Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Crap or Not Crap

The French

In a thread down below, I already came out firmly on the side of "crap."

I realized, however, that my pronouncement may have just been my Anglophila talking, so I gave it a day and I tried to think of things that the French have given the world that could change my mind. What have the French given the world that is unique or valuable or worthy?

I came up with one thing: ennui.

No one does ennui like the French. That's it. Wine? Italians do it better (so do Spaniards and Americans). Cheese? Again, Italy and England. Art? Stealing art maybe, but the best impressionist in the world was Dutch. Colonialism? I think we can all acknowledge that England rules the waves. Love? Come on, no one does love like the Canadians.

There you have it, the French are crap.

I expect to see everyone who reads this blog pipe up in the comments. Everyone has an opinion on the French. Take the 20 seconds necessary to give us yours.


dr said...

I think the Swedes are better at ennui.

lexdexter said...

guadeloupe = not crap

wobblie said...

As I stated previously, the French = not crap.

1. Cheese - Seriously, no one goes out and buys Italian or English cheese, unless it's Parmesan, and in that case, they're buying Kraft in a can.
2. Pastries
3. Painting - Contrary to dave's assertion, the greatest impressionist was Monet. But also see Seurat, Gaugin, and Toulouse-Lautrec.
4. American Revolution - Care to name prominent American landmarks named after British military leaders from the Revolutionary period my friend?
5. Love - Not that I'd ever abandon the vivacious T., but if that ever happened, I'd welcome a lithe French belle whispering sweet nothings in my ear. Besides, there's a reason that the French kiss and ménàge à trois are staples of the lexicography of love.
6. Labor - 35 hour work week? 6 weeks paid vacation? Striking just because management looked at them funny? Check, check, and check.
7. Tour de France
8. Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau.
9. "The Marseillaise" kicks the ass of "God Save the Queen."
10. "The Internationale" - originally written in French.
11. Pre-1975 Brigitte Bardot (she becomes crap after that)

EZ said...

not crap based on their contribution to the American Revolution:
The Marquis de Lafayette and
General Comte de Rochambeau
1. French General from the American Revolution that was sent with 5,500 troops to help the Americans defeat the British by King Louis XVI. He is best known for the defeat of the British at Yorktown (1781).

2. A nut-kicking contest, usually performed between two males, taking turns to see who can take the most kicks in the nuts. link

dave3544 said...

Wobs --

The Tour de France???? The most corrupt sport on the planet? Where the winner is the only guy not disqualified for cheating?

Van Gogh kicks Manet, Monet and Tippy-tippy-day-day's collective asses.

Pastries -- Two words: dough nut.

Love -- St. Valentine was from where now?

Cheese -- French cheese is better than Kraft in a can. Good job. Not, however better than any one of hundreds of better Italian cheeses or English cheese. The cheeses you eat most (betting) are cheddar and parmesan.

I might give you the Enlightenment, maybe, if you can convince me it wasn't the English and Americans that took it to it's highest levels. Look what the French did with it.

Otherwise, you have two songs and one hottie. You'd trade rock and roll, blues, jazz, and dixieland (that's right dixieland!) for The Marseillaise and the INternationale? Didn't think so. I'll take Ingrid Bergman any day of the week.


minx said...

AND, many of the most important philosophers of the later half of the 20th century were French: Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard, Ranciere, to name a few. Going back further: Sartre! Many marxists from the early 20th century, too.

AND, many of the French Resistance movements during WW2 were amazing. I have a family member who was imprisoned by the Germans for helping the resistance.

courtney said...

SO not crap! I'm with Wobs here.

1. The Moulin Rouge (and really all the crazy fun sex shops on that same street...)

1.a. Open attitudes towards sex in general. (Not to mention teen pregnancy and STI rates that are much lower than in the US...connexion?)

2. Definitely pastries - and food in general! Bouillabaisse from the south of France = heaven. Croissant aux amandes = why I had a fat ass when I came back last time.

3. Beaujolais, the happiest, most beautiful wine produced. Not to mention the week long festival in November just to celebrate it?!

4. Fuck Sartre, give me some De Beauvoir!! And Luce Irigaray, and Monique Wittig. I heart French feminists.

5. Public makeouts.

6. Frenchies willing to protest, go on strike, or shut the damn country down, even if it is just to show their disagreement with a governmental decision. (ditto Wobs...)

7. The whole country is union practically.

8. Air France rocks and serves great wine on its flights (when they're not striking).

9. You HAVE to grant the Enlightenment! Diderot's Encyclopedia?! (and d'Alembert - he always gets forgotten)

10. The Marquis de Sade??????

Vive la France!!

wobblie said...

Let's parse the question here. You asked crap/not crap on the French, not on the French relative to..., which might, understandably, elicit a different response. So, in assessing the crap/not crapituity of the French qua the French, I come firmly down on the side of not crap.

The cheese I eat most of is Swiss, followed by Colby. Again, I assert that no one goes out to by English or Italian cheeses. They might buy a nice block of cheddar, but it's good Wisconsin cheddar.

If you want to claim a Christian martyr appropriated by the Hallmark corporation as the apotheosis of love, have at. I'll take the ménàge à trois any time.

While we'll have to agree to disagree on the matter of Van Gogh/Monet, being a matter of subjective taste, I do feel compelled to point out that Van Gogh's greatest masterpieces were of Provence. In France.

The Church of England. The House of Windsor. Religious fundamentalism bubbling into politics throughout American history. Care to reassess who brought the Enlightenment to its highest levels? At least the French had the requisite genitalia to get rid of their aristocratic leeches and aggressively enforce secularism.

I'll concede the Tour de France, but we totally kicked your ass on the American Revolution, which you conveniently ignored.

Jeebus, arguing about this shit is fun!

wobblie said...

Oh - and incidentally, a donut is cake, not a pastry. I'll also add chocolate to the list as adding to the not crapituity.

brown beard said...

5/4/72 Olympia Theatre, Paris = not crap

wobblie said...

That show is so not crap.

dave3544 said...

For the record, I was including he French philosophers of the later half of the 20th in the "ennui."

I deliberately left out the French habit of losing wars to the Germans in honor of the French Resistance.

Sex and pastries. That's what we have here.

In true French spirit, I say "meh."

dr said...

It's not possible to make cheddar in Wisconsin.

dr said...

My fave cheddar:

ash said...

yeah, i think i am unclear on the ground rules here. is the standard that anything french must = better than comparable things from anywhere else or the french are crap?

first off, sex and pastries are enough to qualify as not crap in my book. (jeebus, dave. it's sex. and pastries! what's not to like?) paris alone is enough to move france into not crap territory if you ask me (and you did). throw in art, architecture, wine, cheese, and theory (regardless of whether the french version of any of these is the best in the world) and you've got doubleplus uncrap.

viva la france!

ss said...

Dave, just one word:


'Nuff said.

ss said...

Since I'm the nth person to say something about labor, I guess I should add something new: number theory.

dr said...

And lets not forget the odometer, the iron furnace stove, bifocals, the introduction of the bulkhead into Western shipbuilding, the lightning rod, the glass armonica, swim fins, the first mapping of the gulf stream, and the very concept of daylight savings time!

dave3544 said...

Ben Franklin invented bifocals! That's a Goddamn lie!

wobblie said...

Ah, Ben Franklin, ambassador to - wait for it... France!

minx said...

effing Rimbaud. That's prolly part of your "ennui" category, huh? Like Baudelaire. But what about the original arcades? How about Chartres? How about the weird Cathar revolts during the Middle Ages? How about Charlemagne?

Down with mixing weed and tobacco, though.
Up with frites.