The poor French just can’t get a break. Riots in the streets of Paris and now, it seems,
almost all of their
neighbors dislike them. And I’m not talking about “neighbors” in the political/ideological sense. I mean we all
know what the Bushies and the Brits think of the French (surrender monkeys or something like that?). No, I’m talking
about even the Dutch and the Swedes. While all of Europe may not agree on whether Turkey should be part of the Union or
on the worthiness of subsidies, everyone pretty much seems to agree the French are rude, arrogant and smelly (OK, I
added that last part…and I’m only kidding…it’s their cheese that’s smelly).
Personally, I think all this anti-French (not to mention anti-America) stuff is nonsense. Defining an entire country
and culture with a few mean (or nice) adjectives is really a worthless and ultimately self-defeating effort. Why
self-defeating? Because when you generalize too much about anything, you are apt to lose touch with the nuances that
give that something character and definition. And in this day and age, especially, when the world is so riddled with
nuance, we’re better off keeping as open a mind and eye as possible.