Confession time: it's fun to mock the French. I mean, first of all, it's easy, which is a huge consideration in my life just now, what with my hectic schedule. Who has time to dig up things to mock about, say, Lichtenstein? Secondly, it really seems to get their little panties in a wad, which just adds to the ease of mocking. Look, if your self-worth is predicated on belief in your own intellectual and cultural superiority to the US, and the US, bunch of tubby un-nuanced cowboys that we are, persists in mocking you, well, it's got to be a little galling. Or Gaulling, if you're into the cheap pun (which I completely am not. In fact, I didn't even type that. Lies! All lies! Written by journalists in the employ of the Bush Administration! Oh, wait. Getting ahead of myself here.).
But this is just over the top silly. I truly thought that this article was from The Onion, but unless the International Herald Tribune is code for Onion, I guess not. See, I would think that with a 35 hour work week, a French diplomat would be able to keep busy doing French stuff like striking under the table oil deals with brutal dictators, screwing over other countries for quick cash, or disdaining anything that isn't French. I mean, that's a LOT to do in a week, particularly when you have to stop every few hours to demonstrate solidarity with your fellow public servants back home who are busy striking for more money and less work.
However, I seem to have underestimated French industry, particularly when it comes to generating self-righteous indignation. Ladies and gentlemen, we are Being Monitored for Anti-French Lies Put Forth by the Bush Administration. Hang on a sec, would you? Got something in my throat: Haaaaaaahaaaaahaaaa! Bwaaaaahaaaaahaaaahaaa haa! Heeeeee! Ahem. Better now.
The thrust of the complaint and subsequent monitoring seems to be that newspapers are reporting unfavorably on the French. What are they reporting, exactly?
The impression given, she said, was that France had "protected a tyrant and a bloody dictator" and was "hostile to the United States."
Now WHERE would we have gotten such an idea? Crazy talk! As confirmed by Tom Bishop, professor at New York University, who tells us exactly who's to blame for Jay Leno's recent monologues:
"What's coming out of the right-wing think tanks in Washington, and elsewhere, is not innocent, I think, and is not accidental," he said.
Damn, you, Vast Right Wing Conspiracy! Damn your eyes!
Of course, the French are demonstrating their typical verve and devil-may-care attitude toward danger with this policy, because complaining about press coverage carries some Very Real Danger. Yes, the danger that their complaints "...might be seen...as a 'kind of petulance.'"
Oh, those brave risk-takers! You go, pampered, overpaid, underworked, disdainful little French diplomat! Fight the power! Woo!
No, seriously, France? You can stop digging now. You've hit bottom.