Tuesday, July 13, 2004
My original commentary follows.....
In La Belle France, the Islamofascist "Freedom Fighters" are showing their bravery, by attacking a 23 year old woman and her baby because they thought she was Jewish. About 15 years ago, my wife and I were returning from Chartres on the banlieu (suburban) train to Paris after a day trip to take the famed guided tour of the cathedral with Malcolm Miller. We were sitting in the train waiting for it to start, talking softly in English, when a bunch of teenage punks started taunting us (we were at the grand old age of 30). I quickly switched to German (which my wife doesn't speak) to avoid a confrontation, but the punks had heard English and were looking for trouble. I put on my sternest face, and when the leader of the punks got into my face, snapped at him "Si ne ce pas était pour les Américains, vous parleriez l'Allemand" (If it wasn't for the Americans, you'd be speaking German). They backed off.
Another article on the incident here here. Chirac speaketh:
French President Jacques Chirac said he was "horrified by this odious attack" that occurred only hours after he called on the French to step up the struggle against anti-Semitism and racism. All French political leaders expressed their horror and disgust at a crime "smearing France", said Jean-Louis Debr , the Chairman of the National Assembly.
I'm shocked, shocked to find gambling is going on here!
You know, Stanley Kubrick nailed it in "Paths Of Glory". The French are two-faced amoral weasels. No wonder they banned that movie for 30 years, it shows their national character to a 'T'. And for some strange reason, they didn't show "The Sorrow And The Pity" on French TV for 15 years. Les Francais sont cochons.
The condescending attitude is so pervasive over there it isn't funny. Case in point, we were eating in a restaurant chain in Paris called Hippo, which I gather is the local equivalent of the Sizzler. As I previously noted, I have a minor facility in French, certainly enough for tourist purposes, and I usually greeted and spoke with shopkeepers and waiters in French. For the most part, they had a reasonable command of English and usually switched over with a smile and we continued the transaction, but there was a certain looking down the nose (sorry, but I took Spanish in school, and just picked up French along the way; my accent and pronunciation is pure 34th arrondissement, in Brooklyn, that is). The lone exceptions to this were a couple of hobby shops I visited, seeking to pick up model trains by Jouef unavailable in the US for my collection. There, the proprietors were cheerful and friendly (especially in one shop near Gare St. Lazare, we spent about an hour just chatting), and most glad to see an American take an interest in obscure SNCF models. But I digress, and back to Hippo. The restaurant's waitstaff was populated by leggy model types, who were obviously looking for their big break, and waiting tables until it came. We ordered in French, and although we detected a sniff (we dared commit the sin of ordering our meat au point, or medium well, which translates in American terms to medium rare, as opposed to the French tradition of ordering blue meat). We finished our main course, and were ordering dessert. My wife asked in English, "What ice cream flavors do you have?", at which point the model wannabe snapped back nastily "En FRANCAIS!!!!". I drily responded "Quelle parfums?" and let it slide, but I was rather ticked that it was a service compris restaurant, as I wanted to give her a one centime tip.