Maîtres mots

  • Il y a longtemps que notre pays est beau mais rude.

       --Newspaper editor Olivier Séguret, 25 January 2012

    The USA are entirely the creation of the accursed race, the French.

       --Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), writing to Nancy Mitford, 22 May 1957

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French Freedom of Speech

Today the cheminots are:

  • "À nous de vous faire préférer le train!"
    "Voyager autrement"
    "Avec le SNCF, tout est possible"
      --Former ad slogans of the SNCF (French national trains), each in turn quickly dropped

Fun French words

  • ouistiti

    (literally: marmoset)
    Etymology: onomatopoeia from the sound a marmoset makes. Actual meaning: this is what you say in France when you want people to smile for the camera.

    Selon une étude réalisée par le fabricant d’appareils photo Nikon, le « ouistiti » utilisé en France au moment de se faire prendre en photo est le petit mot le plus efficace pour s’assurer un joli sourire.

Who's en colère today?

  • Private sector

    First strike in 43 years at an aeronautics company in Toulouse, Latécoère

    Public sector

    The SNCF (toujours eux), regional train employees in the Lyons area guaranteeing unpleasant travel from the 17th-21st December
    Also yet another strike by Sud-Rail, a particularly truculent SNCF union in the south of France, this time five days in January: 6,7, 21, 22 and 23. "We have no choice." Right.

    Marseilles trams on strike until February

Go back to school in Paris!

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« The canceled flight and the killing fields | Main | The gold mime at Trocadero »


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I saw that the other day and just shook my head.

I had not seen this but I am not surprised. As a French person living in the US with a French accent I could tell you some of the bad stuff that happened to me along the years. I wrote about some of them on my blog – look on the side of it under “French bashing” ( .) During the Iraq war some co-workers pasted all kind of stuff near my cubicle saying “Bomb Iraq first, then France.” My car was keyed and I was almost pushed off the road while driving and received so many horrible emails for years (till I retired!). I don’t think the US in general cares for France. I have read articles in French then have seen their translations, even in the New York Times, which had been incorrectly translated, and some French sentences omitted, to make France look bad. I don’t understand why. My father lost a leg in WWII and my mother worked with the Resistance and saved many lives. I was a little girl in Paris but still remember having to go down the stairs in the dark during air raid and having little to eat. Jay Leno (an American TV personality) loves to tell French bashing jokes and has many in his repertoire – his writer, who also wrote for the Simpsons, is the one who invented “cheese eating surrender monkeys.” Leno will be going on retirement soon thankfully.

Jay Leno is an arrogant @#$, Vagabonde, and the best news I heard this week, is that he was finally leaving...

I have had similar experiences here, in the US, where I have lived since 1996. Then again, many people i know have also been kind to me and are genuinely interested in la Belle France...

The jokes about the French surrendering only make the people who make them look uneducated about France, WWII, and history in general. So many people here have absolutely no idea what went on during the Occupation (or even before that,) and do not care to learn about it, preferring to resort to stereotypes...

Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

This isn't a real screenshot of MSNBC. They wouldn't post that, and they look nothing like that.

Hi Max! People I know kept posting this on Facebook, which is where I got it. I don't know anything about the MSNBC but I am pretty sure this was photoshopped and not a screen-capture!

@Sedulia Fair enough. The blog that brought me to this titled their article "Really MSNBC?" Seemingly blaming the network for this, though they haven't even used that logo for 5 or 6 years. Fox News would convievably run this, not MSNBC.

Why would France surrender to North Korea? That's totally fake. People are so stupid nowadays. As to the other comments i read i just wanted to say.

I'm American, (French Decent) and NOT all Americans think that way about French people, or any other nationalities. Its just ignorant hateful fools who don't support gay rights and etc. Those too blind to see and realize how the US is really seen outside their own country, as well as not realizing that a lot of problems is caused by our government and selfish people who are greedy.
Please remember those who bash you for being from a different country are ignorant, and need to have an open mind. Please spread the word, that not everyone is ignorant.

Most Americans don't hate France. But this kind of "joke" is still harmful and idiotic.

I'm not French, but my affection for France is well-known among my right-wing relatives. I *do* say something when they get going. But unless I do it one-on-one, no one "hears" me. I guess it's too much fun to be a jerk when you're in a crowd.

The people I've spoken to quietly have dropped the French-bashing in front of me, but I don't think I've really changed any minds.

Lilly Pulitzer, RIP. Thought you would like to know.

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Today's quotation

  • In Paris, the purest virtue is the object of the filthiest slander.

      –Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), in Scènes de la vie privée

    À Paris, la vertu la plus pure est l'objet des plus sales calomnies.

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • Annual Geminids meteor shower (shooting stars!) coming this weekend, if it's not too cloudy out at night.

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