Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Red State Frenchmen

Until quite recently I can truthfully say that I had not yet met a Frenchman (or Frenchwoman for that matter), that was actually pleasant to deal with. It seemed that they would go out of their way to be obnoxious, that they had managed to raise arrogance and rudeness to a whole new level.

I remember a Frenchman working (?) the ticket counter of Air New Zealand in Tahiti who put all of the English speaking passengers to one side so the French speaking passengers could be checked in first. We were all going to be on the same airplane, so it didn't really make much difference, but certainly wasn't what you'd call friendly customer service.

I remember a French woman at the front desk at a Club Med in Tahiti who refused to be any help in locating my college room mate who was staying there. She would not tell me what room he was in, nor would she even take a message for him so he could contact me. I finally wandered around for a while and found him on my own. Since he was six-three he wasn't too hard to spot!

I could relate incident after incident where my opinion of the French in general sank to new lows, but that's not the point.

Early in the American Revolution (The American Rebellion in British school books) a French rich guy known as Lafayette decided to help, on his own. Since he had the money, he went out and bought the equivalent of a modern battleship of the day, then hired a crew, and sailed it to America. He found George Washington, who already had his hands full fighting the British, and volunteered to help.

Lafayette later talked the French government into joining with the Americans against the British. Lafayette was instrumental in several naval victories over the British warships. In fact, it can be argued that without the help of the French, we might still be a part of Great Britain. Now I realise that this is a historical simplification, but you get the idea.

Generally speaking, WWII was not a high point in French history, but some of the heroics of the French underground are worth noting.

Today we see a France with some major social problems, what appears to be nearly out of control socialism, questionable international arms deals, and more. The images of cars burning in the streets keeps coming to mind. Most of what I read in the mainstream media about France is not good.

Then a very small light bulb came on. Most of what I read about the United States in the MSM isn't very positive either, and just about everything I read about Iraq is not only negative and biased, but often just wrong.

Perhaps there IS another side to France and it's residents, I'm just not seeing it in the MSM. To a large degree, it's that way in the United States right now. This country is clearly split into the liberal socialist blue staters, and the conservative capitalist red staters. Could it be that there are "Red State" and "Blue State" Frenchmen too?

A while back I got to know fellow gun blogger and bowling pin shooter, Manfred, who's blog is Armes Et Tir Passion. An English translation would be something like "Firearms Are My Passion", but I think a closer 'American' translation whould be "Rabid Gun Nut!"

It didn't take long to find out that he and I see eye to eye on a lot of issues, including our passion for sport handgunning. Manfred sounds like a "Red State" Frenchman to me, and if there's one, there's more, as they say. I find that most encouraging.

So what's my point in this rambling post? First, I owe some folks in France an apology. Not to the jerks who have gone out of their way to be arrogant and rude, but to the other "Red State" Frenchmen and women, those that DO have manners, those that, like a lot of us, are just doing their best to get along and go about living their lives.

When you hear broad generalizations made about the French, or any other country for that matter, remember that there are probably some "Red Staters" in that country too. You just don't hear too much about them.

In the past I have painted the French with too broad a brush.

In the future I will be more careful.........


At Wednesday, January 10, 2007 11:06:00 PM, Blogger Rivrdog said...

A better translation of that blog title would be "Shooting-passion and firearms"

The "tir" (shooting) is an adjective here, modifying the noun "passion".

What you say is true, Mr. C, but let's not forget that nations are known by what their governments want them to be known as. Did you know that the French government has a bureau dedicated to erasing the use of crossover English words that creep into French usage?

The French government knows all about the issues of poor tourist customer service, etc, but chooses to do nothing to counter these claims of unfriendliness.

That is quite telling.

By all means, continue your friendship with those French people who you find pleasant relations with, but be aware that the government over there does not support them.

If you need proof, just look at the struggling United Europe movement. It has far more failures than successes.

Look at NATO. In 1982, I participated in a NATO exercise called (by the Strategic Air Command) "Busy Brewer". We had fine military relationships with Germany, Belgium, England and the Scandinavians, but the French refused our B52s overflight permission when we flew out to the Med for a training mission. The overall exercise involved the French military, also!

I, personally, am very worried about the French Force de Frappe, their strategic nuclear forces. I am just as worried about those nukes falling into terrorist hands as I am about Nork nukes and Russian nukes.

Make all the French personal friends you want, Mr. C, but don't drop your guard.

The French government is NOT our friend, and is unlikely to be for a long time.

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 5:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is so much to say I don't know where to begin.

Maybe the most important thing to know about France is that all medias, arts, culture, justice and everything visible are ruled by socialists or communists since the end of the WWII and the riots in 1968.
former socialist president Fran├žois Mitterand also gave very high posts to his friends and familly.

It means that everything you hear about France and his people is exactly what our government wants you to think.
Our politics are affraid of muslims reactions (economy matters) and they work hard to let them think french like islam and hate usa.

17 years ago a baker shot a (arabian) robber with a riot gun, it was not the first time she were attacked in her shop.
During the trial thousands of people went to the street to support her, finally the judge has been very comprehensive with her.

One week later riots started all over the city, cars were burnt and bus were attacked with molotov coktails.
A large number of cops were deployed but not to stop the riot, in fact they protected them from the "true" people.
Once a time 30 cars full of armed citizens went to the part of the city where the riots were coming from, policemen stopped them telling "if you go further we'll must arrest you we are sorry it's order".

Finally the woman who defended her shop had a new trial and went to jail.

This story shows that france sucks I agree, but it also means that many french don't agree with what our politics have made of their country.
One day or another the governement will change for true and we'll see what France trully is.

Still some days to wait for the superbowl, we'll meet with friends and enjoy it while eating pizzas and pop corn as we do each year.

Manfred a proud french who likes america a lot.

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 9:08:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like France has similar problems as the USA. Everyone judges the entire population by the current government. Remember the Clinton years? Would you like the world to think all Americans were like him?


At Thursday, January 11, 2007 10:41:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Completely said...

RD: As to ANY government being our "friend", I need only to think of the original intent of the Second Amendment. Jefferson and his buddies had it figured out a long time ago.

Manfred: Do you drink beer or wine with the pizza at a French Super party? Just curious.....

Merle: Right on!

..... Mr. C.

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 12:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Merle, I believed america is becoming mad during the Clinton era.

My friends drink some wine, one glass not more and coca ,I personally drink coca cola and water only. That is for the superbowl.
French always drink some wine at dinner when inviting, red wine with meat, white wine with fish.
When there's a party french drink beer, wisky,vodka malibu but no wine.

Last week-end I went to visit a friend in Paris, he married a mexican girl who studied in California, her familly came for the new year including her brother who is now american and live in San diego.
We let them taste wines, cheeses and typically french chocolate candies.
They really liked it, even this "stinking evil cheese" I can't sustain myself :-)

At Thursday, January 11, 2007 5:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While Manfred seems a nice chap, and all his words ring true, and I don't mean for this to be personal to him, but as for me, France can go to hell. The USA backed them on many many occasions, and all the powers that be there spit in our face for our trouble and at every opportunity.

Oil for food scandal anyone??? And that is the tip of the iceburg.

Manfred, I'd back you up anyday, but as for frogs in general, they can pound sand.


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