It was a legend but French people recently faced international hatred in a documentary.
Some English speaking front pages already warned us but reality came as a bombshell. From history to pop culture, from Taleyrand to the Simpson characters, it’s a damning conclusion: everyone hates the French.
It really seems to be that French Bashing is still on around the world. This loving hating sport practiced up by English people is not only an antic skirmish sport as it entitled in an astonishing TV documentary on channel Canal + by Jean-Baptiste Pérétié. A French man at the helm of this plot? Well in the cool boho tone, real characteristic of the channel, the director relates a long lasting loathing process but in a very American viewpoint, no offense but not a word about Japan admiration and African links, sure the naming had no Asian roots … A relaxed hipster philosophy drew in a White and Black striking illustration with glossy helmeted Daft Punk, steaming coffee mug, smoking A Bout de souffle director, bearded Gainsbourg-like profile, over top-less women. Oh, this is how French stereotyped culture can be summed up.
No surprise that these idiomatic clichés are so scathing in Hollywood movies, viral advert or political crisis of our « old pals » and even on Fox News… They stick. What The French People! The dissection of the indigestible smelly, socialist, contemptuous, stubborn image takes 80 minutes and 9 chapters polishing every side of this strange people. With large ink or blood splash, like in a Agatha Christie detective novel.
But with the same target, what a bad role… For the political field, the leading party of Chirac with the betrayer’s role for the Americans before the Iraq war, the birth of freedom fries and the breakage of marvelous French wines and when the extra deserter is never forgettable with pro-Vichy. But some inordinate feeling warm hearts and modulate the original plot. The French Loving sparkles in American artists eyes looking for their French experience like An American in Paris movie.
« C’est magnifique » says Young American waiting for their Parisian romantic interlude that could change existence but idealization could fade in a flash. The British still flounder in their unique relationship with their oldest enemy cast a stone in Shakespeare’s play Henry V in which they were pictured as brave and robust facing bunch of French hairdresser with poodle curly haircut. This confrontation stands in the economic sector where the French man wavers between shirker and sans culotte image and where English tourist enjoying sunny days during foggy work hours is taken for a loser. Yes some clichés die hard with social behaviors. French people are arrogant people obsessed with theory. Diplomacy never left out the arrogant and hasty Dominique de Villepin. French politics steps back in the altercation stating that the hexagonal country is not likely to be welcomed in the international scene.
Speaking about world wild view point, the mythical Pepe the pew came back to life during DSK scandal. The French Lover was not only a legend but a free threat. The wanton aspect of the French stereotyped womanizer is scary in the US country where the president has to act like a family male figure. And this stereotype is obvious in movie theaters. Lambert Wilson knows that he played the role of the French bad man in blockbuster Matrix in which he had to overstep seducing step to betray. Poor little Frenchie. The cheerful pessimist likes complaining, convinced by French Bashing effect, downcast like Jean-Pierre Bacri in The Taste of Others.
What’s the issue? None. Just a blinkered vision. But French people wake up sometimes, they are not so bad and even bind all around the world in music, in cinema, in science and literature. These kings of paradox even get on nerves when Fox News can shut the f… up: when the American news channel imagined a no go zone in the heart of Paris in the wake of Charlie Hebdo attacks, entertainment TV show led a revolution. Alarmed by information loop, and not reaching the press office, Le Petit Journal asked very polite email to Press director, the 40 000 emails blew up the address. As a matter of fact, the channel did huge apologies. « Even if it is not a genuine channel, it was just bad timing »
Because where was the French Basher after Charlie attacks? From New York to London, the British and the American stood by our side. And the Paris gathering didn’t raise arrogance but an international admiration.
Let’s hang out together !