Update (4th July 2014) – Plus ça change … Now that France has lost to Germany at SOCCER, social media is replete with more ‘surrender monkey’ and ‘French surrender’ messages.
Update (14 July 2011): Welcome to one of our most-tweeted articles. It seems everytime the French are mentioned anywhere in the media, legions of lemmings reach for their tweeting apparatus to make rather lame and pathetic “French Surrender” jokes. Be it Strauss-Kahn, Libya, Tennis, Bastille Day, Women’s Soccer.
Our original article from 2009: Pretty much everybody online fancies themselves a comedian; unfortunately most of us are and will remain wannabes. Now that “Eternal September” has hit twitter, legions of newbies clamoring for attention are using the micro-blogging platform to repeat, rehash and retweet their skewed and simplistic view of history and the world.
On average, about a dozen or so anti-French jabs are written on twitter per week, most of them being some form of “French Surrender” joke. While some are deliberately trying to be offensive, others are living proof there is a “long tail” to America’s recent spate of French BashingA few examples from 2009:
- @timchi – “You can try and run over a french bulldog but it would surrender first”
- @asianlunatic – “Mantastic: When ur in France for holiday, the French will surrender to u, just to be on the safe side.”
- @JohnHancock61 – “Great movie line from Flushed Away: Lead French frog: To action! French frog commandos: We Surrender!”
- @Simon4365 – “ahhhh the weekend or as the French say “we surrender”!!!”
- @Hondo11 – “I’ll say it. Pietrus is not only French (known to surrender) he looks strikingly erily to a Primate. FACT”
- @macslash – “It’s nice to hear Serlet attack Windows with a French accent. Would have expected him to just surrender.”
While most comedic outfits have abandoned French Bashing, especially Jay Leno and his forty or so jokes about supposed French cowardice and propensity to surrender, legions of twitterers, bloggers and comment contributors have kept the myth of French cowardice alive.
Having turned a traumatic historical event of epic proportions into a timeless character trait, French Haters have woven prejudice against France and the French into pop-culture.
Thankfully, one of North-America’s most astute international columnists has decided to take the myth of French cowardice and surrender head on. I present to you, Eric Margolis and his column : “Getting to the truth about World War II”. Thank You Eric. Merci.
Here are a few excerpts:
“France’s army did not simply surrender or run away in 1940, as ignorant American Know-Nothing conservatives claim. “
“Britain’s well-trained expeditionary force in France was beaten just as quickly and thoroughly as the French, and saved itself only by abandoning its French allies and fleeing across the Channel. “
“France lost 217,000 dead and 400,000 wounded. Compare that to America’s loss of 416,000 dead during four years of war in the Pacific and Europe.”
Eric Margolis is an award-winning columnist who contributes regularly to the Quebecor Media Company and the Huffington Post. His articles appear in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Times of London to name a few. Eric Margolis has also appeared on CNN, BBC, France 2, France 24, Fox News, CTV and CBC.