would have let my kids throw a fit in a restaurant, or even misbehave.

Just had to clarify for DBQ, because I don't want her to imagine herself going back in time and yelling at me and my kids.

Alex said...

Western Front (World War I) consequences

France suffered heavy damage in the war. In addition to losing more casualties relative to its population than any other great power, the industrial north-east of the country had been devastated by the war. The provinces overrun by Germany had produced 40% of the nation's coal and 58% of its steel output.[93

Essentially France suffered in WW1 like the Soviet Union did in WW2. The reaction was to become peaceniks.

KJE said...

Right, but they have skinnier women, as opposed to the corn fed, beer suckled ones here?

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

Crack - people are really the same everywhere.

Oh no - on this I will agree with the French:

They are unique.

Their snobbery, and general arrogance, knows no bounds. They hate us - and I mean hate - because they can't understand how we became the #1 country in the world with them around. (They totally resent that we saved them.) I mean, we're a nation of mongrels, so it doesn't make sense. And, when they're in their total leftard mind set, they hate white Americans more than anyone. For reference:

They're image of most Americans is Tom Brokaw.

No, Alex, they're a bunch of occult-loving, nose-in-the-air bastards, who can't wait for a chance to betray someone, and unlike any people I've ever met in any of my many travels.

BTW - here's all of my France posts, from the old blogger site, if you want to read more.

YoungHegelian said...

@alex,

I'm glad you posted your second WWI comment after your first.

As English speakers, we hear the American & British experience of WWI if we hear anything at all. But the French experience of WWI was appalling, with not only greater losses than the Brit Commonwealth, but it reduced a swath of northern France to moonscape to boot.

Not only were there the losses, but there was also the ignominy of not being able to route German forces from French soil twice in 40 years. The Germans just out-soldiered them at every turn, and were it not for the Americans (who were trained by the French, not the Brits) it might have gone very badly for them.

The damages to French society done by WWI were hidden to all the world by their apparent victory. 1940 exposed the rot not only to the world, but to the French themselves. The French failure came very close to condemning Europe to Nazi barbarism for a long, long time. It was not a time to fail, but they did.

Alex said...

Crack - they would have hated Germany more but they felt some vengeance for how Germany was destroyed in WW2. They probably secretly wish that kind of destruction were rained down on us. I wonder how many Frenchmen did a fistpump on 9/11.

Alex said...

YoungHegelian - it's a perennial inferiority complex among the Gallic people. First Julius Caesar kills a million Gauls from 58 to 52 BC. Then Napoleon fails to conquer Europe. Then France fails to oust Germany in "The Great War". Then they surrender like a bunch of women in 1940 to Hitler. It's a greatest hits record of futility going back 2000 years.

Alex said...

The last time the French truly kicked ass for any extended period of time was the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century AD.

PatCA said...

Most baby boomers were raised the French way--parents couldn't help it when they had over 8 kids!

Jeff with one 'f' said...

A close friend of mine is an artist from Portugal. She's well-travelled and spent some time in France in her twenties. She told me that the French were the rudest people she had ever encountered. They treated her rudely and dismissively in cafes, shops, etc.

The usual elite American response to these stories of French 'hospitality' is to blame the loud, crude Americans for being too fat and, well, American to appreciate the French and of course they deserved any rudeness. The fact is that my friend is elegant, cultured and European. She has exquisite manners and yet was treated like merde for the crime of being a foreigner in France.

As she put it: "It doesn't matter that I'm European- they hate anyone who isn't French".

Dead Julius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

I wonder how many Frenchmen did a fistpump on 9/11.

i was there during Abu Ghraib, and they were loving it, in a "I told you so" kind of way. Made my life hell.

Definitely not trying to understand anything in a more complex manner - and, most definitely, not our friends.

I know the Bush era made a contribution to the destruction of my marriage. I supported Bush, and wish I'd never gone. Over there, support for America - even by an American - was just too damned much, and they made it very, very clear that was the case,...

Dead Julius said...

The last time the French truly kicked ass for any extended period of time was the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century AD.

That France was an authoritarian theocracy which, though it proceeded hand-in-hand with the Church, was also completely horrible to those who it perceived as standing in its way.

Some of us are still pissed about Verden (not Verdun!). Pissed at Charlemange and his hanger-ons and pissed at the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

It may have been France's last extended period of being a strong nation, but it doesn't hold a candle to Roman Empire, both in quality of life for citizens and in quality of government.

Alex said...

So what is exactly behind the current French arrogance? I think it's not a feeling of superiority - we've already gone through the recent history and we know it's false. I'm really curious. Is it the wine country, Versailles, the Eiffel Towe?

YoungHegelian said...

@alex,

So what is exactly behind the current French arrogance?

To understand it, you must understand first that it is not current in nature.

The French believe that they have two gifts: lucidite' & savoir-faire.

For lucidite' (lucideness) they believe that they are the culture of a clear-thinking rationality, (e.g. Descartes, the Declaration of the Rights of Man). They eschew religious dogmatism, moral dogmatism ("Hey, everyone needs a bit on the side"), and attempt to live a via media economically between commies & rapacious capitalism.

For savoir-faire, they think they know what to eat, what to drink, how to fuck, and what music & art to pay attention to. How could they not be the greatest?

It's been this way ever since at least 1550. Why should it change now?

I'm not saying I believe this, but you ask why they think so highly of themselves.

Alex said...

Young Hegelian - what you describe seems to apply to American hipsters as well.

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

So what is exactly behind the current French arrogance? I think it's not a feeling of superiority - we've already gone through the recent history and we know it's false. I'm really curious. Is it the wine country, Versailles, the Eiffel Towe?

Funny you should mention the wine country - I was once given a personal tour of a winery and they thought that was the best life possible.

But no, I think it's the general assumption that to be cultured - as they understand the term - is superior to all other states of existence. It's bullshit of course - I'll take a beer and a steak, with real people for company, over anything served by a bunch of snobs any day - but denial is their way of life.

They - and all they do - are simply superior to everyone else, because they instinctively know which is the salad fork, and they eat an egg in a little cup with toast.

A bunch of fucking fags (in what is *truthfully* the worst sense of the word) if you ask me,...

Alex said...

Crack - there is nothing wrong with having a good Merlot with non-snobbish friends. Read up about it, great heart benefits drinking 1 glass of red wine a day.

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

Young Hegelian - what you describe seems to apply to American hipsters as well.

They're connected - the bongo drumming asshole in a beret of the '50s?

YoungHegelian said...

@Alex,

There some overlap between hipsters and the French, but I think the French come by their snobbery with much more historical & ethnic backing than hipsters.

The world's worst snobs, far worse than the French -- I'd say the Han Chines, with the Japanese in close second.

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

Crack - there is nothing wrong with having a good Merlot with non-snobbish friends. Read up about it, great heart benefits drinking 1 glass of red wine a day.

Dude, I've drank wine that costs hundreds of dollars a glass and, if there's one thing I'll take away from my life in France, it's that wine is bullshit. Probably one of the biggest scams in history. Health benefits? Sure, why not. But, beyond that, just a load of malarky.

Stick with Two Buck Chuck and you're doing fine,...

glenn said...

What I see is that the French parents who have well behaved kids start from the premise that they aren't going to put up with kids who misbehave. And they don't. When our former exchange student was courting his lovely wife and they saw kids acting out in public they made a pact. Theirs won't do that. And they don't. Mom and Dad are the most loving, supportive and generous parents, buuuut no nonsense. And they support each other. Result, two of the greatest kids you ever saw. It ain't rocket science folks

Freeman Hunt said...

So who did you say won that battle again?

I did. I only had to do it once. (Even that time was a pleasure. I got to read while in the car.)

That's the thing. Sometimes educating your children means that you don't get what you want to do right at that moment. You could ignore them and thus inflict them on everyone else. You could appease them and thus teach them to act bad to get what they want. Or you could do the harder thing at that moment and thus have a much easier, more pleasurable future.

kimsch said...

@Freeman: Amen. And it also shows the child that even grownups don't get what they want all time.

wv: humencat - See earlier cats are human Althouse post...

damikesc said...

The French? Utterly loathsome people.

Of course, Americans don't leave their elderly to cook to death during their vacation time.

We also didn't happily ship Jews off to concentration camps.

Alex said...

Crack - I agree that most people can't tell the difference between Almaden and a $15 Merlot. But I can and I refuse to buy 2 buck chuck when I can drink wine that has less bubbles and more complex bouquet of flavors.

The Crack Emcee said...

damikesc,

The French? Utterly loathsome people.

Of course, Americans don't leave their elderly to cook to death during their vacation time.


Nor, in the wake of those deaths, would an American president - except for Obama, maybe - tell the elderly to go see a movie because the theatres are air conditioned.

I said it before, but it needs to be asked:

Why do we, in the Information Age, need to discover what life is like for others by reading between the lines?

And why are we inundated with so many lies?

France should be an easy country for us to know about, but we're shoved manure about even the most elementary aspects of their lives - always portrayed in glowing terms unless something's burning and there's no avoiding the truth - why?

Do so few have a desire for anyone else to understand the truth of our lives?

Alex said...

Crack - I'm pretty sure it's a conspiracy by the cognoscenti to keep the truth about France under wraps. So we get fed these bullshit stories over and over again from the usual suspects.

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

Crack - I agree that most people can't tell the difference between Almaden and a $15 Merlot. But I can and I refuse to buy 2 buck chuck when I can drink wine that has less bubbles and more complex bouquet of flavors.

But you miss the point:

It's a completely pointless line of knowledge.

It's like religion - if there's no God, then what's the point of "understanding" the Trinity?

It's merely a maze to keep you - the mouse - going in circles.

I drink wine - any wine - without a care for what is or how much it costs, and I'm fine. As a matter of fact, I feel better than before I knew anything about it. If anything bothers me, now, it's watching others in that maze, making the "difficult decision" of which wine, at what over-priced level, to purchase. Guess what? In truth, nobody cares - wine is wine. I've never seen a frenchman turn down a bottle. Not because they're all superior, but because it's all bullshit.

Like much in France - especially existentialism - they hold a head full knowledge that serves no good purpose.

I've got better things to do with my time,...

Kirk Parker said...

kimsch,

"He'll know that a check will not be for the gross amount when he gets old enough for a real job and a real paycheck. "

I'm not sure it's a good idea to prepare them: the shock of opening that first paycheck and realizing how much the government actually took is an experience hard to duplicate.


Alex,

"So there they were in 1936 they could have crushed Hitler right then and there,"

Surely everybody knows this?

Alex said...

Kirk - William Shirer seemed to think so.

kimsch said...

Kirk, we only take 10% for his savings account. He'll get his shock when he sees how much the government takes for his taxes and that it won't be added to his savings account...

roesch/voltaire said...

Oh my to think we can talk about France or America as one whole country-- really? Any body want to take a walk with me in Chicago's Cabrini-Green and then Cross Plains in Wisconsin and tell me we can speak about both as the same representations of modern American parent hood? Or that folks living in Avignon are the same as in Paris-- I think not. But this bit of advice from the article seems worthy for anyone to consider: "They are zealous about talking to their kids, showing them nature and reading them lots of books. They take them to tennis lessons, painting classes and interactive science museums.( very middle class yes?)

Yet the French have managed to be involved with their families without becoming obsessive."
But frankly I am sure that children in both cultures fail the marshmallow test, but until a large number of children are tested in both cultures we have only anecdotal evidence. Gotta run now to pour myself a very nice pinot noir from New Zealand.

Freeman Hunt said...

I disagree with this women about applying lessons in patience to infants. And there's also certainly no lack of such attempts in the United States.

The Crack Emcee said...

roesch/voltaire,

Oh my to think we can talk about France or America as one whole country-- really? Any body want to take a walk with me in Chicago's Cabrini-Green and then Cross Plains in Wisconsin and tell me we can speak about both as the same representations of modern American parent hood?

Three things:

1) "We" weren't - the author was.

2) The author is a liar.

3) We are a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic republic of free people, much larger in size and outlook - and success - than France, so spare me.

And you wasted your money on the wine,...

rcocean said...

Crack seems to have 1st hand knowledge of the French - me I've only been a tourist.

That said, I'd rather live in Paris and about 10 other places in France over about 1000 places in the USA.

The Frogs must be doing something right.

lewsar said...

Verdun was primarily an artillery battle: a total of about 40 million artillery shells were exchanged, leaving behind millions of overlapping shell craters that are still partly visible.

i've been to france a couple of times, and during one of my flights i have both ww1 area trench lines and fields full of shell craters. this was in 2000 or so. almost 75 years later, and if you know what to look for the effects are still clearly visible.

spooky.

Alex said...

I'm kind of surprised that the Western Front of WWI holds little interest for Hollywood filmmakers. Extremely compelling stuff. I Still regularly watch All Quiet on the Western Front just to remind myself of what great film-making can be.

Tari said...

Freeman Hunt: on the "sit in the car" thing, I agree 100%. My husband and I have frequently thought of it as "pay now or pay later" with our boys. It's a lot easier to teach a 6 year old to do something right the first time than it is to make his snotty 16 year old butt behave when you've never disciplined (guided, educated, whatever you want to call it) him before. But again: that's basic common sense we learned from our parents, our friends' parents, etc. It's not French rocket science.

Henry said...

Guess what? In truth, nobody cares - wine is wine.

Why stop at wine? Why not just cut to the chase. Ethanol, methanol, butanol. It's all just alcohol.

Like music is all just music, right, Crack? It's a completely pointless line of knowledge.

The Crack Emcee said...

rcocean,

Crack seems to have 1st hand knowledge of the French - me I've only been a tourist.

That said, I'd rather live in Paris and about 10 other places in France over about 1000 places in the USA.

The Frogs must be doing something right.


You were a tourist - you know nothing. (Who wouldn't want to live in almost any major city in the world?) I'm currently in a little-bitty, backwards town in Texas, and, honestly, it reminds me of a lot of French villages. But, in many ways, it's better.

I could live here - I'll never live in France again,...

roesch/voltaire said...

Crack it seems to me that quite a few folks on this blog generalized about them and how many they killed in a war etc as thought that had something to do the the observations of a white American middle class mother's observations of the French bourgeoisie family. I doubt that she lied but yes her sample may have been small. My point is this discussion has to compare similar classes as there is no American family or French family, and the wine at $13 was well worth it, but of I don't try to impose my taste on others.

The Crack Emcee said...

Henry,

Why stop at wine? Why not just cut to the chase. Ethanol, methanol, butanol. It's all just alcohol.

Jesus, you're going for the stupid now,...

Like music is all just music, right, Crack? It's a completely pointless line of knowledge.

Excuse me - you've gone right to retarded:

"THE mind of the wine consumer is a woolly place, packed with odd and arcane information fascinating to few. Like the pants pocket of a 7-year-old boy, it’s full of bits of string, bottle caps and shiny rocks collected while making the daily rounds of wine shops, restaurants, periodicals and the wine-soaked back alleys of the Internet. It’s harmless stuff, really, except to those within earshot when a wine lover finds it necessary to elaborate on the nose, legs and body of a new infatuation.

Yet in recent months American wine drinkers have taken their turn as pop culture’s punching bags. In press accounts of two studies on wine psychology, consumers have been portrayed as dupes and twits, subject to the manipulations of marketers, critics and charlatan producers who have cloaked wine in mystique and sham sophistication in hopes of better separating the public from its money."


That hardly sounds like Hayden,...

Henry said...

If you're blind to the point, you're blind to the point.

Henry said...

That hardly sounds like Hayden,...

True. But it does sound like corporate rock. Start comparing A to A.

The Crack Emcee said...

roesch/voltaire,

My point is this discussion has to compare similar classes as there is no American family or French family, and the wine at $13 was well worth it, but of I don't try to impose my taste on others.

There may be no singular American family, but French families aren't that dissimilar - spend an evening with one and the level of boredom is pretty much like any other.

As for the wine, tell yourself anything you like to justify wasting your money (How to you quantify "worth it"? That you enjoyed it? Big deal - it's still a rip-off.) The wine industry is a scam, supported by suckers, for the benefit of the pompous - who the suckers hope to emulate or join.

Two Buck Chuck is just as good - and every taste test on the planet proves it.

Be a rube if you wish, I won't stop you,...

Alex said...

Ah, Charles Shaw red wine. I used to buy that a few years back when I was frugal. Now I'm richer and I buy the more expensive stuff at Costco. Just yesterday I bought a Chateau St. Michelle Merlot for $31. We'll see if it's worth it.

The Crack Emcee said...

Henry,

If you're blind to the point, you're blind to the point.

I'm not, but I have lived in France and - during my 20 years in San Francisco - spent my share of time in the Napa Valley. I know bullshit when I see and hear it.

Also, it's been a regular tactic of fools to compare whatever their particular worthless fetish is to music - merely because it's ephemeral - and NewAge spirituality has been thrown at me, as comparable to music, so many times I can't count. It's a fucking scam, too.

Sorry, but the canon of music can't be spun, nor is it evaluated based on price when one isn't blindfolded - it's worth is real.

Unfortunately, a bottle of wine is a bottle of wine, and people smile no matter what the price or the vintage.

Two Buck Chuck is good enough - but there's only one Coltrane.

Alex said...

Speaking of jazz, how about Miles Davis on "Bitches Brew"? You know why I think crackers like me like it - because it's progressive jazz and crackers like any kind of music that's "progressive".

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

Just yesterday I bought a Chateau St. Michelle Merlot for $31. We'll see if it's worth it.

it's been proven that, if you know the price, you'll enjoy it more - which is why you mentioned the price. Spending $31 is a testament to your "good taste" - or your gullibility. Try this instead:

Buy a bottle of Two Buck Chuck and invite some friends over - even people who "know wine" - and then, without letting them see what they're drinking, serve both. After they've had a taste, ask for reactions.

You'll be amazed,...

Alex said...

Crack - I've drunk plenty of Charles Shaw and I can tell the difference between that and $10 wine. Now whether there is any difference between $10 and $30 wine is the big question.

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

Speaking of jazz, how about Miles Davis on "Bitches Brew"? You know why I think crackers like me like it - because it's progressive jazz and crackers like any kind of music that's "progressive".

It's a cacophony, but there's stuff in there - Miles was no fool (when it came to music) and knew how to break the rules. He also broke people, which is unforgivable. I love his work, but was glad when he died:

That was one mean, twisted sombitch.

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

Crack - I've drunk plenty of Charles Shaw and I can tell the difference between that and $10 wine.

Blinded? That's the test - and Chuck wins every time.

I've pissed off many a connoisseur that way,...

Alex said...

Crack - believe me there is a smoothness to slightly more expensive Merlots that 2 buck chuck doesn't have. 2 buck chuck has a certain carbonated quality to it that's off putting when you've tasted better.

regarding Miles Davis being a bastard - so fucking what? Steve Jobs was a fucking bastard and look what a mark he left.

Alex said...

Miles Davis Still Generates Controversy

Crouch attacks Davis not only for his ``sellout`` to the greater commercial appeal of rock over jazz, but for the implicit racism in moving from ``black`` jazz toward ``white`` rock and a ``youth culture vulgarity that vandalizes the sweep and substance of Afro-American life.``

Beldar said...

Reading this, I was of course thinking back about my own four kids and their upbringing, and as I read this I kept saying, "Wow, my ex and I must be French without knowing it." Then I realized that the whole thing makes much more sense if you were to substitute "grown-up" for the word "French" and "nervous parents who live in buildings with doormen on or near Manhattan Island" for "American."

Tarzan said...

Raising kids is pretty much like raising any other exotic pet. Keep the dishes full and the cages clean and you're pretty much home free.

Just don't pick them up by their tails when cornered.

Palladian said...

France (and the French, forgetting the '68ers) is wonderful.

And there's still a lot of great French wine, since the Californians (re)taught the French how to make wine again after decades of decline.

To my palate, the crucial price point difference is not at $30 but at around $70. A bottle of Ch. Smith-Haut-Lafitte from a decent year is different than a bottle of Charles Shaw. But the great thing about wine these days is that even the cheaper wines are usually good, which was not the case in the past. There's surprisingly little bad wine these days and unless you know your wine and can shell out for an over $50 dollar bottle, you're just as well to drink a delicious cheap bottle ($12 or less) than pay more for something virtually indistinguishable.

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

Crack - believe me there is a smoothness to slightly more expensive Merlots that 2 buck chuck doesn't have. 2 buck chuck has a certain carbonated quality to it that's off putting when you've tasted better.

That's bullshit - all CS does is buy other bankrupted winery's stock, at pennies on the dollar, and relabel it as theirs - it's the same as those "slightly more expensive" brands because IT IS those "slightly more expensive" brands; they just didn't have the marketing savvy.

It's all in your mind, man.

<regarding Miles Davis being a bastard - so fucking what? Steve Jobs was a fucking bastard and look what a mark he left.

Dude, I'm into ethics - it matters. Sure, Miles was a genius, but a twisted one none-the-less.

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

Miles Davis Still Generates Controversy

Stanley Crouch is interesting. A smart guy, trapped in racial nonsense to such an extent his brilliance is stunted. I'd love to talk with him. I think we have mutual friends, so it might happen one day,...

Tank said...

Jeff with one 'f' said...

A close friend of mine is an artist from Portugal. She's well-travelled and spent some time in France in her twenties. She told me that the French were the rudest people she had ever encountered. They treated her rudely and dismissively in cafes, shops, etc.


This is the sort of thing we always heard about France, but found none of in 15 days there. We spent 4 days in Paris (a great, really beautiful and livable city), then 10 days in Provence. We stayed in St. Remy and visited many surrounding towns, big (LOL as to what is big!) and small, and interacted with lots of regular (ie. not catering to tourists) folk. Plus, got to observe them too.

We encountered no rudeness at all. No arrogance. And a very nice approach to living.

My wife, who was a preschool teacher, and now works at B & N in the childrens dept (and sees lots of American parent/child interaction) was struck by the easy way that so many French parents had with their children. We observed this over and over.

Hey look, YMMV, obviously Crack has some issues he needs to work out, as always, but his observations certainly weren't ours.

Tank said...

In honor of the French, we are having cheese fondue with our Superbowl.

Bon.

Crimso said...

The French, eh? Sounds Vichy to me.

Joe Schmoe said...

Maybe the French are better at parenting, but they're much worse at showering. And they still smoke like sons-of-bitches.

In the linked story the woman sounds like she didn't even try to get her kids to behave. She just ran interference, like a pass-blocking O lineman. She had to go to France to learn how to tell her kid 'no' and 'sit down'?! And let's face it; the bad-behaving French kids were kept out of the restaurants by parents who were smart enough not to put their kids in a position to fail.

We work very hard to get our kids to behave in public; generally they do well, but sometimes we can tell they're having trouble controlling themselves. That's when we stay home.

This is classic NYT fare, so I was surprised to see it in the WSJ. But the WSJ did the Tiger Mom book review, so now I guess they're positioning themselves as the paper of record for bashing American moms, or at least the place to pimp your book on American mom inferiority.

I've got a whole string of thoughts as to how we got where we are in contemporary American parenting, but this post is way too long as it is. I'll save it for another day. Let me just say we are at an interesting confluence of a whole host of cultural, socio-economic and technological trends/phenomena, that when viewed holistically and chronologically, can start to shed light on how we got to this point.

Nothing against any other cultures' moms, but American moms rock. Always have, always will. Nobody tries harder to make their kids' lives better than American moms.

The Crack Emcee said...

Tank,

This is the sort of thing we always heard about France, but found none of in 15 days there. We spent 4 days in Paris (a great, really beautiful and livable city), then 10 days in Provence. We stayed in St. Remy and visited many surrounding towns, big (LOL as to what is big!) and small, and interacted with lots of regular (ie. not catering to tourists) folk. Plus, got to observe them too.

We encountered no rudeness at all. No arrogance. And a very nice approach to living.


Tank, 15 days in Paris (a major city) and Aix-En-Provence (a college town) aren't FRANCE - or living there. I've lived in the major cities and the smallest of villages. You have no experience with the racism, the taxes, the petty squabbles that pass, almost, for entertainment.

Hey look, YMMV, obviously Crack has some issues he needs to work out, as always,...

You guys are going to have to get it through your heads that I can separate my personal issues from my observations and experiences:

My being chased from an ATM because the French didn't think a black person had a good reason to be there - or being attacked by Nazis or frequently seeing the broken windows of synagogues - had nothing to do with my divorce. That's just FRANCE.

Look, I'm glad you went and had a good time, but to compare 15 days, as a tourist in their showplaces, against 20 years of living all over the place is no comparison at all - and definitely no reason to smear me as having "issues" about it.

The Crack Emcee said...

Joe Schmoe,

Maybe the French are better at parenting, but they're much worse at showering. And they still smoke like sons-of-bitches.

That first comment is a stereotype, but the second is true:

Charles de Gaulle (the main airport) reeks of an ashtray.

Goju said...

The French during WW2 did not just surrender - they actively cooperated. Just look at Klaus Barbie (Butcher of Lyon). Klaus died of old age in French "captivity" because he threatened to tell the complete truth about how he was so successful. He said the French would have to rewrite their history concernng a lot of the heroes of the French Resistence.

Crack - you are 100% correct on the wine. I've done the wine tasting thing with $5 wine. None of the wine snobs knew the difference. None. They also have expensive bottles of wine they will never ever open and drink. Just want to brag about owning.

DBQ - My kids behave in public because I have always insisted they do so. Failure to behave results in penalities that are enforced. Numerous apologies, whining, pleading, etc do not get reductions in those penalites. I am not my children's friend, nor do I want to be. I am their father.

Dead Julius - It may be great being a kid in Denmark, but living there as an adult is a whole nother story. Freedon of speech is highly restricted - and possibly fatal if you happen to piss off the wrong group of people.

Dead Julius said...

@ Goju -

Freedon of speech is highly restricted - and possibly fatal if you happen to piss off the wrong group of people.

THAT is absolutely not true. Sure, some Muslims have threatened certain high-profile journalists. But generally there is freer speech in Denmark than in America.

In Denmark, I don't have to worry about blogging about porn (American obscenity laws!) or marijuana (American drug laws!), for instance.

And in Denmark the government doesn't monitor and harass those who might not agree 100% with the system like ours does-- just think of all those informants and infiltrators that have been sent to collect data on everything from peace groups to religious meetings.

Denmark has a cultural tradition that strongly supports free speech. Other EU countries are not so good in this regard, but Norway and Iceland are okay.

JAL said...

@ John re Freeman (yesterday)

"...sitting in the car with a parent in silence with no diversions while everyone else stays inside the restaurant."

So who did you say won that battle again?

======================

The battle or the war?

Grownups know that if you 'threaten' (or promise) something, you do it.

Is it inconvenient? Sometimes. But kids need to learn consistency (but not consistently *folding*). And they need to learn to trust the responsible people in their lives to be -- responsible.

The kid is the car is learning a couple lessons:

1. Misbehaving means isolation from the group. No more center of the universe for you buddy.
2. Misbehaving means nothing to do.
3. Misbehaving means no nice food of one's choice. (in the case of the restaurant.)
4. Mom (and / or Dad) mean what they say.
5. Etc. per whatever the unique situation is.

I can never recall ever. and I mean ever. having one of my 4 kids misbehave in a restaurant.

Or in a grocery store for that matter, except as a baby one who who needed to be fed and was frazzled.

Some of those families on the "Super Nanny" show totally blew my mind.

Where did those people come from?

JAL said...

As for the French being ungrateful -- I think I have mentioned it before, but my late sister-in-law's father was killed in France in 1944. He had come ashore on D-Day.

He was an officer, and was scouting a village outside Paris months later when his vehicle was blasted by Germans. The villagers carried him to their church. The US Army came through the next day. He is buried at Epinal.

For more than 50 years the American family and the French villagers did not know who each other were until one of the daughters here sent an email to someone in France making an inquiry.

As they say -- long story short, since then a number of descendents of this American soldier have visited this village over the last 10 years and been blessed by gracious, wonderful hospitality from the family of one of the teenaged sons who helped move the soldier's body.

The "boy" is now in his 80s and my husband and I, even though we are not blood relatives, were welcomed by his daughter and husband and were wined and dined as this family told us again, with tears, about how thankful they were.

So while we can't speak to the country -- we can tell you of the hearts of a French family in a little village northeast of Paris.

They are grateful.

Goju said...

Dead Julius, Freer speech than in America? Really. Like the Muslim woman (can't recall her name offhand) who was prosecuted and run out of Denmark for telling the truth about the treatment of women by Muslims?

You may also be interested to know that Denmark is a receiptient of info from intell assets like Carnivore. And like all countries, Denmark does indeed monitor the internet. In this day and age, not doing so would be incredibly stupid. Denmark's laws are vastly different than the US. Some much more tolerant, some much less so. Europe in general is much less tolerant of speech than the US. The EU charter prohibits disrespect of any religion - even if you are telling the truth.

I have worked with and lived around people from many European countries - and they have all expressed amazement at what Americans are allowed to say and do. They also cannot believe how uptight we are about nudity, sex, etc.

Goju said...

Damn---the Muslim woman case was in Holland not Denmark. My apologies.

Dead Julius said...

@ Goju -

I agree that the Netherlands does not support free speech. The woman you are thinking of is Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Americans always seem to confuse the Dutch with the Danes, and Amsterdam with Copenhagen! They are very, very different places.

There's a reason that the Muslim cartoons came out of Denmark. They're the only country where the citizens have enough balls to do something like that. By contrast, our national "papers of record" would (and did!) self-censor the drawings. Denmark passed that free speech test; America barely passed because only the conservatives told the truth.

Alex said...

DJ - that Dutch troublemaker got what she deserved for spewing hate at innocent Muslims.

Dead Julius said...

Very good, Alex! You pass the free speech test too.

Joe Schmoe said...

That first comment is a stereotype

Crack, my experience with the French is not so much as a tourist but more as a professional. My comment is based on my experience from sitting next to them at their desks and in meetings. And most of them had B.O.

And Crack, thanks for sharing your experiences here. I've enjoyed reading them. Not saying I buy into all that you're saying; just saying I've enjoyed what you've had to say. I agree that visiting a country is much, much different than living there, when you have to experience a whole different set of issues.

The Crack Emcee said...

Joe Schmoe,

Crack, my experience with the French is not so much as a tourist but more as a professional. My comment is based on my experience from sitting next to them at their desks and in meetings. And most of them had B.O.

Hilarious LOL!

And Crack, thanks for sharing your experiences here. I've enjoyed reading them. Not saying I buy into all that you're saying; just saying I've enjoyed what you've had to say.

You're welcome. My experiences are that of a black conservative - which isn't even easy here - but they're true. I guess I could make up being chased from an ATM and the rest, but why would I? Plus many of the things I've said have been seconded by others, so there's that.

I agree that visiting a country is much, much different than living there, when you have to experience a whole different set of issues.

You said it. It all looks different once you're not leaving. I remember this one guy, Mr. Paul, who was the informal mayor of a village and, if Tank met him on his 15 day excursion, he'd think was the nicest guy in the world, as I did. But, once I moved to France and saw how he conducted business, came away with an image of the guy that was almost evil, if not so. He was about as unfair a man as I'd ever encountered (until that time) and seemed to go out of his way to make other's lives miserable. Especially if they were Arab or non-white. (He never messed with me because of my marriage but did notice the change that came over me as I watched him operate.) If I hadn't lived there, I never would've known such things and continued to think he was the greatest guy I'd ever met.

Looks are deceiving, especially in France,...

Doc Merlin said...

@Dead Julius
'In Denmark, I don't have to worry about blogging about porn (American obscenity laws!) or marijuana (American drug laws!), for instance.'

This proves to me, that you know nothing at all about the US. US obscenity laws are significantly less strict than the european equivalent. Our laws about pornography for example are less restrictive than almost any country in europe.

Jennifer said...

After two years of living in Europe, my general impression is that European children are better behaved than American children. And yes, playgrounds are like lord of the flies here and no there isn't much in the way of safety equipment. But, guess what...? That's pretty much exactly how my parents grew up. In America. And there's a lot to be said for that.

The main difference between European parents and American parents - as far as I can tell - is that they are raising their children pretty much the same way that they were raised, which is pretty much the way my parents were raised. They don't read 73 books on how to raise children - including books on how other countries' parents raise their children - they just do what they watched their parents do.

German playgrounds and children are similar to what she's describing about French children. And a lot of the American parents here hate it. They can't stand that their children are expected to actually sort out their differences with other children while at kindergarten. They can't sit by on the playground and watch their children figure out whose turn is next. But the benefit to actually allowing children to entertain themselves and sort out their own problems is MINDBLOWING - O.M.G. they learn to entertain themselves and sort out their own problems.

And on a side note, I'm not sure what the difference is between knee jerk loving all things European and knee jerk hating all things European. But, I'm quite sure the latter is significantly more intelligent.

Dead Julius said...

@Doc Merlin -

This proves to me, that you know nothing at all about the US. US obscenity laws are significantly less strict than the european equivalent. Our laws about pornography for example are less restrictive than almost any country in europe.

You are jumping to conclusions. I live half the year in the U.S. and am very familiar with its obscenity laws. Here in America, porn site operators have to worry that their product might offend some community standards, somewhere, maybe in Polk County FL, and that they'll be hauled into court and threatened with sex offender registration unless they plead guilty. And there's the ridiculous 2257 regulations, which require porn site operators to maintain documentation of the ages of all performs and allow them to be inspected at will and without notice or appointment... and these records must be maintained for performers regardless of age-- even for those who are 70 years old! These are just two examples...

None of these worries exist in Denmark. There is no problem there with any consensual activity between adults.

I think you are blinded by an "America is the most free" presumption.