June 01, 2004


Two teenage Frenchsters celebrate their closeness to Germany:

In the centre of Caen yesterday, two teenage visitors from Clermont-Ferrand, in central France, confirmed the changing mood in their country, accelerated by the tragedies of Iraq. "I think we are much closer to Germany now than we ever were to America or Britain," Annalise Laguiller, 18, said.

Well, if you love the Germans so much then why don’t you just let them invade your country with tanks and guns and ... oh. You already did. And they didn’t really need all those tanks and guns, did they?

Her friend, Arlette Roquelle, 17, added: "Bush is our enemy now, much more than any Germans."

Hey, Arlette! Ever wonder why the only German phrase your grandmother knows is "Hello, handsome soldier"? Ask her one day.

(Via reader Bernard M.)

UPDATE. Mark Steyn writes :

In January the municipality of Carquefou in north-western France held a competition. The town's schoolchildren were asked to illustrate what America meant to them. The older pupils turned in pictures of an enslaved Statue of Liberty being run over by Uncle Sam on a motorcycle ...

But even more weirdly obsessive were the entries of the younger children. For them it was all about the evils of Coke and McDonald's. Corpulent American moppets were pictured devouring giant cheeseburgers and sipping giant colas over explanatory slogans like "Obesité assuré". To French schoolchildren, Americans are a race apart - strange, misshapen monsters staggering from across the ocean to devour anything in their path. As the French student advances toward graduation, he comes to understand that the condition of the American behemoth approximates that of the dinosaurs of old: huge bodies, tiny brains, doomed to extinction. After which, the natural leaders of the world will resume their rightful role.

That's why Michael Moore makes such a perfect performing seal for the European intellectual class ...

Posted by Tim Blair at June 1, 2004 01:54 PM

I guess granny's hair grew back OK.

Posted by: Donnah at June 1, 2004 at 02:03 PM

Like Bush knows or cares who the fuck these little twits are. You know, it wasn't so far in France's past when uppity children were tossed into the convent or the army. These princesses should give thanks they live in these times, mostly thanks to the US military. I'd like to see one of them try to wear a headscarf in school. Let's see them try their brave words on their own cops.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 1, 2004 at 02:09 PM

Yea the Germans have surprised the French by invading via Belgium twice now.

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at June 1, 2004 at 02:29 PM

Recently I watched the World at War episode covering the Invasion period up to the Liberation of Paris.

One thing that struck me was the enormous loss of the people of Normandy during the fighting. The media today would be screaming about the people being better off under the Nazi's. (Have I just invoked Godwin's Law or is it OK to use the N word when talking about the real thing?)

The other was something of the image of the beaten cur turning when the German control faltered in Paris. The reprisals against collaborators aren't edifying viewing particularly when you know many of the most serious got away scott clean due to their position.

Posted by: PeterB at June 1, 2004 at 02:31 PM

History was never a strong point with me, but given the kiddies tastes in "friends", I suspect that the frogs really like those peoples/countries that have beat the living crap out of them over the past 1200 years or so.

I can't recall the US(since 1776) ever beating France up as an enemy, ever. (Beating up the French countryside to get rid of some other pricks who weren't invited is not counted).

There may be an appropriate level of psycho-babble involved to explain all this, but my take is 1) The french really respect being shafted; or
2) The french don't respect being respected
properly; or
3) The french are really poor at being
grateful; or
4) Because these other pricks beat them up
previously, they're scared to offend them
again; or
5) as the US is their ONE TRUE friend, they
think they can get away anything; or
6) all of the above.

Posted by: DaveACT at June 1, 2004 at 02:33 PM

I have another theory, a whore has no loyalty, and the French are whores.

I've known, relativly well, 6 french people during my life, one was a genuinly good guy, the other five, genuine fuckheads.

Posted by: Amos at June 1, 2004 at 02:56 PM

Operation Torch, November 1942. We fought the Vichy French in North Africa. My dad was there on the SS Argentina. We captured the French battleship the Jean Bart.

Posted by: Donnah at June 1, 2004 at 03:00 PM

I agree that the two girls are obviously dim bulbs whose education seems to have provided them with insufficient detail regarding a certain period of French history i.e the 20th century.

But there's another side to this story, beyond just the inherent cowardly ingratitude of Europeans. How did the American use of "soft power" - positive diplomatic, political, cultural influence - decline to such a point that many Europeans express a preference for their historical enemies? Surely it can't just be all their fault? (Although with the French, I concede, that's a possibility.)

I wonder how much of the European opposition to the war in Iraq can be traced back to the period immediately following September 11, when Paul Wolfowitz, as Bush's messenger to NATO, responded to European offers of military assistance in Afghanistan by politely telling them to go take a leap (or words to that effect).

I think that, even with the French being what they are (ie French), there's an element here of reaping what you sow. It normally takes two people to mess up a marriage, and I think the same applies to trans-Atlantic alliances.

Posted by: tim g at June 1, 2004 at 03:10 PM

Of course, when the time comes for the French to laugh at our downfall, they'll be doing it in Arabic...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at June 1, 2004 at 03:17 PM

More likely the French will bemoan our latest success.

Just to show I'm not a brainless optimist, the French might bemoan in Arabic.

Posted by: Papertiger at June 1, 2004 at 03:35 PM

Of course, when the time comes for the French to laugh at our downfall, they'll be doing it in Arabic...

You've hit the nail on the head!
French hatred of America is one of the reasons Al Qaeda have SO FAR given them a miss.
The french left know this all too well and have assisted the Islamofascist in the propaganda of Hate towards the Nation that saved their bacon and to which they have so often been ungateful.
Al qaeda seeks to widen the gulf between The US and europe so that it can one day tear open the soft underbelly of Europe and bring it into the Caliphate.
So far the french and germans have fallen hook and sinker for these clever poys and only the UK is hanging in by the determination of Tony Blair.

Posted by: davo at June 1, 2004 at 03:40 PM

Greg Sheridan in today's Age:

At a time when the "give-peace-a-chance" mantra is again prevalent in the land, it is worth recording that Adolf Hitler's regime was crushed by military force and that the D-Day landings were led by the Americans and the British. No member of any pacifist society, nor any member of any international organisation, ever troubled Hitler's Reich. What's more, despite Charles de Gaulle's attempt to rewrite history, the French played only a small part in their nation's liberation in 1944 and 1945.

I'd say those shaved women collaborators were also scapegoats for a lot of French male guilt.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 1, 2004 at 03:57 PM

CurrencyLad - I think you mean Gerard Henderson.
Same kind of donkey but a different stable.

Posted by: tim g at June 1, 2004 at 04:15 PM

Australian soldiers fighting in Syria in 1941 were told to wear their distinctive slouch hats instead of their tin helmets.

The idea was that the French wouldn't fire on Australians out of gratitude for our role in World War One.

Didn't work.

The only time the French tried to fight during World War Two and it had to be against the people trying to liberate them. Rather telling...

Posted by: gaz at June 1, 2004 at 04:16 PM

Maybe the French and the most of Europe have had a gutfull of various wars, and want to reduce their involvement with war focussed nations. I remember going to an old (several hundred years) ancestral village of mine in Europe and being amazed at the modern architecture. In one of the pubs they had a picture of before, before the tanks flattened the area. The point is perhaps one too many wars on your own soil can wear people down. Why not cut them slack.

I read with bemusement the same tired old cliches wrt to French/Germany/WWII in the performing seals of the Tim Blah Intellectual class chorus, ....what next, a chant of 'Hitler....he only had one ball....the other was hanging on the wall.....?" or perhaps something from those old seventies Brittish comedies? Don't you people keep up with trends on the blog cct......don't mention the war (WWII that is).


Posted by: bemused spectator at June 1, 2004 at 04:17 PM

Right you are tim g.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 1, 2004 at 04:25 PM

bemused spectator — I might buy that if the protest marches were filled with 80 year olds. But how many of the anti-war, anti-America 20-something protestors in France and Germany have actually experienced war on their own soil?

The Dutch director Paul Verhoeven used to run that riff on the Hollywood media: "You Americans, you do not understand what it is like to have a war fought in your cities." Of course, he didn't mention the last time anyone fought a war in Holland, he was sperm.

And then of course he got hired to make Starship Troopers and sort of forgot that argument...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at June 1, 2004 at 04:26 PM

Maybe the Frenchies have Stockholm Syndrome... Or is there another name for the psychological event for falling in love with a serial invader?

Just wondering...

Posted by: Michael at June 1, 2004 at 04:32 PM

You know, I am freaking sick and tired of people dressing up something as stupid as "People should like us" with all this talk of "soft power" and such. Right and wrong is not a popularity contest. France's opinion of what we do doesn't mean shit if what we're doing is right.

But of course, that's a little harder to address directly.

Posted by: Sortelli at June 1, 2004 at 04:32 PM

Dear Bemused Spectator,

Good point. Now that the French don't have to worry about the Nazis, as the Allies fought a war to help them out, why should they give a sh*t about anybody else benefitting from similar actions ? Especially if it upsets some very lucrative business relationships ...

Posted by: Andrew at June 1, 2004 at 04:58 PM


And the country with the highest obesity mortality rate in the world is apparently Denmark. Don't ask me why. I saw a report at the weekend detailing the remarkable rise in Danish breast size over the past two decades, so maybe it's sweaty Danish fat guys keeling over at the sight of all that fabulous Jutland cleavage.

The man's priceless.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 1, 2004 at 04:59 PM

Well, the French are bombarded with anti-American garbage on TV and radio. They are told that Bush is evil, Americans are fat fools, Schroeder is the best friend of France, Germany is France's greatest partner in the EU, etc. At the end of the day, who cares what the French think? Nobody likes the French or the Germans either and perhaps even Americans will someday reciprocate the virluent hatred coming out of France and Germany.

Posted by: SleepyInSeattle at June 1, 2004 at 05:05 PM

Tim g, where have you been, for oh, at least the last 40 years re: frogistan?

Nothing new.

W/in the year ending our Revolution, they were attacking our ships.

And we paid them back in full for their aid during that time, see the Constitution, it's in there, yet they've screwed us on The Marshall Plan - deadbeats.

My husband was watching Ike - runup to D-Day tonight. The frogs were contrary back then, not everyone agrees w/the plan and you don't speak for all. Technically, I do, and "Ike" named all the countries he speaks for. The only country w/a problem????

Frogman - we don't want to be seen as pro-German - technically you are because of the Vichy gov't.


In short, the schism was always there, 9/11 just magnified it. We're finally answering them back. Oh, and check out their lovely "political cartoons" via merdeinfrance.blogspot.com.

Allies my ass. They are enemies and have been for a long time.

Posted by: Sandy P at June 1, 2004 at 05:22 PM

So Mark Steyn has read a - ahem - "report" on increases in Danish breast size. I admire his candour; I'm sure a lot of people in the media do this kind of research, but few openly admit to it.

Mark should be careful, though. I'm not sure what sort of regime prevails at the Sun-Times, but this sounds to me like the kind of "report" that gets Irish bank executives fired.

Posted by: tim g at June 1, 2004 at 05:33 PM


Only the dead have seen the end of war


Sticking your head in the sand and pretending you can talk your way out of it, that you're too civilized to fight, or that you can find other solutions will only lead to catastrophe and defeat.

Posted by: Moonbat_One at June 1, 2004 at 05:59 PM

I notice no one stops to consider that the relative price of food in US/Australia vs. Europe might explain some of this?

Seriously, try buying a good, juicy steak in continental Europe.


They can take their 11% unemployment, stagnant growth and expensive steaks. If the price of staying in Australia is watching everyone else get fat, then so be it.

Posted by: Quentin George at June 1, 2004 at 06:06 PM

Or is there another name for the psychological event for falling in love with a serial invader?

I don't get it either.

Since the Franks crossed the Rhine into Roman Gaul in the dying days of the Roman Empire, France has been invaded by Germanics at least once every century.

The French have occasionally returned the favour.

Is half a century without a German invasion enough to make the French as dewy-eyed as schoolgirls experiencing their first crush?

Meanwhile I wonder what my great-grandfather, decomposing in the fields of France would have thought about.

Now there was a war that "didn't concern us". No apologies from Europe there.

Posted by: Quentin George at June 1, 2004 at 06:12 PM

There is a saying in football: "winners are grinners (and the losers can make their own arrangements)".

I am, although it is not fashionable or even easy, a francophile. I am second fleet Australian but many years ago, in the 70's, I holidayed in France and found that the people, once they found I was Australian, were generous and warm and apparently still grateful for the help of Australians in the fields of Flanders in WWI. Since I worked for an American bank, I knew from experiences with them that Frence had an active dislike of US citizens. I must say that I did not find this strange as my father who served in WWII had the same attitude.

Some prejudices date back to WWII and had less to do with logic than with the fact that the American soldiers had the money and the women. The French apparently never got over it. They also never got over the fact that, although French men are supposed to be great lovers, given a choice the french women showed time and again they would go home with the American.

Like I say, "winners are grinners".

Posted by: Allan at June 1, 2004 at 06:14 PM

I'm a musician who lives in the San Francicso Bay Area and I have a lot of exposure to Europeans in some of the clubs I play in. They are immediately recognizable (long before hearing them speak) by their slovenly dress, lack of vitality, bad dancing, and generaly lackluster demeanor. This contrasts with the natives who are much more attractive and appealing in all these areas and just seem to have a far greater lust for life. No wonder they're unable to compete with us. They are obviously suffering from a sense of inferiority and compensate heavily. It’s no surprise Mikey Moore is wholeheartedly embraced by these pathetic losers.

Posted by: Paul at June 1, 2004 at 06:53 PM

Germany at the time was a superpower. They would have flattened Britain too, if the sea hadn’t been in their way. And maybe even America: don’t forget that when Roosevelt made his "Quarantine the aggressor" speech, the US army was smaller than Belgium’s.

The French lost more than 200,000 men in uniform in WW2.

Posted by: Harry Hutton at June 1, 2004 at 07:01 PM

1) The two girls are called Annalise Laguiller and Arlette Roqueller. Now, curiously, one of the most famoud leftist politicians in France is the Trotskyite Arlette Laguiller. Maybe the two girls are not just any French girls (one could be using the mother's surname, the other their father's, or something like that).
2) If the French were fanatical pacifists one would probably see them marching not only against the US and Israel, but, say, against the Rwandan Hutus, Vladimir Putin etc. To be fair, even a newspaper as close to the government as le Monde sometimes criticizes Putin. But it seems unable to move the public as much as it moves it against the US and Israel.
3) Envy of both the US and Israel is one of the "root causes" of this. Envy toward the US needs no explanation, but the French's problem with Israel is that they have been the only First World country to lose a war against the Arabs (Algeria) since the Crusades, while the much smaller Jewish state keeps winning war after war.
4) Anyway, it's enough to see Chirac and Villepin on TV to understand how much both of them are personally consumed by envy. Think about Chirac telling himself: "I'm taller, more refined, more brilliant etc. than Bush, and still, unlike him, I'm only allowed to reign over a second rate country which by now is nothing but a second rate decadent ex-power.
5) They love Germany nowadays because it follows submissively the French foreign policy, unluke the Anglo-Saxon powers. But they were against German reunification and, as soon as Germany begins to follow a more independent line, they'll hate (and fear) Germany again.

Posted by: lafontaine at June 1, 2004 at 07:21 PM

tim g: That was good.

Two students once submitted a uni assignment to me regarding media history. Their report's introduction made reference to Penthouse and Playboy as sources they had "perused."

My marginalia made reference to their "heroic research." Cheeky bastards.

Young Steyns probably.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 1, 2004 at 07:25 PM

Harry Hutton

France had a larger military the Germany.

Posted by: Gary at June 1, 2004 at 07:43 PM

That’s true. And the allies had an industrial base that was six times that of the axis powers, and we still only just managed to beat them.

I find European anti-Americanism irritating, too. But France is a civilised country very culturally akin to us, and I’m not into treating them as an official enemy when we've got quite enough real enemies.

Posted by: Harry Hutton at June 1, 2004 at 09:17 PM

A few points.
Grow up, such childish tantrums when some countries didnt rubber stamp your spectacularly well thought out Iraq plans.
Less Frenchies drive Opels than Aussies drive Mitsubishi Zeros, Toyotas, Sonys, JVCs, Sushis, Suzukis, Yasukas, Yamahas, Hello Kittys,Datsuns or Nissan Cedrics. WW2 is over lads, move on, the rest of the world has.

A decent steak in Europe? Back on the Contiki bus, Barry McKenzie! (or fill up on Surf&Turfs before you leave Mascot) Try all the Argentine beef places, they're all called El Rancho and they have a menu touristique. But hey, the food is all foreign muck with garlic, so why go there?

It's called Europe, the trains run at 350kms and dont have to slow down at level crossings.
It's 2004, not 1964, mmm Euro 2004!
Europe is full of foreigners, you're better off holidaying in Australia's Wonderland, or the car yard it'll become.

Europeans get on quite well now. There's a pan-European congress to settle differences, it's called the Eurovision Song Contest. National quarrels are solved by awarding your enemies no points, or even worse, full points so they have to host the bastard next year.
The deliberations are then packaged up,top and tailed at least three times and watched by sad people on SBS.

Of course, you can relax when the bus gets to Old Blighty, all those bowler hats and, oh look, there's Mary Poppins pushing a pram. You'll be personally welcomed by Churchillian wide boy Tony Blair (no relation) who really loves Aussies,especially slimming tea salesmen.

Bemused to see that Paddy McGuinness has his ticket booked for Europe this summer. All that cut&paste antifrog bile, but he'll still be waddling up Rue Raspaill to sit in his favourite overpriced tourist trap, La Coupole.

A bientôt!


Posted by: Rogier De La Pasture at June 1, 2004 at 10:20 PM

harry h

We didn't just barely beat them, we beat their brains out once our industrial capacity was moving full throttle. From the point of the Normandy invasion to the unconditional German surrender was less than a year. And we accomplished this feat in two separate wars that were a world apart occuring at the same time. Imagine the difference if we only had Germany to defeat.

"The French lost more than 200,000 men in uniform in WW2." The US lost more than 400,000 men in WWII and we really weren't protecting the US mainland more than trying to stop German and Japanese aggression. Fuck the French, they're ungrateful shits. And any country that allows 15,000 of its elderly to die from exposure and heat stroke does not deserve to be even thought of as civilized.

Posted by: Harry at June 1, 2004 at 10:42 PM

Harry Hutton:

I'm sort of curious, and since you brought it up.....how many of those 200,000 French dead were killed while fighting Allied forces? You do recall Vichy France, yes?


In spite of the fact that Europe is turning into a collection of political weenies, there is a lot of history there, and is worth visting. It's the cradle of Western civilization, after all. The problem is that you wouldn't know that by the actions of most European politicians.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 2, 2004 at 12:20 AM

Sure you'd know, Jeff: They exhibit exactly the behavior you'd expect from the inhabitants of a cradle.

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at June 2, 2004 at 12:35 AM

tim g --

So Mark Steyn has read a - ahem - "report" on increases in Danish breast size. I admire his candour; I'm sure a lot of people in the media do this kind of research, but few openly admit to it.

It was on InstaPundit on May 30. His link just says OUTSTANDING DEVELOPMENT in Europe! That's how I heard about the study too.

In fact, three rather obscure things that Steyn mentioned in his column were on various blogs in the last week or so.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at June 2, 2004 at 01:28 AM

Germany had a second front, too. But even with most of their army in Russia and huge inferiority in planes and equipment, it still took nearly a year to get there. Not many people would chalk it up as an easy victory.

I didn’t approve of the granny roasting, either. Happy to make common cause with you on that one.

Real JeffS, I don’t know. I’ll look it up when I get home.

Posted by: Harry Hutton at June 2, 2004 at 01:31 AM

The allies lost about 800 men fighting the Vichy French in North Africa.

It did not stop us from pushing on to liberate France.

We have lost about the same number in Iraq and are hand wringing about it.

Posted by: Aaron at June 2, 2004 at 02:17 AM

I'm English and my brother has settled in France.

The place is okay for holidays and stuff but what shocked me was discussing WW2 with my French educated nephew.

It was he that stood up in class and brought to light the extent of American, British and Commonwealth forces involvement in the Liberation. His teacher was very dismissive. These French kids aren't told the truth about what happened. Fact.

My nephew joins the Royal Air Force shortly. He much prefers this to the idea of enlisting with the French Military.

Posted by: JonT at June 2, 2004 at 03:35 AM

Were the French and Nazis truly "foes" during WWII?

It seems to me that the Frogs were more enthusiastic and helpful to the Nazis than they ever were to the Brits or US? Just witness Frog war production before and after German occupation, and the fact that the French fought the US (in North Africa) and especially the Brits (in Syria) tougher than they ever did the Whermacht. Not to mention that they handed over Jews to the Germans almost as often as their women gave themselves to any soldier wearing a sharp gray uniform.
More Frenchmen claim to have been part of the "resistance" during WWII than American "Baby Boomers" claim to have been at Woodstock in '69.

Posted by: Joel at June 2, 2004 at 07:10 AM

One of my undergraduate students took a job teaching English in Leon, France after graduation. She had majors in business and French. She speaks at least four languages pretty fluently. She's been speaking French since early childhood due to her father's business dealings in France and frequent stays there. She is a not-very-observant Jewess.

She was thrilled to have a job in France. After two years, she came back, totally disillusioned. The anti-Semitism was incredible she said (they didn't recognize her Jewishness.) The people she saw in France mostly looked and acted as if they were in ill-health. Most of the country was filthy. No one worked if they could avoid it, and most laws seemed to exist to be broken. She was subjected almost daily to anti-American diatribes, filled with "facts" she knew and/or believed to be untrue. She found the French, with a few exceptions, to be "rude, ungracious, dirty, disgusting, ill-educated, lazy, nasty anti-Semites." She left a mildly lefty Democrat and has returned an almost virulent anti-socialist who will vote gladly for Bush this November.

She also had little good to say about most of the Americans living abroad in France. If anything, she was disgusted at how they toadied up to the French and tried to hide their American-ness. (She said it probably was a good idea in certain parts of France if you were just visiting to hide your American identity to the extent possible, but these people were trying to outFrench the French in their disdain for the US.)

She also suggested vacationing anywhere better, like maybe the Sudan or Rwanda.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at June 2, 2004 at 07:32 AM

Read this in the Guardian on 31 May:

The French THEMSELVES have produced a reprot saying they are the bad boys of Europe, no-one likes them and they are second rate. Priceless!


Posted by: Dave T at June 2, 2004 at 09:45 AM

Whilst these observations are some years old, they are still pertinent I believe.

1) My wifes late grandfather was Dutch. He said that the Frogs were the most arrogant people he had ever met. When on holidays, if a frenchman found out you were not french, the disdain and arrogance was obvious.

2) My brother went to Europe in the late 80's ob his lonesome. When in France, he noted that the French reacted very differently when they found out he was Australian. He quickly began to display is Ozziness at every opportunity as it smoothed his travels greatly (such as being allowed to sleep at some rail stations awaiting connections - he saw the locals being booted out).

Posted by: DAveACT at June 2, 2004 at 10:48 AM

The British Council produces one of them about the UK every couple of years, explaining not just how disliked we are but why we are disliked. Last time it turned out that in the whole world the people who liked us least were the Greeks. The people with the highest opinion of the UK were Nigerians.

Posted by: Harry Hutton at June 2, 2004 at 11:13 AM

harry h

Yep the Germans started another war on their eastern frontier with the Soviets. Tough shit for the stupid nazis. That does in no way compare to what the US and Britain did in WWII. The Germans lost on all fronts, whereas the US and UK won. Winning makes a huge difference in a war. Don't it?

Posted by: Harry at June 2, 2004 at 06:04 PM