Ted Reinstein’s column “Hold the Fries”, despite some good intentions, is replete with Anti-French stereotypes of the worst kind. The column dwells on historical caricatures, a backhanded dismissal of the French Resistance, including claims such as: the French “never earned a particularly fierce reputation as warriors”.
We at Miquelon.org, could embark upon a very lengthy lecture rambling on about how during the Korean war, The French Battalion won three American Presidential Citations, five French Citations, two Korean Presidential Citations, or how in World War I, over 1.3 million men died in a ruthless and pointless war, or the fact that the same amount of French and American soldiers died in combat in World War II. We could also quote the ‘Information & Education Division’ of the US Occupation Forces. But what’s the point?
Historical accuracy, context and perspective are futile in this world of prefabricated truths conveniently packaged by a ruthless media machine. Caricatures aside, the most offensive passage remains the following: “the French may be many things — arrogant, supercilious, self-righteous. They may use too much cream in their cooking, not bathe frequently enough, and insist on their narcissistic notion that, Civilization — il est France.” Putting aside the fact most columnists and journalists who mock France have a poor command of the language (Il est France?), Reinstein ruined an perfect opportunity to write an excellent piece by wallowing in the worst of Anti-French stereotypes.
Marc St Aubin du Cormier
Read Reinstein’s colum, and express yourself to him in an email to treinstein(at)hearst(.)com
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