I was alerted to some shocking news from France today: The French have four whole people willing to take up weapons and actually use them. This, of course, comes as a big shock to anyone familiar with World War II in which France played a crucial role because, hey, someone had to flee the battlefield crying like little girls. The news comes from “one of France’s largest festivals of medieval culture”, which, let’s face it, is just another reason for them not to shower. Anyway, here is the first sentence from the AFP report:
A gang of four thieves dressed as knights and armed with a sword and an axe robbed the organisers of a medieval festival in northeast France Monday and made off with $25,000.
Yes, in an age where most of us discuss gun control, nuclear proliferation, bio-terrorism, and drone attacks, France is still dealing with brigands. (One imagines a Parisian in the country shouting, “Sacre bleu, the brigands have made off with my wine!”) At the rate they’re going, they’re going to have to start getting ready for a rash of drive-by-catapaultings.
I don’t know what it is about the French that makes making fun of them so… so easy. I think part of it is the stereotype of the snotty Parisian, which as far as my limited experience goes is absolutely, dead-on correct. (Calling Parisians snotty is like calling New Yorkers brash. You will occasionally get a New Yorker that disagrees with being called brash, but while he is politely and courteously informing you that your sweeping generalization is incorrect, someone will walk by whistling and the New Yorker will say, “OHHHH, HEY, I’M FUCKIN’ TALKIN’ OVER HERE YA’ HUMP!”)
I’ve met many people from France, almost all of them from “the countryside”, and they are unfailingly nice people with wonderful manners, thoughtful, courteous, and will even laugh at jokes at the expense of the French with self-deprecating good humor. And then I met one person who hailed from Paris, and he made it a point to let everyone know that he wouldn’t piss in an American’s mouth if his teeth were on fire. Just an absolute cock-snot, arrogant, haughty, and rude to the point where we finally gave up trying to act civil with him and fed him to some New Yorkers.
So it’s easy to make fun of the French because Parisians make you want to do it, and it’s also easy because of their, shall we say, less than stellar record in armed conflict. How easy? It’s so easy that Ross Perot and Rush Limbaugh (collective IQ: 6) can do it:
“Going to war without the French is like going deer hunting without an accordion” – Ross Perot
“As far as I’m concerned, war always ends in failure” – Jacques Chirac, President of France
“As far as France is concerned, you’re right.” – Rush Limbaugh
Jesus, way to walk into that one, Chirac. Getting scored on by Rush Limbaugh is like losing a game of tic-tac-toe to a chicken. What the fuck?
And certainly the French language doesn’t help matters any. Look, both of my parents hail from Canada, my mom from Quebec. I took French classes from first grade through high-school. I’m very familiar with French, and it’s just not a language that engenders respect. English, with its endless variety of profanities and interjections will always get your attention. Spanish goes a mile a minute, and if you don’t pay attention, you run the risk of accidentally agreeing to sell your grandmother to a brothel in Tijuana. German is almost psychotically violent in its use of harsh consonants and never ending word assaults. This is an actual German word:
Roughly translated, it means, “I am emigrating to Spain so I don’t have to deal with this fucking bullshit language again, oh my aching tongue!”
But French? The French language doesn’t make you take anything spoken in it seriously. It makes you want to knock it over and take its purse. For example, take these phrases which really should catch your attention, but instead make you want to giggle at the speaker:
- Je vais déchirer votre tête (I will rip your head off)
- Payez-moi mon argent ou je te violer vos animaux de compagnie (Pay me my money or I will rape your pets)
- J’ai couché avec Lindsay Lohan et vous donnera la chlamydia (I have slept with Lindsay Lohan and will give you chlamydia)
Here are the penultimate lyrics to Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven translated into French. If Robert Plant had sung this, he wouldn’t have been getting blown by ten to twelve groupies at a time, he’d have been getting a furtive hand job behind a dumpster like all French rock stars:
Et comme nous nous retrouvons sur la route
Nos ombres plus grandes que notre âme.
Il se promène une dame que nous savons tous
Qui brille une lumière blanche et veut montrer
Comment tout se transforme encore en or.
Et si vous écoutez très difficile
La mélodie viendra à vous au dernier.
Quand tout est un et c’est tout
Pour être un roc et ne pas rouler.
As the French would say, “Roc et rouler!” Let’s face it, when your word for shower is “douche”, you’re just asking for trouble. So it’s no surprise when I tell you that the name of the town that has been having trouble with sword-weilding nogoodniks is… Bitche. As in, Bitche, France. “I was attacked by brigands in Bitche. They took my cheese!”
(I shouldn’t make fun of them for surrendering, though. Swords are dangerous. Those things will fucking cut you wide open!)