Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What is wrong with the French?

Boy, do I flop around into different topics.
But if you know me you know that I have spent my whole life -- now 67 years-- flopping around.

Well, maybe I can get some sedate controversy going here. Here goes:

Why are Americans always complaining about the French? In my view they do a whole lot of things better than we do. A whole lot! I think they live better. Consider this from a recent survey reported by Arthur Frommer the travel guru. "According to a study published in "The French enjoy an average of 35 days a year of paid vacation. They sleep an average of nine hours a night, an hour longer than us, and also spend two hours a day on eating -- twice the time Americans spend eating. Read more: "

I suspect, when totalled, this likely indicates that the French enjoy life more than do Americans with no vacation but lots of toys and little time. We live pell mell. They live leisurely.
And, they have one of the best free health care systems in the world. On the other hand, we have....... Oh, surely you know what a perfect mess we have.

I know, they don't support us in every military incursion we decide on. Are they smart or just lucky in this?

I must be feeling like I want to stir the water a little this morning. If you agree or disagree let me know in a genteel manner.

The Hired Man needs now to earn his breakfast. Vive la France!


  1. Well, I have nothing to add. I think they have it over us in all sorts of ways (but having never been there, I can't say for sure, but I think I would miss the US). Too bad we can't simply take our cues from them.

  2. I love the French. Of course, I'm of French decent(maiden name pre-Ellis island le Blanc). So, I must admit bias. However, any culture that by default has cheese and wine as food groups is OK by me! Make aged cheeses and wine, not war.

  3. No argument here. France is more humane and less stressed than America. French women are a model for how women should carry themselves and utilize their feminity. But french men? I've known so few I can't build a stereotype, but many of my male American compatriots seem put out by french men. Why?

  4. But remember the French are an unbelievably arrogant set off people (not all I hasten to add!).
    We went on holiday to the South of France this year and, boy, did we feel the brunt of their arrogance. Despite trying to speak a bit of basic French we were met with deliberate stone-walling, ignorance and arrogance at shops/restaurants. The best was a refusal (or pretence) not to understand 'Coca Cola' when ordering drinks! Amazing!
    Yes we speak English, no we do not speak fluent French... Get over it, oh and enjoy the money tourists pump into your ailing economy !

  5. You should know that universal healthcare isn't all it's cracked up to be. The French people pay the third highest income tax in the world. Yay for freedom.

  6. It is well over 50% by the way. Doesn't that sound like fun?

  7. Well yes that sounds like fun. If i get in a serious car crash, shot in a random act of violence and am in need of health care, i get superb treatment, and so does every one else. To boot, France also has one of the best educational systems in the world today, i've lived in the US, France, England and both in Ontario and Quebec.

    And to cheddar, Do I seem like an arrogant person? Just because you went to southern france, much different from northern france, and where treated like that is probably because you made it obvious of the I Am An American.

  8. Oh and as for not understanding Coca-Cola, France is incredibly hard to find it, for the first reason of wine or water being the more customary drinks, and as for the high taxes and no freedom, take into consideration that You, have an extreme freedom, because you dont have to pay much taxes, but whats your minimum wage, more than 15$, 16$? Would you rather make that much, pay around half to the gouvernement fot free help when needed? Moving into the country, suicidal, on meds, asmatic and just out of a knee surgery a month earlier, they GAVE me the care i needed, so whats wrong about being french? Aucun chose mon petit Innocent.

  9. Tax is one thing. Looking at what the standard of living is in each nation is really more telling. I might have lower taxes here but I pay through the nose for health care insurance. And lousy public transit and bad public schools and and and.

  10. French socialism is good for the weakest members of society, and destructive to the strongest ones. You are killing your best!

  11. I think the last two comments fairly well represent the views of American Progressives and Conservatives.
    Regarding the conservative view, I am not sure I understand. What exactly are "Weakest" and "Strongest"? It "strongest" most muscular, most aggressive, smartest, most sensitive, etc. Lots of room for interpretation here.

  12. Well, I'm French, and I can tell you that our healthcare is nothing as good as it was. More and more medications (and far from only comfort medications) are not taken in charge anymore. Sure, there is a very basic healthcare : but if you don't have a private healthcare sideways, be sure you're seriously screwed in case of a problem.

    As for our educationnal system, it is quite a joke. Public schools are very bad, and about all universities have very low standards. Yes, we have a few good engineer schools, and such, but they have the habit of being very elitist, though teaching only about management and not real skills. Not to speak about the abilities of my fellow French at speaking foreign languages : terrible (I am totally willing to believe French people could wonder what an english-speaking person said when she pronounced Coca-Cola, with a non-french accent - really : though in Southern France, I have the impression most people are filthy douchebags, so this remains a possibility). Education in France : a disaster (go to Northern Europe for that).

    Now, the taxes ? Big, big problem. If you're on the bright side of the median income, expect to pay at the very least 2/3 of your incomes in various taxes. If you're really wealthier than that, basic laws say you should pay about 90% of you incomes in taxes (noticeably, if your possessions amount to more than 750keuros, you get taxed each year a few percents of your possessions value - Staline is not so dead, here), but there are lots of (legal !) ways to cheat, so you can expect to go back to the 2/3 taxes, if not lower. Be quite poor, and not only do you not pay taxes, but if a bit smart, you can easily end up with the state giving you lots of money. Oh, and we still got communists (even in our parliament, though they're not in large numbers anymore, but they once were), whose revendications consist of wanting a bigger tax on possessions (they speak of 2 to 3 times bigger, which would result in working not covering at all the erosion of the value of your goods - no lie, here : and our socialists, which are big in numbers, are not much better - and on the other side, with Sarkozy's party, we have, as pretty much the only alternative, a whole bunch of racist catholic ultra-conservators : yeepee-yeah).

    We also have quite severe criminality problems (policeman litteraly cannot enter in most of the suburbs, and when they do, statistics tell about around 10 policemen for 100k people in those areas : imagine the results - and imagine when the gang dudes go out wandering). And a socialist justice explaining thiefs and assaulters are "victims of society" (recently, a 70 years old grandpa found two young girls robbing his house while he was sleeping : he shot them once and immediately called police and rescue, which as the statistics tell, results in about 70% chances of surviving for them - guess what ? The grandpa is now in jails, and Sarkozy, a real racist guy, ironically a first-generation French, his parents having come from Hungary, jumped on the case to stigmatize gippsies, as the two girls were some : yeepee-yeah - don't expect solutions to justice problems, here : just expect more problems).

    Sure, we're not so unhappy. But France is far, far, far from being any kind of paradise. Seriously. Fortunately, we got good food, nice countryside, and good-looking easy girls (mostly in Paris, though). Better than nothing, I guess... but still worse than it could be.

  13. Last comment don't describe reality in france.
    It'a a response made by some of anti political guy, anarchist
    France is a great country, and have goods things and bad things like every country. Not better and not worst than an other
    We can't compare 2 countries like this. The last comment explain that sarkozy is racist but that he isn't a real native french... sound strange...
    Here is an helping list :D
    - French girls are not more beautiful than american girls
    - French take showers as often as americans
    - Californian wine are really good quality, and french appreciate it too (they are made from french cepages and climat is better in california)
    - There is not more obesity in america than in france now as french like to said
    - Not engaging in a conflict don't make you a coward
    - WWII is not a good reference today.
    - French are not arrogants, we make effort to be understood in english. For them, americans call it pride, for us: arrogance.
    - America is not a violent country as french like to say, we have violence problem too in suburbs.
    - And more, more, more ...


  14. Hurray for MadProf.
    Most Americans have a poor opinion of french because of a bad experience or just something they heard. Most french people love americans. We love your culture, your shows, your movies, your way of life as a whole. I think in the history of the world there is not a better love story than the US and France. We're pretty much cousins. Sure for Thanksgiving we argue and old story come back at christmas dinner, but in the end, we love , support each other and admire each other. Sometimes when americans come to France they feel defensive and can come pretty strong as clichés, but I do not think you'll truly find a french in France that loathe americans. Except for those damn Paris waiters. But they hate everybody. And again, Paris is not really France...

  15. I am an American, and I have had the pleasure of getting to know a few French people via Facebook. They are lovely people! They speak to me in English (GOOD English, I might add), they are friendly, warm, kind, and sweet to me. My life is all the richer for having interacted with them. :o)


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Please enlighten me. The Hired Man