Monday, February 11, 2008

On French-Bashing

European Tribune's Jerome a Paris got rather peeved by a recent FT article discussing France's anti-business (meaning anti-American) ambivalence, and proceeded to deconstruct it. He concludes that the rules [of French-bashing] are two and simple:

1. Anything good that happens in France (something quite rare, naturally) happens thanks to the embrace (wilful or unacknowledged) of American ways, "reform" and corporate capitalism;

2. Anything bad happening in France (and there's lots of that) is caused by the French's Frenchness - and mostly that of their elites, especially in the business and political world (not that there are any other kinds...), which remain hopelessly dominated by love for government, protectionism and stagnating ways.

An acid summary following a defensive deconstruction, yet not far from the truth when it comes to French-bashing and the French themselves. As for the FT article, it was actually quite good, even if it didn't manage to avoid the easy caricature. True French-bashing is way more primaire -- just tune in to Jay Leno or Fox News for a taste of it. [the subject is hotly debated on SuperFrenchie]