Just Above Sunset
July 31, 2005 - France Paradise
As Usual the French are Confusing
Friday, July 29 - FRANCE has taken a number of sharp pokes in the eye in the first half of this year. The French defied their political betters by saying 'non' to the new European constitution. Then the Olympic Committee said 'non' to the French bid for the games in 2012. Jacques Chirac went empty-handed to the G8 meeting in Scotland while his minister of the interior Nicolas
Sarkozy stayed home, promising to make the French more British if he takes Jacques' job away from him in 2007.
some Americans are looking at France and thinking that things can't be all bad here with all of our short work weeks, long
holidays, comfortable way of foodlife, decent health care and educational opportunities for nearly all, they should be made
aware that not everybody in France thinks God lives here.
the past couple of weeks the rumor that Pepsi-Cola has mounted a hostile takeover of French jewel Danone has prompted French
leaders from right to left to climb the barricades and defend France from unwanted takeovers by wretched foreigners.
matter that Danone is taking its chances by being listed on the stock exchange, no matter that it is already majority-owned
by the major international investment groups, no matter that it is not a state enterprise and never was. No matter that the
state didn't say 'zut!' when Danone closed a biscuit factory in a single-factory town last year and laid off 300 workers.
situation was quietly defused when Pepsi issued a formal statement saying it has no intention of taking over Danone 'at this
time.' The government has 'saved' Danone through its heroic action. Time for the holidays.
keen view of the French economy shows that the French are just as productive as American workers. The difference in perceived benefits is explained by saying the French are satisfied with less - 35-hour
week, smaller salaries, smaller girlfriends, smaller swimming pools, smaller cars, smaller toasters, and why not? - the French
are smaller than Americans, and France is smaller than America.
French are perfectly happy with this tiny situation but there are some malcontents, like short presidential aspirant Nicolas
Sarkozy. 'Speedy' Sarkozy says he is highly impressed with Britain's police,
with the huge work ethic in Britain, and he is backed up by countless TV news clips shown here depicting happy French expatriates
extolling the virtues of working at least 60 hours a week.
may as well like it because with the rain and the lousy food and the stony beaches in the UK, what else is there to do? French TV-news never reports on all the Brits who take their holidays in France -
millions annually - man, if you work 60 hours a week you deserve a fine holiday. You
want your money's worth and if you don't get it in France at least you get sunshine!
wonder that the French prefer having their holidays in France with each other. One
would think that, after being harassed all year by the government and the tax collector and 'Speedy' Sarkozy, the French would
just say 'merde alors' and go to Spain to forget their sorrows.
no, they prefer to stay where they think they can eat well, drink well, and well, hang out in France well. It is only Germans who think God lives in France. The other
70 million annual visitors simply think the French are onto a good thing.
long as it is summer we should just let sleeping ducks lie, regardless of the hunting season opening so early that young ducks
will get blown away before they even learn to fly. According to French hunters,
shooting sitting ducks is sporting, especially if it puts them in the pot.
an attitude like this you would think that the French would be willing volunteer to work 60 hours a week, buy lots of the
latest model stuff on credit, drive hulking gas-guzzlers to the hypermarché, and loll around in front of their 95 cm digital
televisions eating ultra-pâté by the spoonful and drinking champagne out of silver buckets, as 'Speedy' Sarkozy is urging.
odd thing is that it is conservative Jacques Chirac and the Socialists and the Communists, a good deal of the middle class
and possibly a majority of the working class and students, who prefer that France keeps its 'social' character, sort of embodied
by the republican notions of 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity' - not mere words, but the truly popular ambition of the French
that's the French problem. There's too much history and too many people believe
in it. The revolution was for a reason, no less valid today than 206 years ago.
Copyright © 2005 –
Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis
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