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Saturday, July 14, 2007

The QUESTION of Culcha


This is, mais oui, Bastille Day. Even though I was really bad at it, I liked taking French in high school, because I loved the sound of the language. Even words that have entered the English language please me just hearing them. Rendezvous. Reconnaissance. Boulevard. Chandelier.

I'm not a snob about it, but I tend to like French wine, French bread. I'm inclined to see the current movie La Vie En Rose because it features French chanteuse Edith Piaf.

I guess I never understood the antipathy towards France in the lead-up to the Iraq war. After all, the country was supportive of us going into Afghanistan. On 9/12/2001, the front page of Le Monde was "We are all Americans".

Usually, the argument was that the US "saved their bacon" in WWII. But there might not have been a US if it weren't for the French support during the American Revolution, a friendship once so rich that they gave us a nice little statue in New York harbor. And the antipathy was far greater towards France than towards Germany or Canada. It wasn't just the right wing radio pushing for "freedom fries", it was the right-wing members of Congress. I went to a conference in the fall of 2003 and actually found myself defending the French position on the war at a time that it was not so popular to do.

Oh, and here's something else I never understood. If one says, red, white and blue, the assumption is that we're talking about the US flag. But the French flag, and the British, and the Norwegian flag, for that matter, are all that same set of colors, so why is it assumed that we're talking about the American flag?

Anyway, please let me know:
Are there cultures, languages, cuisine, art that you just LOVE? And why? How is this manifested? If you had the means, would you want to travel to that country? (Yes, I would like to go to France.) Conversely, are there cultures that irritate the heck out of you, and why?
***
And speaking of culture, today is the birthday of one Lynn Moss. I know it's a cliche to say "his better half", but I've MET Fred Hembeck. (Just funning with you, effendi!)

ROG

2 comments:

Chris Black said...

Hi Roger - this is off topic - but have you seen this about librarians?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4605476.stm

Roger Green said...

No, I hadn't. Interesting that it is repetitiveness that causes stress; I would have pegged the constantly changing technology.