Friday, July 14, 2006

Cheese Eating Surrender Rant

I was doing my weekly grocery shopping today at Trader Joe's. As I was bagging [note to Euros: in this country, groceries are bagged for you], I was chatting about Bastille Day with the friendly cashier.

This "Greatest Generation" guy came in line. Picking up on the conversation and on my accent, he said:
- A French person working, that's unusual!
I flashed him my most blonde smile, not even wanting to "go there". But he insisted,
- You don't often see French people working!
He turned to the cashier, who was getting uncomfortable,
- And she's quite good at it. Maybe you should hire her.
No response, just tension building up. He carried on,
- No, you don't want to hire a French person!
I tried humor to defuse the situation,
- Today's Bastille Day, I'm just doing my revolutionary act.
He replied,
- Yes, those French, I know...

I experience this type of interchange on a regular basis. Rarely with the Greatest Generation though [of which my father was an active part]. I know Americans often complain about the French attitude towards them. But I don't think they get that kind of "nigger" treatment like the French do here.

And for the record, such bile against the "lazy, surrendering French" is as cliché and myopic as saying that all Americans are dumb and fat. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence and basic cultural exposure knows that it's untrue.
photo Google Images


La Page Française said...

It really saddens me that there is so much French bashing going on in my native country, especially since it is all completely unfounded and usually just in the form of pointless, stupid jokes. I don't know why that guy would have said something like that, does he not have any common courtesy whatsoever? Apparently not. He's probably just some idiot who has never been outside the US and doesn't know a thing about the world outside the country.
That's the sort of person who gives Americans a bad reputation

LA Frog said...

The epitome of the "Ugly American" indeed. But such schmucks exist in every country/culture. I'm sure you've come across some French "Beaufs" yourself.

Fortunately, it doesn't happen often, and when it does, I don't bother to argue -- I just flash my dumb blonde smile. As Chateaubriand wrote, "Sois économe de ton mépris, il y a trop de nécessiteux."

Amy Alkon said...

It's truly disgusting. I hope it becomes more and more evident, as we become more global, that such beliefs are idiotic. There are jerks and lazies in every culture. I love your blog and I love your comments on mine.

I think it's important to blog about encounters like this...might influence a few people to behave better.

LA Frog said...