....LMB: "La Haine"....

March 13, 2003

My mind boggles at the level of anti-French sentiment in the U.S. right now. While the press might like to make sweeping generalizations that "Americans hate the French," I think it's a safe bet that most Americans don't give a fuck about the French one way or the other. Americans who intensely desire the Iraq war probably do, as do rather dumb people who like jumping on angry bandwagons, but I don't think that many other people put much thought or energy into the issue. The anti-French people just happen to be exceptionally loud.

Part of this is arrogance. We Americans are told from the day that we're born that America is the greatest country on Earth, and since we live here, we must be the greatest too. And we've got all kinds of evidence for that: American military power, technological advances, economic success, and popularity of our entertainment products. Add to that the country's immense size (many Americans will live their lives without ever leaving the country's borders), few neighbors (just Canada and Mexico), and huge distance to other nations, and you get a "we are the best" myth with little counter-evidence.

So when an "inferior" country starts "telling us what to do," some folks will get angry. It's the anger of the powerful who faces opposition. It's like in Bush's recent press conference when he said that the U.S. was "at the mercy of Saddam Hussein." Hussein's a tin-pot dictator of a ravaged country with maybe a supply of chemical weapons. And he has the most powerful nation in history "at his mercy?" When you're in absolute control, even the tiniest threat to that control can seem like a catastrophe.

(The France-haters do get one thing right though, that anti-war folks are happily ignoring: the French leadership is not opposing the Iraq war because they are more moral than American leaders, they are opposing it because of national politics and their current economic ties to Iraq. Nobody's a good guy here)

So that's the story, France. You're getting bashed for disobedience and insubordination. Since we're the best, you're supposed to do whatever we tell you. Refusing to do so is an insult of the highest caliber, and therefore loud American dumb-asses are playing some serious symbolic hardball.

It started off simply, with calls for a boycott of French goods.

Then local restaurants started renaming their foods with the word "French" in the title. "French toast" becaome "freedom toast," and so on.

Then, Congress followed suit, renaming all the "French" food in their cafeteria. "French fries" became "freedom fries" (presumably to be served with "Look At Us, We're Fucking Idiots Burgers"). Asked about this bold new potato-naming policy, a puzzled French diplomant said "'French fries did not originate in France, they came from Belgium."

(There was a similar burst of food nomenclature-based patriotism in the U.S. during WWII. "Hamburger" became "Salibury steak," and "sauerkraut" became "liberty cabbage." It astounds me that France is facing the same sort of backlash as THE NAZIS because they didn't want to vote for our war)

And now, the absolute most godawful, stupid-ass, batshit-crazy anti-France action to date....

[drumroll]

"A Florida congresswoman has proposed that the government pay for families who might want to bring home from France the remains of Americans who fought and died in the world wars."

"I, along with many other Americans, do not feel that the French government appreciates the sacrifices men and women in uniform have made to defend the freedom that the French enjoy today," Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite said in introducing legislation providing financial help for the reburial of veterans from the two world wars."

To quote blogger August, "I'm going to repeat that now. A congresswoman is pushing a bill.... that funds the government... to dig up... bodies... because we're mad... at France"

GAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!

Could someone please find me Ms. Brown-Waite's email address? I'd like to send her a message:

Dear Rep. Brown-Waite,

Having heard about your proposed plan to use my tax dollars to unbury American bodies from French soil and bring them back to the United States and rebury them, I can only conclude that you are the stupidest human being ever.

EVER.

Sincerely,

Jake Sexton

So, in conclusion:

1) Many Americans are dumb and like having a place to focus their anger.
2) The French people are okay, the French government probably isn't
3) Don't get huffy, the American government sucks too
4) Symbolic politics are stupid.
5) You can be elected to office even if you are clinically insane.

Thank you, goodnight.

Posted by Jake at 09:29 PM
Comments

Being a french reader i wanted to comment on your discussion about americans hating french and more specifically about your assertion that the french governement is doing what it is doing because of its economic ties to Iraq.

It is clear that every government in this affair is caught in its own contradictions. It's true for France, for Russia, for England, for Germany and most certainly for the US. We have all been messing with the politics of this region for far too long and we all stand guilty at various degrees for the current mess in the middle east and in Iraq.

However, the idea that economic interests are the main driving force behind the french policy doesn't make much sense. The reason is quite simple: since we know for sure that war will break out and that americans will soon be in power in Iraq, why would the french try so hard to alienate themsleves from the US ? It seems to me that the best way for France to serve its economic interests in Iraq would be to be on america's side. There are in fact people in the government who are getting quite worried about the economic consequences of that french policy.

So what's the reason then ? It seems to me that the main reason the french are doing what they are doing is political. The world opinion is massively against this war and against the current US administration. I think Chirac, Putin and Schroeder saw that and saw the multiple contradictions and dangers of the current US policy and decided to act to stop that and to isolate the US administration. An administration that more and more people around the world are getting very nervous about. If they succeed they might do a lot of damage to Bush and its followers like Aznar and Blair, and frankly i'd be perfecly happy with that.

Posted by: Gregory Duquesne at March 14, 2003 04:06 AM

I totaly aggree with you. Most people ignore the facts of why France doesnt want a war, but thats no reason for american leadership to act like a spoiled little buy with a ball, who decideds its time to say "Its my ball, play it my way or im going home"

Relorian MaLorn

Posted by: Relorian MaLorn at March 14, 2003 08:13 AM

You've got a point Gregory, I did oversimplify. And really I can't find much fault with your argument about the French position being more about opposing the spread of U.S. domination than about economic gain. Which is kind of ironic, as that would mean that the French are being, as the American anti-France crowd yells loudly, "anti-American."

Posted by: Jake at March 14, 2003 08:50 AM

Freedom fries, huh? This is political correctness in reverse. Now we can accuse right-wingers of manipulating language to suit their needs.

Posted by: Eric at March 14, 2003 08:52 AM

Does opposition to world US domination is anti-american ? I don't think it is, plus i don't think american people want to rule the world, this has been tried before many times in history and it always ended up badly. I also believe that the kind of "soft" domination that the US has been using for decades is a much more effective way for americans to influence world events in their favor. The current policy of threats, yells and scares is extremely conter productive and will lead nowhere.

In my view, opposition to the Bush administration is probably the best thing we could do as friends and allies.

Posted by: Greogry Duquesne at March 14, 2003 09:24 AM

I have given up French Kissing. I now will only engage in Freedom Kissing. Carry on.

Posted by: Todd at March 14, 2003 10:47 AM

I was being a bit facetious there Gregory. Trying to prevent U.S. global domination could be seen as "anti-American" because it is opposing American policy. No, the American government and the American people are not synonymous, but when they are neck-deep in symoblism and patriotism, people are unlikely to notice the difference.

But yes, anything you can do to take our motherfucking president down a couple of pegs is fine in my book. He won't listen to anything we Americans say, maybe foreign pressure can do, I dunno, something.

Posted by: Jake at March 14, 2003 11:11 AM

Oh, Jake, there's more. check out this story from the UK's Times Online saying that our boys are writing "Fuque the French" on their bombs:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-610213,00.html

Reminds me of that picture where bombs destined to ruin lives in Afghanistan had "Hijack This, Fags!" written on them by our soldiers.

Fagbomb pic:
http://eafarris.al.umces.edu/node.php?id=284

Posted by: eric at March 14, 2003 01:20 PM

Sorry, but I am stupid with computers. Actually, I'm not sorry. I work outside year-round in real light.

Anyway, following is a link to a site that explains why we (Americans of the United States) owe the French a hell of a lot--including an apology for idiotically saying that THEY don't remember a goddamned thing. Where's our mirror?

http://www.ai.mit.edu/people/sfelshin/saintonge/frhist.html

Please note the last sentence. Eerily deja-voyeuristic (pardon the bad pun, Gregory).

Posted by: Shawn at March 14, 2003 05:25 PM

Shawn,

It is unpatriotic for Americans to remember anything that happened more than 3 years ago, with the sole exception of WWII.

Posted by: Jake at March 15, 2003 01:25 PM

Someone wrote in and said that the French weren't motivated by economics since they would be better suited by staying on the side of the world's economic power, the U.S. This person in simply wrong since the French government overplayed their hand and thought they could secure their oil source, turn opinion against the U.S., win support for France, gain favor in the global community, and assert their power over the superpower. Clearly the French government isn't concerned with ethics or morals. They are driven by money and power.

Isn't the U.S. also driven by money and power, you say? Of course! However, our self-interested motivations don't require us to keep a tyrant in power, keep the Iraq people oppressed by their absurd governing body, and risk the lives of Saddam's neighbors who may be attacked for a THIRD time by his military.

So, greedy motivations send chills up my spine whether they are the U.S.'s or France's. But, I become absolutely repulsed when one country attempts to serve their self-interests which endanger the people of the Middle East.

That is the reason why I now eat freedom fries and freedom toast as well as give my loved one a freedom kiss. Also, reasonable, good-willed Americans like me who are willing to die for a valid cause are the reason why the French don't criticize the U.S. in German.

Your response?

Posted by: Daniel at March 23, 2003 01:17 AM

Dude, the US has been keeping tyrants in power for years. Read some Latin American and African history. Usually we prefer a right-wing crackpot over a democratically elected leftist anyday. Never mind the bloody dicatorships that result.
Steve

Posted by: Steve at April 21, 2003 09:00 PM

It seems strange that any intelligent person could possibly ignore the fact that the middle east has been in constant border battles for hundres (thousands) of years! The issue is that the US chooses to step in when it benefit and we shouldn't be hiding behind false reasons like 9/11 or the 'poor' peole of Iraq. Everyone, inlcuding the Iraqies don't like Saddam. Everyone agrees he's an oppressive dictator who has killed, oppressed, used bio weapons to kill an ethnic group in his country - sound like Eastern Europe? And when did we step in there?

I respect the French for their refusal to follow the American belief that it's the American way or the highway. Freedom fries my ass - another stupid lack of forethought and research move "Belgium" fries. French don't hate Americans, they just think they are naive - wonder why?

Come on, has anyone thought about the profits reaped by those close to Bush through the rebuilding of Iraq - Bechtel phone company, for instance? Sick. The Americans obviously don't have a great post-war plan except to "guard the ministry of oil in bagdad" All the other buildings were pillaged but the US soldiers had guns surrounding the ministry of oil. I wish the US could see what the rest of the world can.

Open some eyes and ears out there!!

Posted by: chandra at April 24, 2003 02:26 AM

Saddom H. is just a pea in the pod. However, He was mistreating his own people. Innocent people. I have spoken to a curd from over there who couldn't have been more happier about the situation for him and his family over there. I feel for the iraqies and at times feel they are very ungrateful but I as an american can't help but think it was all really over oil. As for freedom anything-I feel it is the most redunant thing anyone can say. I look at it like this, France did what France felt they had to do and so it was. As far as freedom-we are not as free as we would like to think we americans are. For not even the stars are free for the are hung in the sky. Giving back the statue of liberty! so i heard said. That is obserd! She is apart of history, a gift from the children over there to us. Who is being selfish in all of this-makes me wonder about america and what she stands for. I personally myself have nothing against anyone but terrist and that should be the main focus but I don't see bin laden behind bars yet nor his "Cult" seized. And Jake, your comment about americans not knowing anything over 3 yrs. It made me wonder where you get your information because it sounds to me that you don't get out and meet to many people.

Posted by: Debra at August 19, 2003 08:46 PM

Saddom H. is just a pea in the pod. However, He was mistreating his own people. Innocent people. I have spoken to a curd from over there who couldn't have been more happier about the situation for him and his family over there. I feel for the iraqies and at times feel they are very ungrateful but I as an american can't help but think it was all really over oil. As for freedom anything-I feel it is the most redunant thing anyone can say. I look at it like this, France did what France felt they had to do and so it was. As far as freedom-we are not as free as we would like to think we americans are. For not even the stars are free for the are hung in the sky. Giving back the statue of liberty! so i heard said. That is obserd! She is apart of history, a gift from the children over there to us. Who is being selfish in all of this-makes me wonder about america and what she stands for. I personally myself have nothing against anyone but terrist and that should be the main focus but I don't see bin laden behind bars yet nor his "Cult" seized. And Jake, your comment about americans not knowing anything over 3 yrs. It made me wonder where you get your information because it sounds to me that you don't get out and meet to many people.

Posted by: Debra at August 19, 2003 08:46 PM

Saddom H. is just a pea in the pod. However, He was mistreating his own people. Innocent people. I have spoken to a curd from over there who couldn't have been more happier about the situation for him and his family over there. I feel for the iraqies and at times feel they are very ungrateful but I as an american can't help but think it was all really over oil. As for freedom anything-I feel it is the most redunant thing anyone can say. I look at it like this, France did what France felt they had to do and so it was. As far as freedom-we are not as free as we would like to think we americans are. For not even the stars are free for the are hung in the sky. Giving back the statue of liberty! so i heard said. That is obserd! She is apart of history, a gift from the children over there to us. Who is being selfish in all of this-makes me wonder about america and what she stands for. I personally myself have nothing against anyone but terrist and that should be the main focus but I don't see bin laden behind bars yet nor his "Cult" seized. And Jake, your comment about americans not knowing anything over 3 yrs. It made me wonder where you get your information because it sounds to me that you don't get out and meet to many people.

Posted by: Debra at August 19, 2003 08:47 PM

Debra, Jake was being sarcastic.

Posted by: To DEBRA at August 23, 2003 11:01 PM
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

Both projects focus on our media-marinated world, political lies, corporate tyranny, and the folks fighting the good fight against these monsters.

All brought to you by Jake Sexton, The Most Beloved Man in America ģ.


contact: jake+at+lyingmediabastards.com

Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
More Media News

Jake Jake Jake

 

Fake "Ha-Ha" News

News

 

Quotes

"8:45? And here I am yapping away like it's 8:35!"
-Ned Flanders

More Quotes

Media News

 

Obligatory Blog Links

 

Snapshots

Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:

Failure.

What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

More Snapshots

Columnists Of Note

 

References

Sonic Resistance

 

Dead Trees

 

Heavy Rotation

Archives

 

Squiggles of Insight

SubvertWare

Credits

Design and Layout by Mark McLaughlin and Quang Tang
LMB Logo by Quang Tang

Alt "One Hell of a Leader" logo largely stolen from Obey Giant.
All other material by Jake Sexton (unless otherwise cited)

hosted by nice dream