Happy New … Oh No, Here We Go Again …

The year is only six days old and French Bashing still seems in vogue in certain circles. SuperFrenchie has just posted an alert over a “reality show” from ABC, which involves actors playing rude Americans in Paris. We’re not quite sure who’s bashing whom, or what the purpose of the show really is, but do check out SF’s blog for reactions and lively discussion.

On another front, this one being in the Gulf of Aden, the news of French successes against Somali pirates is being greeted with sarcasm by Jennifer Fermino – are we Italian? – of the New York Post. Harping on France’s 1940 surrender, which we remind our non-French readers, is as funny to the French as 9/11 is to Americans, Fermino plays loose with history and claims the French have not had a military success on water since 1884.

Please use the comment section of the New York Post to leave informative and thought provoking comments.

27 Replies to “Happy New … Oh No, Here We Go Again …”

  1. Of course, the British have had great successes, such as murdering helpless French sailors whose ships were at port in Mers-el-Kebir.

    Many have tried to excuse Mers-el-Kebir, to portray it as the consequence of French arrogance. I call it murder, come what may.

    As for Italians, she’s out of luck. They switched sides four times during the last world war, were defeated by the French on nearly all fronts (even when France was nearly defeated and they tried to invade from the South), and scored nary a success.

    Oh, and the MASSIVE surrender at the battle of Caporetto comes to mind: About a hundred German soldiers get over 100,000 Italian soldiers to surrender, capturing over 160 artillery pieces.

    Not bad, eh?

  2. The New York Post is a real rag.  It is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Fox Network.
    André Wernesson, #1:  Your post is very interesting.  I didn’t know about Mers-El-Kebir.  I looked it up in Wikipedia.  I didn’t know about Caporetto either.  I knew the Italians changed sides twice during WW2 but I didn’t know it was actually four times.  I’m going to look further into this.

  3. The New York Post is a complete waste of time. It has zero objectivity and only exists to push propaganda from the far right. The best approach to dealing with these idiots is to file complaints with those who advertise in the NYP. No money and they will go away.

  4. It shouldn’t be a surpise to anyone that even Rupert Murdoch, News Corp CEO and the owner of the New York Post, made a desperate attempt to distance himself from this embarassing low quality, gossip newspaper. He spent $5 Bln at the worst possible time to acquire Dow Jones, Wall Street Jorunal’s parent company… guess he felt that “Murdoch, the owner of the Wall Street journal” sounded clearly better than “Murdoch, the owner of The New York Post”…

  5. #1 Wernesson is back! Not only anglophobia, germanophobia and europhobia: now on the top of that Italian bashing. I definitely disagree with that behavior. You don’t fight against French bashing by another bashing, as vulgar and partial as Fermino’s and co.

    As far as the question of French and Germans is concerned, the answer is quite simple. French bashing is the result of a desapointed love. The Americans were offended by French reaction to the invasion of Iraq because they EXPECTED France to act differently, because France means in fact something for them, which is not the case for Germany, and neither for Turkey. Germany and Turkey are allies but no sentimental intimate friends. They don’t hate Russia either because it was never a friend to them. The feeling of betrayal can only come from a friend.    

  6. Jean-Paul: You are an arse and a cad. I am not “back”, I’ve been here for quite a long while.

    Whereas you, you are a persecuting idiot without the least social instinct. I can find DOZENS of examples in which you attack anyone with ideas different to yours.

    And you add an unfounded self-righteousness to the mix! Phaugh.

    You sir deserve a firm correction. Were you not hiding behind a computer screen, I assure you sir, you would not be half as cocky as you are now.

  7. You have no arguments to oppose to my objections. You are attacking Italians exactly the sameway Franch Bshers attack the French. It is a fact and keep cool.

  8. You have no facts whatsoever, you have no insight to speak of.

    You grab fragmentary observations and build up a fantasy of your own. Arguments? You have only your fancy to guide you.

    I am angered, because you seem to have an obsession with me.

    I object to all charges except europhobia. I am neither an anglophobe nor a germanophobe, as I am both versed in those cultures, and have studied and appreciated both extensively. I have been living in Italy for three months (doctoral grant) and I must admit it wasn’t a happy experience, but that has nothing to do with the point.

    Now, “europhobia”, if you may call it so (using the “phobe” termination you like so much) I do not object to. I believe, as a scholar, that no-one with true commitment to the universitary ideal may like the european union, as it stands to all that is contrary to it: it opposes dehumanizing capitalistic material gain to culture and diversity. Ergo: culture only interests it as a means of gaining money. When it becomes an obstacle to gaining money, it must be destroyed.

    I would add jean-paulophobia to the list, though. Your sort of person I thoroughly detest.

  9. Your argument, to sum it up is : not the French but the Italians are the surrender monkeys. I fail to see the relevance of the battle of Caporetto against this lady. You are using it exactly the way Britons use the battle of Dunkirk etc.. 

  10. I quote an example, to prove how void it is for a person to affect superiority whereas we all have had our humiliating moments. Can’t you understand that? I am attacking their feeling of superiority, not asserting their inferiority.

  11. Counter-offensive

    OK, so Jean-Paul has a kick out of pursuing me wherever I go and making erroneous (and ridiculous) judgements on my person. Fine.

    I’ve nevertheless decided that with trolls like this, it is impossible to stay on the eternal defensive, as they’ll always be back for more, so let’s have a bit on Jean-Paul, shall we?

    At first one might think Jean-Paul is a Wernessonophobe — no problem with that, I myself am a proud Jeanpaulophobe. Nonetheless, it so turns out he’s a peopleophobe! Let’s see his awesome comments on SF’s blog whenever someone disagrees with him:

    “You bother me with your meaningless questions.”

    “You don’t have anything interesting to say.”

    “une réaction d’imbécile.”

    “Surprising bad faith. You are like the Jesuit in Pascal’s PROVINCIALES.”

    “You are in my view dishonest and highly partial. Langue de bois à l’état pur.”

    And after these few examples, Monseigneur takes the luxury of making a huge fuss because of the use of the word “boche”. Chapeau!

    Let’s face it: Jean-Paul is a troll, or at least his attitude is trollish in the extreme, and this gives him no right to go around spreading his unfounded, pastoral criticism of others.

  12. Andre:

    Your comment,  “…culture only interests it as a means of gaining money. When it becomes an obstacle to gaining money, it must be destroyed….”   sounds like the USA, not the EU. 

    Culture has been watered and dumbed down here to appeal to the basest of instincts to the masses.  When there is little or no profit to be made by culture here, then it is deemed unworthy. Hence, the cutting of funds and grants to museums, dance companies, opera houses, individual artists and artisans, etc.

  13. Indeed, but if already, for instance, Basque culture has a hard time surviving in an already multicultural state, what would happen to it in an all-agglutinating super-state? Valencian already had a hard enough time being recognized by the European parliament.

    I believe that what would happen would be a “preservation” of singularities — more as a curiosity than a living culture proper — of the larger cultures, and an outright disappearance of the current minority cultures.

    What the EU doesn’t realize is that culture is an essentially spontaneous phenomenon; that is, that even if they put their thousands of bureaucrats into creating their alledged “European culture”, they would fail.

    Already, they have illicitly hijacked the characters of Charlemagne, Charles V, or Napoleon, giving them a sense which they historically never had. It is all a political anachronism created for purpouses of propaganda.

  14. Those answers are actually pretty decent. I’ve noticed that lately, more and more Americans are standing up against French-Bashing, and it’s always heartwarming when it happens.

  15. “What the EU doesn’t realize is that culture is an essentially spontaneous phenomenon; that is, that even if they put their thousands of bureaucrats into creating their alledged “European culture”, they would fail.
    Already, they have illicitly hijacked the characters of Charlemagne, Charles V, or Napoleon, giving them a sense which they historically never had. It is all a political anachronism created for purpouses of propaganda.”

    I fail to understand the relevance of these miserable anti-EU arguments. You are obviously confusing the EU with the European Commission. It is like confusing a country and a government, France and the French government.
    Now concerning your neo-traditionalist view: who said the contrary ? Who would deny the importance of “spontaneity” in the shaping of culture? “The EU” never did. A civilization is the result of history, true. But Europe is a more than thousand years old civilization. Read Lucien Fèvre and Marc Bloch. And there is definitely nothing extravagant in the idea of unifying it. This is not an idea of bureaucrats : Victor Hugo, Sully,the abbé de Saint-Pierre were no bureaucrats.
    No great political project (and the European construction is one) ever happenned without inventing its models in the past. This is nothing new. It is typical of what Nietzsche called “monumental history”. This is true today of European contruction. Charlemagne was a pre-national unifier, and we are postnational unifiers. That’s why Charlemagne, who was actually called in Carolingian times the “father of Europe” might be considered as a founding character for us. The problem is, he was a model in the fifties in the time of the “Europe des Six”. The EU as it stands now is exceeding the frontiers of his empire. Having his face on our euro banknotes would be a problem.

  16. HA! YOU of all people quote to me Lucien Fèvre and Marc Bloch? In any case, I must say that the Annales school is somewhat démodé, but I do recognize that you have read more than you look.

    Nevertheless, I must dissent, and first of all with the qualification of “neo-traditionalist”. I’m no neo-traditionalist, but the existence of cultures must be both recognized and respected. I think that is clear enough.

    As pointed out very acutely by Denis Richet (since we’re quoting Annalistes), you cannot be serious and qualify something according to something that didn’t exist in the moment.

    Talking of a pre-national construction is unrigorous and anachronistic, as the national concept did not exist.

    It is like speaking of “ancien régime”: “ancien” according to what?

    Charlemagne’s empire was mainly a patrimonial construction, a fruit of the carolingian renaissance which seeked an imitatio of the Roman model, not some sort of prefiguration of the European Union.

    The same with Charles V: he was no prefiguration of the European Union, his empire was PATRIMONIAL; that is, it belongs to the Habsburg family. Anything else is a modern interpretation.

    “Europe is more than a thousand year old civilization”… Nonsense! You are like those XIXth century authors who would see a sort of pan-European “empire celtique”.

    One may create modern uniting concepts, but they are the result of speculation.

    Take the La Tène culture, of the campaniform vase culture. There was no such thing as a “campaniform vase culture”, yet modern historians have identified it as such for practicality and periodization.

    One may actually say the campaniform vase culture was the first “european union” according to your outdated, XIXth century view!

  17. And allow me to add: Charlemagne was “emperor of the Romans”, in spite that neither he nor Justinian managed the restitutio imperii. ¿Does that mean we should conquer North Africa, pray?

    You also seem to ignore the religious factor. Bloch points that out more than sufficiently: in your so-called “european civilization”, the main binding element was christianity, period. And you being, as I suppose (a mere hypothesis) a militant atheist, I don’t assume that Charlemagne’s celestial Jerusalem is a very enticing prospect, is it not?

    Don’t forget that catholicism, in particular, was the main moving force behind Charles V.

    You see, Europe is a geographic concept; the cultural aspect is vague and difficult to establish. Let’s use salami tactics. Spanish culture is similar to French is similar to Italian is similar to German is similar to Polish is similar to Russian is similar to Mongol is similar to Chinese is similar to Korean is similar to Malay. Where do we stop? The old concept of “christianity”? Dear me! Could Jean-Paul, apart from a eurocrat (notice the “we”) be a missioner as well?

    Try different elements. Modes of production? The feudal system has been in existence at different time periods and locations and is certainly not exclusively European. Language? Then we’d have to go all the way to Sanskrit! Food? No comparison, especially between the Atlantic and Mediterranean regions. A “common history” as I’ve heard it once? Nonsense, as any serious historian will tell you!

    No, Jean-Paul, you’d be a poor historian, but an excellent totalitarian.

  18. Please use objective arguments instead of personnal attacks. You definitely don’t know anything about my personal culture. You don’t know who I am. So please be more cautious.

  19. Your view is historically irrelevant. The word “Europe” was used for the first time with a cultural meaning in the 7th century, and also in Carolingian times. “J’appelle Europe simplement une unité historique, une incontestable, une indéniable unité historique, une unité qui s’est sconstruite à date fixe, une unité récente, une unité historique qui apparaît dans l’histoire nous savons exactement quand, puisque l’Europe en ce sens, l’Europe telle que nous la définirons, telle que nous l’étudirons, est une création du Moyen-Age” Lucien Fèbvre L’Europe, genèse d’une civilisation (ch. 1)

  20. “You definitely don’t know anything about my personal culture. You don’t know who I am. So please be more cautious.”

    Exactly. You are constantly making personal judgements in a trollish fashion, and je suis en train de vous rendre la pareille.

    As for Lucien Fèbvre: as I said before, the Annales school, although somewhat valid, is outdated. The study of history didn’t stop with these post-war schools, and least of all with Lucien Fèbvre.

    But it’s typical of totalitarian regimes to shun true, avant-garde studies and choose their “official” savants, often mediocre and outdated, but suited to their message.

    That is, you choose Fèbvre because what he says suits you; you do not take into account that since Fèbvre, enormous amounts of ink have been spilled, and that his school is no longer the unique reference on the subject.

    But as you know, that’s how totalitarian regimes work. “Whenever I hear the word ‘culture’, I reach for my pistol”

  21. Leave totalitarianism where it is. It is off the topic. This is mere amalgam.

    Fernand Braudel, 1987 : “Un historien de l’humanisme, Franco Simone, vient de nous mettre en garde contre la prétendue unité de l’Europe: ce serait une illusion du romantisme. Lui répondre qu’il a raison et tort à la fois, c’est dire en un mot que l’Europe est , au même instant, unité et diversité; ce qui semble à la réflexion aller de soi. Les chapîtres précédents ont montré une Europe engagée dans un même destin d’ensemble par sa religion, sa pensée rationaliste, l’évolution de la science et de la technique, son goût de la révolution et de l’équité sociale, ses réussites impériales”
    Grammaire des civilisations (III-1 L’Europe ch IV Les unités de l’Europe)

  22. Yet another postwar historian. Of course he thinks like this. He’s just another old Annaliste.

    By the way, he died two years before 1987, so I doubt that’s when he wrote it, rather more the date of the edition you have…

    The Annales school is essentially conditionned by its postwar milieu; the trauma of the two world wars is vivid, and one may not say that the school is detached from it. It is in that (well-meaning) milieu that the CECA was born, but I believe that it, with its unabashed and very recent intrusions into the world of culture (recent declarations by the commission; certain comic books spread out to children; certain ludicrous things such as when, the other day, I had to cook pasta with a can of mushrooms with a “european mushroom” seal on it…) which I do not like.

    In other words, I like the existence of a European Economic Community, but when they attempt to enter the domains of culture, I believe they are acting from false premises.

  23. Published just now in The Magpie:

    “”The French have no word for entrepreneur,” said it all. He probably reckons they have no word for propaganda either, and let’s face it, he and his crew would know all about that.

    Indeed, when the French refused to unquestioningly jig to America’s tune in the Middle East, there was almost instantly a tsunami of anti-French jokes by talk show hosts, comedians and on the net centred on the very questionable premise that the froggies are cowards. Example `For Sale E-Bay: one French World War Two rifle, never been fired, dropped only once’. Clever maybe, untrue certainly, and all because the French leadership did not unquestioningly render up large chunks of their youth as cannon fodder in a fight they didn’t start or believe in.

    Terrorism was one thing, Saddam and Iraq very much another. Freedom Fries indeed!”

    Very hope-inspiring! Let’s see if Bush’s departure leads to French-bashing becoming unacceptable, as a staple of the older régime.

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