We at Miquelon.org have dealt with both comedians and their forays into the world of French Bashing.
Conan O’Brien had been invited to Toronto in early 2004 and aired one of the most vile anti-Quebec and anti-French sketches ever. This comedian’s associate, Robert Smigel and his hand puppet Triumph, caused such a stir the issue was raised in Canada’s parliament.
The very next day, we hand delivered a letter to Conan’s hotel outlining the facts behind French Bashing and seriousness of the issue in the context of Canada’s political and social makeup. We were not the only ones to voice our concerns.
Conan O’Brien apologized.
James Douglas Muir Leno on the other hand has never shown any form of remorse for his insensitive and downright relentless bashing of the French. Having aired tasteless sketches and over 40 anti-French jokes between 2003 and 2006, Leno became the embodiment of French Bashing in American pop culture: from surrender jokes to jabs about our cleanliness, cowardice and duplicity.
In 2006, we drove across the United States to donate a box of books on French history to Jay Leno. We dubbed the operation Educating Jay and a documentary is currently in post-production. Leno never acknowledged our efforts and in a somewhat related story also refused to meet the Consul General of France in Los Angeles despite an open invitation.
One of these two men proved to be a true gentleman, able to accept criticism and apologize for his offences.
The other slandered the memory of the French Resistance and believes the French as a nation and people should be held in perpetual contempt.
Guess who we’re rooting for.
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