Berets, baguettes and bouillabaisse March 5, 2013 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Could we maybe cut down on French stereotypes? The same two canards about lack of military prowess and entrepreneurship may not come up daily, but they appear in comments on and off and they are tired, facile and not too welcoming. I'm not asking for a change in policy, but it would be nice if we could be a bit more thoughtful.

The first stereotype reduces French military history to a film version of WW2, and the second is mostly ideological whinging about the French economy (5th biggest globally). I'm linking to these two comments from today as examples, not to call them out specifically.
posted by ersatz to Etiquette/Policy at 12:31 PM (248 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I'd agree with you, but that just means Canadian stereotypes will get doubled-down on! :)
posted by Kitteh at 12:42 PM on March 5, 2013


I've allready done my part

And as someone of ultimately Norman descent, I can promise to burn down one English seaside village for every lazy French stereotype. It's only fair.
posted by The Whelk at 12:49 PM on March 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm reading this MeTa in my head in the voice of Chris Crocker.
posted by found missing at 12:51 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


You can't just ask this without providing an alternative target.

I propose Albanians, but only because I liked "Tune in Tomorrow".
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:55 PM on March 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


I encourage you to make the switch to upper midwesterners. Bring it on motherfuckers, we dare you.
posted by Think_Long at 12:56 PM on March 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


The "French military defeats" joke has gotten a bit overexposed (on the internet, I don't really know so much about MeFi) but also I don't really get how either of the examples you linked are related to that?
posted by kagredon at 12:59 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had absolutely no idea there was a French stereotype related to entrepreneurship. Fortunately that is such a weird stereotype to have that I'm pretty confident I've never unknowingly invoked it.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:59 PM on March 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


To be fair, that second one was more of a shot at French industry, not entrepreneurship.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 1:01 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, I don't think the first one was so much about WW2, and I'm as baffled by the second one as shakespeherian.
posted by kagredon at 1:01 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The second link is someone's personal experience and their personal amusement at the juxtaposition, so I'm not sure it illustrates your point well.

As kagredon intimates, finding an example of the lack of military prowess thing would have illustrated the request better.
posted by batmonkey at 1:01 PM on March 5, 2013


I think the second one is a " French people are so lazy and always striking grar grar how dare they have a maximum work week grar" thing.
posted by The Whelk at 1:02 PM on March 5, 2013


According to a report I heard on NPR, Parisians don't pick up their dog poop. So, we can make fun of that and the fact that no French entrepreneur has started a dog poop picking up business.
posted by found missing at 1:03 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not just Parisians. Montrealers are pretty bad about dog poop, too. And sometimes here as well (there are little stands with the baggies all over the park, why is this hard????).
posted by Kitteh at 1:07 PM on March 5, 2013


Yes, but their poop doesn't stink so it's all good.
posted by 26.2 at 1:07 PM on March 5, 2013


Focal and Atoll make some wonderful electroniques. Quite the stereotype.
posted by buzzman at 1:08 PM on March 5, 2013


Kitteh: "I'd agree with you, but that just means Canadian stereotypes will get doubled-down on! :)"

We prefer the term double-double.
posted by mannequito at 1:08 PM on March 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


Reminds me of a story I heard about a NATO exercise where the thing just goes swimmingly, the tanks, troops and helicopters are all in position on time and well supplied. The French observer says: well that's all very well in practice, but how does it work in theory.
posted by shothotbot at 1:09 PM on March 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


Sacre Bleu!
posted by jonmc at 1:09 PM on March 5, 2013


Hell, I see plenty of New Yorkers fail to pick up their dog poop. I think that's more of a universal constant rather than something regional.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:11 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, but they are probably french.
posted by found missing at 1:12 PM on March 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


*sets blackpool on fire*
posted by The Whelk at 1:16 PM on March 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


What's this? A massive paper bag of dog poop in the wreckage?
posted by kagredon at 1:17 PM on March 5, 2013


And as someone of ultimately Norman descent, I can promise to burn down one English seaside village for every lazy French stereotype. It's only fair.

Hmm. Don't be mixing up lazy cliched American stereotypes of the French with properly deserved and highly nuanced English stereotypes of the French that have a rich historical background and aren't just some Bush era crap.

Also the Normans were some kind of bullshit misplaced Vikings.
posted by Artw at 1:22 PM on March 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


Tell you what, they give back Calais, we stop making jokes about them.
posted by atrazine at 1:24 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also the Normans were some kind of bullshit misplaced Vikings.

they ended up in friggin Sicily for Chrissakes
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:25 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I was in Paris in '97 (sob) they had little white trucks that drove around with a robotic hose that would bend down and suck up the dog poop from the gutters and curbs.

In my small midwestern town, we have dog parks with signs and posts and bags and buckets and people still don't pick up their dog poop.

Of course, our small town is named after a Parisian suburb, but it's mostly populated with Germans, Scandinavians and Somalis.
posted by jillithd at 1:25 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I encourage you to make the switch to upper midwesterners. Bring it on motherfuckers, we dare you.

It's here you meth smoking cheese eating democrats.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:28 PM on March 5, 2013 [22 favorites]


I encourage you to make the switch to upper midwesterners.

I had a classmate from Minnesota who revealed that in his childhood the game most Americans know as "Duck, duck, goose" was called "duck, duck, grey duck" and for a while I thought this was peculiar to him but then, the following year, I met another Minnesotan who independently told me the same thing.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE.
posted by kagredon at 1:32 PM on March 5, 2013 [42 favorites]


Hey, you can always make fun of the Dutch; we don't notice anyway and it would restore a proud English edition.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:32 PM on March 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


My family is French-Canadian and hails from the upper Midwest. I would welcome a string of jokes about head cheese but you best leave the tortiere alone.

Also: j'en ai marre. (Not really, I just like saying that.)
posted by Currer Belfry at 1:35 PM on March 5, 2013


The second link is someone's personal experience and their personal amusement at the juxtaposition, so I'm not sure it illustrates your point well.

As kagredon intimates, finding an example of the lack of military prowess thing would have illustrated the request better.

Quick explanation: the first comment says that having a French bodyguard equals asking for trouble i.e. his lack of prowess is implicitly attributed to his nationality. Contemporary Franks were pretty warlike and the dig only makes sense to me in the context of the French being popularly considered trash at all things martial after their defeat in WW2. I'd welcome a more plausible explanation.

As for the second link, I've heard the same from expats, but the notion that the French model isn't capitalistic enough is often the default view online (usually a mix of The Economist, the Daily Mail, and expats) whereas the majority of French voters didn't seem to agree with that view in the last elections.

Tell you what, they give back Calais, we stop making jokes about them.

What, no Gascony?
posted by ersatz at 1:35 PM on March 5, 2013


Sacre Pepsi Bleu!

Fixe pour vous.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:36 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


As long as no one tries to say it's pronounced PREE feexAY.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:40 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think there ought to be a new rule that the only valid French stereotype is that French folks eat a lot of cheese, because, damn it, French folks eat a lot of cheese.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:41 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, we could always switch to the Belgians.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:42 PM on March 5, 2013


racist
posted by found missing at 1:42 PM on March 5, 2013


oh sorry, that was meant for the cheese comment
posted by found missing at 1:43 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Am I still allowed to make fun of the Maginot Line? Cause that shit is hilarious.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:43 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Those two comments were clearly jokes, so this MeTa seems worried about something that's not really a problem.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:45 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Five national stereotypes to be retired. SLCracked.com
posted by K.P. at 1:45 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Could we maybe cut down on French stereotypes? The same two canards...

What you did there: ICI IT.
posted by DU at 1:49 PM on March 5, 2013 [18 favorites]


Am I still allowed to make fun of the Maginot Line?

You can try, but it may not be as effective as you expect it will be.
posted by bondcliff at 1:52 PM on March 5, 2013 [39 favorites]


The same two canards...

Lest we forget the Ortolan!
posted by ericb at 2:01 PM on March 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Artw: "...highly nuanced English stereotypes of the French that have a rich historical background..."

And vice versa.
posted by zarq at 2:01 PM on March 5, 2013


As for the second link, I've heard the same from expats, but the notion that the French model isn't capitalistic enough is often the default view online (usually a mix of The Economist, the Daily Mail, and expats) whereas the majority of French voters didn't seem to agree with that view in the last elections.

Disagreeing with French economic policy or making light of it because one believes it is bad policy does not at all strike me as relying on French stereotypes. Who cares what the majority of French voters think, a personal opinion doesn't have to be backed by the electorate of France. I agree that the French military thing is overdone and should be retired, its annoying and historically untrue, however the one "example" you found is very slight.
posted by Falconetti at 2:10 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The same two canards...

Mon Canard Est En Feu!!

I guess that's really a Canadian stereotype...
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:13 PM on March 5, 2013


Hey, you can always make fun of the Dutch; we don't notice anyway and it would restore a proud English edition.

I used to make fun of the Dutch all the time, but then I met a Dutchman and he wasn't at all like I expected. He opened my eyes to the fact that the Dutch were real people with real feelings and they didn't go sticking fingers in dikes. So now, of course, I still make fun of the Dutch all the time, after all, they are still Dutch, but now I think about this guy while I do it and sometimes I feel bad, but it's not like he's going to track me down, since he's got his finger in a dike.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:23 PM on March 5, 2013 [27 favorites]


I'll just leave this here.
posted by arcticseal at 2:26 PM on March 5, 2013


Maybe we need older French stereotypes- like oh those French, all hyper-logical cartesians with grid fixations!
posted by The Whelk at 2:26 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Nobody who has heard about the Battle of Dien Bien Phu has misgivings that the French are behind nobody in crazy war bravery. They lost--and the First Indochina War was colonial bullshit--but had the US fought that battle there would be fifty squillion films about how heroic it was.
And as someone of ultimately Norman descent, I can promise to burn down one English seaside village for every lazy French stereotype. It's only fair.
Only the one? Your Norman blood must be awfully watered down. Your forebears handily killed the best part of 100,000 English, so surely you can burn down a riding or at least a wapentake? One little thorpe isn't going to get you more than a bare mention in the Gesta.
posted by Jehan at 2:27 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Whether or not those two examples were perfectly archetypal, I don't think the original request is out of line. Ersatz has basically politely requested that we consider the ways that our words might hurt, and that we be a little more thoughtful than we might naturally be when we reach for a cliché in service of some easy chuckles. Stereotypes and clichés come naturally to humans, but I always welcome a gentle reminder that I should try to do better than that. I'll do my best to bear this in mind.
posted by Scientist at 2:27 PM on March 5, 2013 [16 favorites]


Would this mean I can't make fun of Americans anymore? I'm not sure how I feel about that.
posted by chunking express at 2:34 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I make fun of Americans
I make fun of the World
Sometimes I can't help it
sometimes I can.
posted by The Whelk at 2:36 PM on March 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


France is world-leader when it comes to the proportion of the labor force working in public sector jobs: 25% in 2005 - few of whom were affected by the economic downturn.

So, it's not exactly wrong. Starting a small business in France is often very difficult. I don't see why this is supposed to be some big mean thing to say--not every one aspires to a nice job with the government.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:39 PM on March 5, 2013


I dislike jokes about the French military since they ignore their great history of winning battles and the aid they provided to the young Americans.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:42 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps this thread would be better received in Vichy.
posted by Tanizaki at 2:43 PM on March 5, 2013


Let's not nitpick those examples to death though; it's always possible to reduce any such comment to something more innocent, but it's the mass of them that makes them problematic.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:44 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I prefer the jokes.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:44 PM on March 5, 2013


Rubbish like this deserves at least an honourable mention.
posted by Wolof at 2:45 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nobody who has heard about the Battle of Dien Bien Phu has misgivings that the French are behind nobody in crazy war bravery.

Dien Bien Phu. That's the one where they surrendered, retreated from Vietnam, and the U.S. spent the next twenty years attempting (and failing) to clean up the mess. Not really my go-to example for French military prowess.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:49 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


How is that rubbish?
posted by KokuRyu at 2:49 PM on March 5, 2013


Maybe we need older French stereotypes- like oh those French, all hyper-logical cartesians with grid fixations!

Those bloodthirsty Jacobins are coming to tear the heart from Mother Russia!

TO ARMS
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:49 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I had absolutely no idea there was a French stereotype related to entrepreneurship.

"The problem with the French is they don't even have a word for entrepreneur."
(George W Bush)

Unfortunately, he never said it.
posted by philip-random at 3:00 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


What is Duck, Duck, Goose? Is that like Duck, Duck, Grey Duck? How do you do the colors in Duck, Duck, Goose? Brown Duck, Green Duck, Blue Duck, Goose. How does that make sense?
posted by Area Man at 3:03 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


The last time I interacted with some Dutch people, they were helping fix some of the damage done by the storm surge to the waterfront garden I worked at this past year. They mocked the fact that we had no protection against flooding on our extensive waterfront and then got to work shoveling. They were awesome.

I'd like to see an end to the comments about Parisians being rude to tourists - I lived there for a bit at one point and I see no difference in how Parisians treat tourists who don't speak French and how New Yorkers treat tourists who don't speak English. Especially when they don't walk quickly enough.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:05 PM on March 5, 2013


I once was literally yelled at by a Parisian in Paris because I was speaking English in a cafe. So, there's that.
posted by found missing at 3:07 PM on March 5, 2013 [6 favorites]

Dien Bien Phu. That's the one where they surrendered, retreated from Vietnam, and the U.S. spent the next twenty years attempting (and failing) to clean up the mess. Not really my go-to example for French military prowess.
No, you're mistaken, they did not surrender. They fought to the bitter end, having held out for two months against a force at least five times as big.

Also, the US needn't have fought the Second Indochina War, moreso when they could see how it would end for them too. But as they say, history repeats itself, first as a tragedy, then next as a farce.
posted by Jehan at 3:09 PM on March 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


The number of people I've seen be rude to people not speaking English in the United States is A LOT. So there's that too.

* * *


There is a lot of joy on the Duck, Duck, Goose Wikipedia page (that I looked up to see if people in this thread were fucking with me or not) -- learning of variants like "Extreme Duck Duck Goose" or that "Duck, duck, grey duck" is more like the original Swedish title of the game (which as far as I can tell isn't referenced anywhere else on the page -- but I like nothing better than the "animated schematic" GIF.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:09 PM on March 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


There's a local station that shows foreign films, and they tend to sometimes unintentionally reinforce stereotypes. They tend to show French films where people (especially the women) dislike wearing clothes and the men are libertine rogues.

Though I suppose that's because the Luc Besson films are on the more mainstream channels.

The French: Those incorrigible producers of good but not great action films!
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:13 PM on March 5, 2013


This requires application of Kant's categorical stereotype imperative, namely, if one were to will this rule of etiquette to be a universal law, would it prohibit mockery of Texans?
posted by brain_drain at 3:13 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


This requires application of Kant's categorical stereotype imperative, namely, if one were to will this rule of etiquette to be a universal law, would it prohibit mockery of Texans?

Didn't we already have a big thread about how we shouldn't mock Texans? I tend not to mock people who are heavily armed and proud of their state.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:14 PM on March 5, 2013


The Duck vs. Goose divide is all too real. No one is fucking with you. I've made sure to raise my kids in Minnesota just to insure they grow up with the correct game.
posted by Area Man at 3:19 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


the dig only makes sense to me in the context of the French being popularly considered trash at all things martial after their defeat in WW2. I'd welcome a more plausible explanation.

Also the Franco-Prussian War and the early part of WWI, where they'd have been in trouble without the Brits. It wasn't just a one time thing.
posted by Jahaza at 3:20 PM on March 5, 2013

Also the Franco-Prussian War and the early part of WWI, where they'd have been in trouble without the Brits. It wasn't just a one time thing.
There was also that war where they spent over 10 years occupying a country, and at last had to retreat after failing to overcome tribesmen armed with nothing more than guns and homemade bombs.

No, hold on, that was is the US in Afghanistan.

You see how easy it is to make some crappy fake argument to back up your ignorance? I mean, is there anything more to this idea of France as militarily weak than some old episode of The Simpsons? It seems that a lot of US folk seem to base their understanding of France on the sayings of Groundskeeper Willie, and that's a little unsettling.
posted by Jehan at 3:32 PM on March 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


There is a lot of joy on the Duck, Duck, Goose Wikipedia page

Tackle duck duck goose was a pretty formative game in my youth. (We "invented" it on a school trip at the beach, which is probably is a big part of why we all survived to adulthood.)
posted by kagredon at 3:40 PM on March 5, 2013


Those two comments were clearly jokes, so this MeTa seems worried about something that's not really a problem.

...racist jokes aren't a problem, now?
posted by Dysk at 3:46 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have, crystalized in my memory, the image of the time I played a game of Duck Duck Goose at a youth group meeting when I was in high school, and without intending to really I ended up being some Onion-esque "Area Man Is Way Overcommitted To This Game of Duck Duck Goose" character after managing to tear around a circle after a slow start and juuuuuuust catching the tagger's ankle with a flying leap straight out of an MLB highlight reel.

I landed on my back and slid probably ten feet across the gymnasium floor and almost certainly hurt myself a little in the process and I think everybody was kind of like wow, buddy, you really went for that, but man did that ever feel righteous and fucking triumphant for a few seconds.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:46 PM on March 5, 2013 [22 favorites]


There was quite a bit of prejudice here against the French, but truthfully, none of these examples bother me or my husband. So I guess it's up to you. I mean, my mother remembers them burning crosses on her church lawn back in the 1930's. So one or two comments, it's nothing. Live and let live. :::shrug:::
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:47 PM on March 5, 2013


The more important question is, when did French become a race?
posted by found missing at 3:52 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


How about some French stereotypes of Americans to even the scales?
posted by desjardins at 3:52 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Duck Duck Amoeba sounds like a lot of fun.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:52 PM on March 5, 2013


when did French become a race?

Just after the starting pistol is fired, usually.
posted by The Whelk at 3:54 PM on March 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


I always remind those that make fun of the French based on some WW2 stereotypes, that for not a very brave Frenchman, we'd still be calling the Queen, Mum.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:55 PM on March 5, 2013


I had a classmate from Minnesota who revealed that in his childhood the game most Americans know as "Duck, duck, goose" was called "duck, duck, grey duck" and for a while I thought this was peculiar to him but then, the following year, I met another Minnesotan who independently told me the same thing.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE.


We know enough to stay clear of geese.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:55 PM on March 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


We still owe a debt of honor to general Lafayette.

Thankfully the interest isn't too high.
posted by The Whelk at 3:57 PM on March 5, 2013


when did French become a race?

Maybe the word is used differently in the states or something, but over here in the UK, it's pretty damn commonplace to call discrimination and so on based on someone's nationality 'racism'. There is sadly much anti-Polish racism here, for example. I don't see why French is any less a race than Polish.
posted by Dysk at 3:58 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I encourage you to make the switch to upper midwesterners. Bring it on motherfuckers, we dare you.

Arrr, yer pansy twin city sootherner, we'll come doone an sack the cities and poor craft beer in yer gullits.

Oh
For
Nice
!
!
!
posted by edgeways at 4:07 PM on March 5, 2013


I once was literally yelled at by a Parisian in Paris because I was speaking English in a cafe. So, there's that.

Ah, Paris...
posted by Artw at 4:15 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Those two comments were clearly jokes, so this MeTa seems worried about something that's not really a problem.

...racist jokes aren't a problem, now?


Yes, that's exactly what was written.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:18 PM on March 5, 2013


Brandon Blatcher, well what do you mean then, in saying the thing the MeTa is about isn't a problem because the comments in question are jokes?
posted by Dysk at 4:24 PM on March 5, 2013


I encourage you to make the switch to upper midwesterners. Bring it on motherfuckers, we dare you.

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Prince.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:33 PM on March 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


I can promise to burn down one English seaside village for every lazy French stereotype.
In the seaside town
that they forgot to bomb
Come, come, come - nuclear bomb
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:36 PM on March 5, 2013


Zut alors! What a potpourri of je nais se quoi!
posted by y2karl at 4:40 PM on March 5, 2013


"Fuck you for having nice food!" has always seemed like an odd basis for an insult.
posted by Artw at 4:51 PM on March 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


The French got all their food skills from invading Italy. I think that kind of dedication to pleasure should be commended.
posted by michaelh at 4:56 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Fuck you for having nice food!" has always seemed like an odd basis for an insult.

I know, right? It's like the time I got teased in 7th grade for using too many big words in an oral book report. It wasn't until like a year and a half later that I thought "Wait a minute. . . why am *I* the one getting teased here? You're the ones who are barely fluent in the language of your birth!"
posted by KathrynT at 4:56 PM on March 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Plus the French army is ready to deploy at a moments notice anywhere in the Francophone world to keep chocolate cheap.
posted by Artw at 4:58 PM on March 5, 2013


"You're the ones who are barely fluent in the language of your birth!"

How French of you!
posted by spitbull at 5:01 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe the word is used differently in the states or something, but over here in the UK, it's pretty damn commonplace to call discrimination and so on based on someone's nationality 'racism'. There is sadly much anti-Polish racism here, for example. I don't see why French is any less a race than Polish.

In America, race is based on skin color not ethnicity/nationality*. French, Polish, English, Dutch, Russian, Italian, all y'all are white over here. So, discrimination against someone who was Polish because they are Polish would be called discrimination or prejudice not racism.

Also, there is no way you are going to get Americans as a group to actually care about jokes made against (white) French people like they would jokes against black people or Asians. Because our prejudice against the French is just stupid stereotypes. (No one says we are racist against the English because we think all English people have crappy teeth.) Nobody is going to get fired if people find out they are French. Or beat up if someone sees them speaking French. No one thinks French people are ruining America and taking Americans jobs.

You can ask people to cool it with the French jokes and some will because they are nice, and others won't because you're favorite country sucks, but for Americans this isn't racism.

*Currently. Back in the 1800s and earlier, it was skin color and (European) ethnicity. Basically, WASPs hated Eastern and Southern Europeans immigrants and didn't consider them white. But eventually, the immigrants assimilated enough so that all Caucasian Europeans are white now.
posted by nooneyouknow at 5:05 PM on March 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


How about some French stereotypes of Americans to even the scales?

Granted, I'm only reading the Google translation of it, but this is hilarious. Even more so for the paragraphs following each item in the list:

6. You have two kids
Which one is morbidly obese. And a mistress, you jump into a motel whose sign flashing in neon blue.


9. You sing in the local church on Sunday
Your mother always told you that you were made for this. But after a gala went wrong when you were little you hang up the karaoke competition. You continue to push the song with the blacks in the neighborhood to brighten the church of your old pal the pastor. Recently the church tower fell and it lacks the pastor $ 5,000 to repair. $ 5000 is precisely the sum of the first prize in the singing competition organized in Denver. You face the past and become again the time of the evening star that you would be. You win by singing the "Star Spangled Banner" vibrant

posted by LionIndex at 5:15 PM on March 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


As for the second link, I've heard the same from expats, but the notion that the French model isn't capitalistic enough is often the default view online (usually a mix of The Economist, the Daily Mail, and expats) whereas the majority of French voters didn't seem to agree with that view in the last elections.

Oh, right, so this is like how the rest of the world agreed to agree that GWB was the right choice for president because most americans* voted for him? Seriously, what are you trying to say here?

*whatever
posted by jacalata at 5:18 PM on March 5, 2013


Can I use this space to teach people to make fun of New Mexicans? There are two primary targets for us: our road construction, which lasts so long that the orange traffic barrel is basically our state animal, and green chile. We put green chile (which is spelled with an e, with or without an accent, not a goddamn i) in everything. Yes, everything. Croissant sandwiches. Sushi rolls. Burgers. I once made little tea sandwiches with cucumber and mixed green chile in with the cream cheese. Does your region have a specialty food? We'll put chile in or on it. What kind of pizza do you prefer? Chicago? New York? Nepalese? We'll put some motherfucking green chile on it. Want some alfredo? We'll put some green chile in the sauce. Any kind of baked pastry-- croissant, empanada, calzone, whatever-- we'll put some green chile in that.
posted by NoraReed at 5:33 PM on March 5, 2013 [24 favorites]


How about some French stereotypes of Americans to even the scales?

From Google's autotranslate:
Your son is a Junior Bobby Baseball aces

But his old coach Mc Caw refuses to play for his offspring to John Bill Bill instead. But little John Bill Bill is not a fan of sport. What he likes is the theater. It is also good breakfast. Its role in the pancake school play "Breakfast Attack 3" moved across the county Bayou, but that this stubborn Mc Caw never understand.
Yes, that's all true.
posted by scody at 5:38 PM on March 5, 2013 [19 favorites]


Hmm. Don't be mixing up lazy cliched American stereotypes of the French with properly deserved and highly nuanced English stereotypes of the French that have a rich historical background and aren't just some Bush era crap.

In light of this it's always been funny to me the number of English you'll find living out their retirement years in the south of France.
posted by invitapriore at 5:40 PM on March 5, 2013


How about some French stereotypes of Americans to even the scales?

5. Your grandfather did the Vietnam
posted by kagredon at 5:44 PM on March 5, 2013


No, you're mistaken, they did not surrender.

Me and bunch of other people are apparently mistaken. Or not.

They did a good job of holding the place for two months, but a) the poor intelligence and execution that got them stuck in that position is legendary and b) they ended it by surrendering.

Also, the US needn't have fought the Second Indochina War

I agree. I've always wondered what I would have thought with the information at hand at the time though.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:02 PM on March 5, 2013


well what do you mean then, in saying the thing the MeTa is about isn't a problem because the comments in question are jokes?

If you want to point out the systematic oppression that the French have been suffering from for hundreds, go right ahead.

Otherwise, eh. I'm not aware of the institutional prejudice that the French have been suffering throughout the world, let alone on this website, so yeah, this MeTa comes as navel gazing over minor matters.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:03 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


We put green chile (which is spelled with an e, with or without an accent, not a goddamn i) in everything. Yes, everything.

When I was there, I consistently had a "red" option. Whole Foods, where the only breakfast options are burritos? Your choice of green or red.
posted by LionIndex at 6:07 PM on March 5, 2013


Green chile is awesome. Can't mock. Am jealous
posted by Area Man at 6:07 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The red option is there when it's something served with chile in sauce form. But you're not gonna find red chile in stuff as much.
posted by NoraReed at 6:10 PM on March 5, 2013


Anyone made a stance for or against French Canadians? Those guys came up with OQLF and that shit is comedy gold. Google: Pastagate.

If we come to the conclusion we can no longer mock the French can we at least agree to mock the French Canadians? It's not like they're real French people.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:19 PM on March 5, 2013


Anyone made a stance for or against French Canadians?

Mais oui!
posted by Sys Rq at 6:25 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mockery doesn't take much of a push before it degrades into mean-spiritedness and prejudice and any number of terrible things.

I reckon it should go up (or at worst, across) and not down -- mock the wealthy or powerful as much as you like. I think it should be deployed against bad actors and evil-doers of any stripe. It's think it's OK to mock people who are actively destructive to community or knowledge or openness or honesty or any of the other human values that are more or less universal, especially if they seek shelter from mockery through some sort of group affiliation.

But mocking the weak or disenfrachised or isolated, not so much. Mocking easy targets because, hey, everyone else is doing it and them folks they's just different from us, not so much. Mocking people because they are stupid isn't on, but mocking them for doing or saying stupid things? I don't have much problem with that. Mockery of entire nationalities just tends to be lazy and stupid, at least in part because I think mockery is better used to point up the inherent foolishness in what people do, not what they are.

Jokes are not, of course, always just jokes. The rule as it is correctly stated is that if you're going to make a joke that might be offensive, and you're bound and determined to make it, then it better damn well be funny. Or, you know, comedy option 2 is just don't make it at all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:35 PM on March 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


You always greet with a new pie
Still, by Kelly homemade. Usually they offer you a glass of orangeade, then you invite each other to eat the huge turkey Thanksginving, with blueberry syrup, mashed peas and compact.


And what's so wrong with that, I'd like to know.

The days of depression, you take the car to go far, far away
Sometimes life like an old taste you piss back into the throat. In those days you bake your a good bottle of whiskey on the passenger seat of Lynyrd Skynyrd in pregnant and you drive aimlessly until dawn. After a detour in the strip club an unknown state you realize that Bobby Junior Kelly and miss you and you return to the fold arms laden with gifts. This is fucking beautiful America.


That's my favorite Springsteen song!

See, international friendship is totally possible.
posted by Miko at 6:44 PM on March 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


"Well, we could always switch to the Belgians."

It's all fun and games until you realize your beer is being watered down and your In-N-Out Burger fries are pale and limp and then who are you going to turn to, huh?

No, seriously, it's just nice to be mentioned.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:15 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


See, international friendship is totally possible.

*Contemplates all the participants in thread musingly....*
posted by infini at 7:19 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, we could always switch to the Belgians.

Yeah, fucking typical.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:47 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Didn't the French invent the blowjob? For that, all else is forgiven.
posted by jonmc at 8:03 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rubbish like this deserves at least an honourable mention.

How is that rubbish?


The Battle of Dunkirk has the French saving British soldiers, and it is the latter who also left so much of the materiel behind.
posted by Brian B. at 8:07 PM on March 5, 2013


Zoot allorz!
posted by klangklangston at 8:18 PM on March 5, 2013


Allons-y à la plage, avec bière!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:28 PM on March 5, 2013


As someone of the American race, I do not understand the English.
posted by found missing at 8:31 PM on March 5, 2013


I would like to offer up Boston, a city of people in complete and blissful denial that no one outside of New England gives half a shit about their town.

(We know the truth in our hearts, of course. We know Yankees fans can only work up a half-hearted resentment; we know that no one else is particularly invested in the details of Paul Revere's midnight ride; we understand that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are our only significant cultural exports of the last half century. There's a reason we let everyone think MIT and Harvard aren't across the river.)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:43 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would like to offer up Boston, a city of people in complete and blissful denial that no one outside of New England gives half a shit about their town.

Come to the annual Dropkick Murphys' Australian shows and count all the Celtics and Red Sox jerseys, then tell me that.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:45 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Battle of Dunkirk has the French saving British soldiers, and it is the latter who also left so much of the materiel behind.

Well, there is still the fact that Vichy French and British naval units got into a skirmish off Dakar. That's not to say the French deserve the stupid neocon smear job of not being able to fight. The Third Republic was betrayed by Rightists at a time when France was invaded and occupied by Germany - hardly a stain on that country.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:47 PM on March 5, 2013


Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
posted by malocchio at 8:58 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


DO YOU THINK THIS 'A' ON MY FOREHEAD STANDS FOR FRANCE?
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 9:29 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't have a dog in this fight but regarding the French military, this episode of QI had this to say:

"You would want a Frenchman on your side in a fight because the French are one at the best countries in the world when it comes to war, despite their cowardly reputation. According to historian Niall Ferguson, of the 125 major European wars fought since 1495, France has taken part in 50, which is more than Austria (47) and England (43). Out of 168 battles fought since 387 BC, France has won 109, lost 49 and drawn 10."

This clip has the bit, and yes the Groundskeeper Willie meme is mentioned in the end, along with an anecdote about a Googlebomb from 2003.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:31 PM on March 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


There was also that war where they spent over 10 years occupying a country, and at last had to retreat after failing to overcome tribesmen armed with nothing more than guns and homemade bombs.

No, hold on, that was/is the US in Afghanistan.


I'm just going to leave Algeria here for you.
posted by maryr at 10:39 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I definitely need better wine for this thread.
posted by thivaia at 11:12 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I used to make fun of the Dutch all the time

Sissy-boy wearing, Febo eating motherfuckers
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:38 AM on March 6, 2013


Of the countless things Mefites find a way to be offended about, jokes about the French are truly among the mildest. Indeed, Brits vs French respective stereotyping has become a joke in itself (as shown in this clip of the latest Astérix movie).
Still, the two stereotypes cited by Ersatz (French people as military wimps and lazy workers) are a little bit problematic due to their real-world implications. As we know, the "French wimp" stereotype (and the whole Freedom fries idiocy) was co-opted by the Bush administration to raise support for the Iraq war, which is not exactly a shining endorsement outside Freeper circles. The "lazy workers" stereotype just raised its ugly head in the recent spat between tyre company CEO Maurice Taylor and the French minister of industry Arnaud Montebourg, so this one is part of the rah-rah libertarian/Randian discourse about poor entrepreneurs shackled by unions and Socialist Horror.
So while its obviously OK to discuss and mock French military prowess and entrepreneurship or lack thereof, which is something that the French themselves do with gusto (though in a different fashion of course), the near-mandatory appearance of such stereotypes, along with mentions of the useless Académie Française, washed-up Jerry Lewis, creepy mimes and surly waiters, whenever France shows up in a thread is vaguely annoying.
posted by elgilito at 2:25 AM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


I once was literally yelled at by a Parisian in Paris because I was speaking English in a cafe. So, there's that.

I was once literally yelled at by an American in The Mission because I have an Irish accent. So, so what?
posted by distorte at 5:02 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Come to think of it, I was once literally yelled at by an Dubliner in Dublin because he didn't like my coat...
posted by distorte at 5:26 AM on March 6, 2013


for Americans this isn't racism.

That's funny comment timing, I was going to mention the Irish to say that although today national origin has given way to ethnicity as the prime motivator/determinant in American racism, it hasn't always been that way.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:27 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I once was literally yelled at by a Parisian in Paris because I was speaking English in a cafe. So, there's that.

Okay, I tried speaking French in Montreal, but any time I tried everyone would automatically answer me in English. I got paranoid they could tell that I didn't know what I was doing and were trying to spare me.

I did finally get to order a cup of tea and ask where the sugar was, and when the entire six-sentence conversation was conducted entirely in French I considered it a personal triumph.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:40 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Come to think of it, I was once literally yelled at by an Dubliner in Dublin because he didn't like my coat...

Sorry about Grandpa.
posted by Miko at 5:55 AM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


I once got screamed at in Calgary for jay-walking. Being from Boston, I had no idea jay walking was even a thing.
posted by bondcliff at 5:58 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I once shot a man in Reno (just to watch him die for uptalking)
posted by found missing at 6:37 AM on March 6, 2013


I onced saw my fellow countrymen shouting in Holland - it filled me with a deep sense of national shame.
posted by Artw at 6:39 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Okay, I tried speaking French in Montreal, but any time I tried everyone would automatically answer me in English. I got paranoid they could tell that I didn't know what I was doing and were trying to spare me.

In Paris, which sometimes lives up to its reputation, deployment of my crappy French always resulted in responses in perfect English, versus pretended incomprehension if you don't make the effort. I'll take their pity.
posted by Artw at 6:45 AM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Jehan: You see how easy it is to make some crappy fake argument to back up your ignorance? I mean, is there anything more to this idea of France as militarily weak than some old episode of The Simpsons? It seems that a lot of US folk seem to base their understanding of France on the sayings of Groundskeeper Willie, and that's a little unsettling.

If your deal is asking people not to be jerks, you'll have more success if you're not a jerk about it.

My understanding of France isn't based on Groundskeeper Willie. My point is that, contrary to what Ersatz wrote:
"Contemporary Franks were pretty warlike and the dig only makes sense to me in the context of the French being popularly considered trash at all things martial after their defeat in WW2. I'd welcome a more plausible explanation."
This "the French military is bad" stereotype has deeper than WWII and it's initial source is found in the surprising defeat of the French Army in the Franco-Prussian war. Before the war, the French military had an excellent reputation. Then they acted with "surprising ineptitude" and were humiliated by the Prussian forces.
posted by Jahaza at 7:10 AM on March 6, 2013


When I was in Montreal, I'd respond to shopkeeper's greetings with a Bon Jour!, and then they'd continue speaking to me in English, so they could obviously tell I wasn't a native speaker. During the week I was there though, I must have picked up something, because the last couple days, after my greeting they'd start speaking French to me. It's a small sample size, but I've determined that them greeting you is their way to figure out whether to speak French or English to you - do Anglophone Canadians say "hello" when greeted by Quebecois?
posted by LionIndex at 7:10 AM on March 6, 2013


I have found that when a non-native English-speaking European tells you that they speak "a little English," it means that they've read Shakespeare but struggled with Joyce. In the US, bilingual means knowing the difference between a burrito and a chimichanga.

And yeah, in Paris a poorly pronounced "bon jour" when entering a shop is usually well received (some greeting is expected, really), though likely to be met with a response in perfect English.
posted by malocchio at 7:14 AM on March 6, 2013 [16 favorites]


During the week I was there though, I must have picked up something, because the last couple days, after my greeting they'd start speaking French to me. It's a small sample size, but I've determined that them greeting you is their way to figure out whether to speak French or English to you

Yes, people say "Bonjour hi" to ask you to tell them which language to speak in. But if you mangle your choice badly enough, they'll switch over anyhow. (Some people won't, but they're not the ones who say bonjour hi.)

In Paris I got mostly normal interactions in French, with the occasional person who liked to pretend not to understand my (clearly anglo) Quebecois accent.
posted by jeather at 7:17 AM on March 6, 2013


Here in bilingual eastern Ontario, our office manager/secretary answers the phone "good morning, legal clinic, bonjour". I've also heard "hello bonjour". Which, yeah, is a statement that she can speak in either language and leaves it to the caller to decide.

(whereas if she's not here I will answer the phone "good morning, legal clinic" because my french is not good enough to have a full convo. If the caller is unilingual french I will likely be able to speak with them and direct their call to the right person, but if they're bilingual they'll know that I would prefer English.)
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:30 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


My favorite men's clothing company is Dutch, so I wish them nothing but the best.
posted by The Whelk at 7:44 AM on March 6, 2013


Comeon, The Whelk, you're going to just leave us hanging without an endorsement?
posted by Jahaza at 8:11 AM on March 6, 2013


Okay, I tried speaking French in Montreal, but any time I tried everyone would automatically answer me in English.

I speak okay-ish Italian with what I think is a passable accent, but more than once in Italy I spoke Italian and got an answer in Spanish. Not English, but Spanish. Which is fine, my Spanish is about as good as my Italian--not great--but it was jarring to juggle three languages.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:20 AM on March 6, 2013


I always love how filled with animosity these threads that ask for courtesy get.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:20 AM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


This "the French military is bad" stereotype has deeper than WWII and it's initial source is found in the surprising defeat of the French Army in the Franco-Prussian war. Before the war, the French military had an excellent reputation. Then they acted with "surprising ineptitude" and were humiliated by the Prussian forces.

You are picking and choosing. They lost in 1870 but drubbed the Austrians in the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859. Their military achievements during the Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars, the last major conflict before that, were nothing but impressive. They won WWI and making a slight out of depending on their allies is unusual. The four empires that were dismantled were the ones that lost there. If the stereotype were really about military achievements, the First Indochina War would come up more often, but that invites comparisons with the Vietnam War.
posted by ersatz at 8:24 AM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I speak okay-ish Italian with what I think is a passable accent, but more than once in Italy I spoke Italian and got an answer in Spanish. Not English, but Spanish. Which is fine, my Spanish is about as good as my Italian--not great--but it was jarring to juggle three languages.

I kept getting asked questions in Italian when visiting London. No idea why.

Although once in Budapest I got to witness a Russian couple ordering dinner at a traditional Hungarian place using English as a lingua Franca with the waiter. That was amusing.

Oh and endorsement.
posted by The Whelk at 8:28 AM on March 6, 2013


Bernard B Fall, "Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina."

One by one, as the last commandos ran out of ammunition, as the last still operating radio sets fell silent, the remnants of the G.C.M.A. died in the hills of North Viet-Nam. There was no "U-2" affair, no fuss: France did not claim the men, and the Communists were content to settle the matter by themselves. French officers recalled with a shudder the last radio message picked up from somewhere in North Viet-Nam nearly two years after the fighting had officially stopped. The voice was a French voice and the message was addressed to the French. It said: "You sons-of-bitches, help us! Help us! Parachute us at least some ammunition, so that we can die fighting instead of being slaughtered like animals!"
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:36 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think the French stereotype of poor military strength has grounds in reality, I think it's more due to the commonly held opinion that French spoken by a male sounds effeminate and/or whiny to many an untrained (and perhaps ignorant) American ear, same as French spoken by a female is sultry, and "nobility" is somehow coupled with a British accent.

Blame Hollywood, and by that, I don't mean the Jews, just the industry.
I kid

There's a comedian who has a good routine about getting mugged by a French-speaking "homie" and not being able to take him seriously during the robbery.
posted by Debaser626 at 8:42 AM on March 6, 2013


You are picking and choosing. They lost in 1870 but drubbed the Austrians in the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859. Their military achievements during the Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars, the last major conflict before that, were nothing but impressive.

Nonsense. I specifically said that "Before the [Franco-Prussian] war, the French military had an excellent reputation." You're missing the point, which is that the Franco-Prussian war was a turning point and the series of catastrophes that followed is what made their reputation lousy. In WWI, more than four percent of the French population was killed. That's disaster even if it's "victory."
posted by Jahaza at 8:47 AM on March 6, 2013


Sounds like someone needs a rewatch of La Haine.
posted by Artw at 8:48 AM on March 6, 2013


I think it's more due to the commonly held opinion that French spoken by a male sounds effeminate and/or whiny to many an untrained (and perhaps ignorant) American ear, same as French spoken by a female is sultry, and "nobility" is somehow coupled with a British accent.

Not really, no. The American pop-culture stereotype of the French is much like the rest of the world's stereotype of Americans: Arrogance. But the American idea of French arrogance comes with a side of snooty pretentiousness.

(The American stereotype of the English is basically just that side dish.)

And, well, the tendency to rank nationalities based on military might (regardless of the accuracy of those rankings) says a lot more about the people with such a tendency than anything else. And we all know whose tendency that is, don't we?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:04 AM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd suggest that coming into Vietnam after France left didn't do much to elevate Americans' already diminished Post-WWII regard for France's military prowess. Then there was their rocky relationship with NATO, and insistence on maintaining their own nuclear force, which from what little I've read about it seems to have involved the strategy of nuking West Germany after it was invaded. And France occasionally transferred defense technology to regimes outside the US's Cold War sphere of influence....like Libya...So....yeah. There was kind of an ongoing backdrop of diminished respect and rocky relations that might have helped the cliche of French military inferiority take root.

It's also kind of interesting that certain parts of the French military don't have that reputation. Like the Foreign Legion. Or the DGSE, which is under their MoD.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:14 AM on March 6, 2013


In WWI, more than four percent of the French population was killed. That's disaster even if it's "victory."

That's roughly par, though. Shift some of the fighting from France to Germany and the picture would probably be different.
posted by hoyland at 9:23 AM on March 6, 2013


The point being that the First World War was pretty much a disaster for everyone involved, except possibly the US, which doesn't seem all that traumatised by it. (To the point that most of my AP US History class in high school only really knew there was a First World War because there was a Second World War.)
posted by hoyland at 9:24 AM on March 6, 2013


People (even in France) tend to forget that the bill for the Indochina War was, in the end, largely footed by the US ($785 million in 1953-54). By 1951, it became a containment war fought by proxy using French troops. The final tactical decision of not bombing Dien Bien Phu was actually taken by the Americans.

But that's beside the point. Questions such as "Why was the French military steamrolled by the Germans in May 1940?" and "WTF were French troops doing in the Dien Bien Phu rice bowl?" are valid issues for real and armchair historians to ponder, but drive-by snark about wimpy French soldiers is just LOLFRENCH, an irrelevant non-historical talking point that only became prominent due to the actions of GOP operatives.
posted by elgilito at 9:41 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Sometimes life like an old taste you piss back into the throat.
posted by aught at 9:47 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I used to make fun of the Dutch all the time,

There are only two things I hate: intolerance of other cultures, and the Dutch.

(As for New Mexicans - I dated one in college and when they leave their native environment... OK, I GET THAT YOU MISS GREEN CHILE JUST SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY.)

(Also also Boston, I saw a trailer for a new VH1 show that seems to exist only to hear people say the word "pahty" [note: not pronounced like "potty" which would be "pawty"] in all seriousness as many times as possible. It is my fervent hope that my son does not develop the regional accent in the shadow of Hahvid Yahd. And yes, Hahvid is the correct Bostonian pronounciation. Hahvahd is for fakers.)
posted by sonika at 9:55 AM on March 6, 2013


Hahvid is the correct Bostonian pronounciation.

Yeah, at least John Ratzenbeger got that pronunciation right when playing Cliff Clavin on Cheers.
posted by ericb at 10:12 AM on March 6, 2013


It is my fervent hope that my son does not develop the regional accent in the shadow of Hahvid Yahd.

An accent mahks you as lowah-class, yaknow.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:13 AM on March 6, 2013


You're missing the point, which is that the Franco-Prussian war was a turning point and the series of catastrophes that followed is what made their reputation lousy. In WWI, more than four percent of the French population was killed. That's disaster even if it's "victory."

It comes with the territory (of France hosting a World War). Austria-Hungary had a lower percentage of population killed than Germany in WWI and USSR one of the highest in WWII i.e. it's not a very informative metric about reputation. "A series of catastrophes" would require more data points I'm afraid; memail me if you'd like to discuss it further. Regardless of our disagreement, you see how this discussion differs from a LOLFRENCH drive-by comment.
posted by ersatz at 10:22 AM on March 6, 2013


The point being that the First World War was pretty much a disaster for everyone involved, except possibly the US, which doesn't seem all that traumatised by it. (To the point that most of my AP US History class in high school only really knew there was a First World War because there was a Second World War.)

I dunno. I see some patterns. Maybe we don't feel it now--the curricula in US history classes are a good example of how this stuff works--anyhow, I think folks back then were somewhat concerned:

An estimated 675,000 Americans died of influenza during the pandemic, ten times as many as in the world war http://virus.stanford.edu/uda/

You could try to imagine how you might have felt if you went down to the docks in New York to welcome your daddy home--you'd read his letters detailing three years of trench war--and when his ship came in almost all the returning soldiers on it, including him, were dead. Not to mention what the surviving doughboys brought home with them in terms of heartbreak and confusion when they came back from Over There. The Gold Star family members are pretty much gone now: the remains are just pictures in a shoebox that grand- and great grand- and greatgreatgrand-kids look at with detachment, even indifference.

I won't really die until all those who knew me are gone. After that it's just words, markers in cemetary plots, details smothered by generalities, heavily editorialized and overly selectified textbook references that bury individuals under an avalanche of isms, and the actual people who carried the water are subsumed by a string of dates telling when the generals died. I had a mlitary class one time (when I was going to 98j school), about receivers and transmitters and such. The instructor showed us a smallish suitcase that had been carried by a British agent when she parachuted into France during WWII. It contained a neat radio that was powered by a hand crank. She jumped in at night, and then made contact with people from the Free French underground, lived with them for a few weeks until the big dust up at Normandy. In the meantime she participated in various harrowing adventures with her new-found friends. Some of her comrades in arms were captured: French men and women, shot in the head after being tortured, and all that. She eventually was repatriated and debriefed and after the war she did what ever it is that people do after wars are over. Our instructor didn't give us her name.

I'm pretty sure I wasn't traumatized by WWII. When I was a kid I used to play war. Sometimes I was a German, but in those days I didn't know about Nazis, if you see what I mean.

The stuff about the French: we always make fun of them. We've been pissed off at them ever since DeGaulle gave us such a hard time about all that stuff--NATO, Algeria, Indochina, and so on. It's almost a national pastime even nowadays, right up there with fucking with Canadians. No, it's more fun than fucking with Canadians. I saw it turn nasty, though, during the first Iraq dustup, and then during B43's little adventure the nastiness took dangerous political overtones. The French beame not only unwashed, but cowardly as well. They might as well have been Dixie Chicks.

Fine. That's the long way around to saying that in a few more years nobody will be traumatized by WWII either. We will be in the dark about how all that stuff in the Middle East is shaking out, and why. Mien Kampf will equate to Seven Pillars of Wisdom in terms of interest hooks to the casual browser of history.

I still like to mess with them--the French--because it's so much fun, and easy, to make fun of their accent. I don't make fun of Mexicans on account of my relatives. You have to draw the line somewhere.
posted by mule98J at 10:36 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


If your deal is asking people not to be jerks, you'll have more success if you're not a jerk about it.

This is good advice generally. Not weighing in on whether it was an applicable rejoinder when used above.

I am okay with people making fun of Vermonters because I am so smug in my Vermontliness. I think it's part of the reason people have a hard time seeing the anti-French comments as as obnoxious as they are. Because secretly or not so secretly we all admire their cheese and cafes and countryside, so what's a little fun poked at their mustaches or making the odd Inspector Clouseau joke. It's hard to draw lines, for some people.

This whole thread makes me want to go make a post about Nickelback.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:37 AM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Can this thread go back to being about Duck Duck Goose now?
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:37 AM on March 6, 2013


I wouldn't even have known those are known stereotypes. No one tells me anything, ever.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:37 AM on March 6, 2013


Most Montreal shop keepers will bend over backwards to help you communicate in French if you are trying. They get a lot of 'hey I bet I still remember my French from school' tourists from the RoC and it's just part of every day life.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:40 AM on March 6, 2013


I've always thought that France's essential military problem from 1871 to 1945 was that it had the bad fortune to be located next to a united Germany. Sure, there were plenty of mistakes made during particular wars, but the basic problem was large-scale and strategic. France didn't have the population, industry, or military strength of its neighbor. That's why it sometimes lost and why it had to have allies to win.

The jokes about the French are stale and uninformed. I don't feel that bad about their prevalence, however, because (a) this isn't a case of kicking someone while they are down and (b) the French seem plenty comfortable making fun of my country, the US.
posted by Area Man at 10:42 AM on March 6, 2013


Can this thread go back to being about Duck Duck Goose now?

No, never. It can only go back to being about Duck, Duck, Grey Duck.
posted by Area Man at 10:43 AM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


jessamyn: This whole thread makes me want to go make a post about Nickelback.

No, please.

When I lived in Masss I learned to like coffee regulars and pahhk my cah. I was married in Vermont, though. We rode up there (from Fitchburg) for the ceremony because my fiancee's friend lived there. I'd just bought a motorcycle. Oh, the absolute and entrancing beauty of Vermont in the autumn, gliding through the forested two-lane road on a good bike--communing with the physics of traction in a fundamental way--with my honey sitting on the stepseat behind me, and her arms around me, whispering sweet nothings in my ear. I think it was sweet nothings. She may have been screaming for me to slow down--it was hard to hear on account of the helmet, you see.

Lordy, but it was worth the ticket I got.
posted by mule98J at 10:52 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, the absolute and entrancing beauty of Vermont in the autumn, gliding through the forested two-lane road on a good bike

Subaru makes bikes?
posted by bondcliff at 11:13 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This whole thread makes me want to go make a post about Nickelback

*Eats brie while waiting for the awesomeness*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:45 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


In France, children play Canard, Canard, Grey Goose!
posted by Kabanos at 12:45 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


jessamyn: " This whole thread makes me want to go make a post about Nickelback."

I've never really understood the appeal of the lead singer's voice (it always sounds like he's straining unnaturally,) but this video was pretty neat. You can still get the full effect, watching without the sound on.
posted by zarq at 1:05 PM on March 6, 2013


I thought it was Duck, Duck Foie gras.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:06 PM on March 6, 2013


I would like to offer up Boston, a city of people in complete and blissful denial that no one outside of New England gives half a shit about their town.

‘It’s Fun Watching Them Hustle And Bustle Around Like They Live In A Major Metropolis,’ Nation Says
posted by bondcliff at 1:45 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


...communing with the physics of traction in a fundamental way...

I read that book! Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
posted by ericb at 1:48 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't worry, Harvard students never leave Harvard Square, so your child will never be exposed to a real Boston accent.
posted by maryr at 1:54 PM on March 6, 2013


That's not true! Sometimes they go to the IKEA in Stoughton.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:37 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm always surprised at how to heart I take the FrenchCanadian jibes. I haven't lived there in a long long time and most of my friends were Anglos...

That said, 'clever' quips about culture 'x's dominant characteristic (can't cook/immoderately well organized/speak with their hands/eat so much cheese/all crooks/the best carpenters/the worst house painters/often drunk/really relaxed/very fucking tense/thieves, the lot/good drivers/best butts/horrible music/surprisingly tall/loud... I know, I shouldn't just pick on the Danes (! The Danes!) but its what sprang to mind) are never as funny as we might think.

Also, I speak French like a Québécois trying to hide his accent - I've gotten really good at this - but my grammar gives me away every fucking time: and then I feel like a talking dog at a cocktail party.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:00 PM on March 6, 2013

From Bklyn: "I know, I shouldn't just pick on the Danes (! The Danes!) but its what sprang to mind)"
Oi! >:(
posted by brokkr at 3:21 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's not true! Sometimes they go to the IKEA in Stoughton.

Well, in that case they'll only hear the South Coast accent. Maybe.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:04 PM on March 6, 2013


That said, 'clever' quips about culture 'x's dominant characteristic (can't cook/immoderately well organized/speak with their hands/eat so much cheese/all crooks/the best carpenters/the worst house painters/often drunk/really relaxed/very fucking tense/thieves, the lot/good drivers/best butts/horrible music/surprisingly tall/loud... I know, I shouldn't just pick on the Danes (! The Danes!) but its what sprang to mind) are never as funny as we might think.

Well if you had to try and make yourself heard over a bunch of other Danes, you'd be loud too! >:(
posted by Dysk at 4:13 PM on March 6, 2013


Don't worry, Harvard students never leave Harvard Square, so your child will never be exposed to a real Boston accent.

I think you misunderstand. We live here. Oh, he's exposed alright. All sorts of exposed. I can only hope that our household use of the letter "r" proves to be a good influence.
posted by sonika at 4:25 PM on March 6, 2013


but can you keep him from referring to dressers as bureaus and shopping carts as carriages

I think not
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:33 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh god, carriages. This always makes me imagine one with a frumpled-looking princess inside being pulled by horses.
posted by NoraReed at 4:43 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speaking of carriages, our city has the one Lafayette rode in on back in the day. We were the first of quite a few towns to get named after him.

We also have a little miniature Eiffel tower at a small shopping center right down the street from where I work. Growing up here it never seemed odd at all. But now that I think about it, this is one of the least frenchy places one could be here in NC. Go figure.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:45 PM on March 6, 2013


No, "Duck, duck, goose" is the weirdo one. A gray duck is just cute, but an agry goose can break your arm.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:14 PM on March 6, 2013


I just had a conversation with another historian friend about what a ridiculous boner the US had for Lafayette in his lifetime. I mean, yeah, he was young and dashing and daring and probably a bit of a looker, but the degree of adulation definitely crossed over into obsession.
posted by Miko at 8:17 PM on March 6, 2013


And I actually heard a small, fat Frenchman -- in a beret, no less -- mutter "Zut alors..." distractedly once upon a time in France. I looked around for Ala(i)n Funt and a camera crew.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:19 PM on March 6, 2013


Hm. Wish someone had buzzed me, I missed this whole thing.

I think the second one is a " French people are so lazy and always striking grar grar how dare they have a maximum work week grar" thing.
posted by The Whelk at 1:02 PM on March 5 [+] [!]


Nope. I have no idea how you got that, or why you would want to; it's just about perfectly unrelated to anything I actually said. There was no subtext to speak of; and no real intent to stereotype come to that. The several French people I've spoken with in the technology area I'm in have all pretty much said they work outside of France because -- to paraphrase mightily -- the entrepreneurial or innovative spirit was not, in their experience, exactly alive and well there. That it was too hard to get anything going there on a number of levels both culturally and institutionally. That's it. (I've since read a few articles and heard a radio magazine story somewhere about why French people start businesses in England rather than France, but that's not what I based it on.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:30 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


(And there's a certain irony here -- the reason I was curious enough to ask more than one of them about this is because I have a positive view of France. I found it genuinely hard to understand why someone would choose to work in a merciless place like the U.S. instead. But presumably like many Europeans who haven't given up their citizenship, they can go home if they find themselves without, for example, healthcare. And yes, I know more than one European who has said as much.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:48 PM on March 6, 2013


Dressers and bureaus are like curtains and drapes. Not quite the same thing. (Bureaus have mirrors, dressers don't. Duh.)

I'm totally picturing General Lafayette in a shopping cart now, though. Take THAT, French stereotypes.
posted by maryr at 9:58 PM on March 6, 2013


Bureaus have mirrors, dressers don't.

Hmm. My family always referred to chests of drawers as bureaus, whether or not they had mirrors.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:05 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


My use of the terms "duck duck grey duck," "hot dish," and "parking ramp" have all caused in-person flameouts by the locals here in California. Also if you laugh at how the words "bagel" and "vaguely" come out of my mouth I might accidentally knee you in the groin.

I will defend "parking ramp" as a better descriptor for the large structures you find in city centers. Parking garages have large doors and are attached to your single unit house.
posted by MillMan at 11:14 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


LEAVE BRITTANY ALONE!!

I'll see myself out
posted by jake at 12:16 AM on March 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


LEAVE BRITTANY ALONE!!

No Danish for you!
posted by From Bklyn at 12:35 AM on March 7, 2013


can we at least agree to mock the French Canadians?

No, for two reasons:
- they are cool as fuck.
- they will cut you.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:20 AM on March 7, 2013


The several French people I've spoken with in the technology area I'm in have all pretty much said they work outside of France because the entrepreneurial or innovative spirit was not, in their experience, exactly alive and well there.

The problem here is that expats are a self-selected population. This does not mean that their experience is not true, or that there are no systemic problems with French entrepreneurship (there are), just that by definition they are biased against the culture they're leaving behind or that they must justify their choice. I knew a guy who had been raised in a family where making money was the primary goal. Despising France's entrepreneurial culture as well its safety net and worker protection laws was a given: since he was a teen he was longing for the US mythos of free-ranging self-made billionaires (he left for the US right in time for dotcom bubble collapse, uh-oh).
Every expat has reasons to leave. There are French expats (of Caribbean/North African origin) who leave because they've experienced too much racism (which is partly true) and then there are French expats who leave because they believe that immigrants are taking over.
posted by elgilito at 2:15 AM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


...and then some expats leave because the king is like, "I'll give you, like, twenty acres and a wife if you'll go live in New France and help settle the place." "New France? Isnt it cold as hell there like all year long?" "The air is fresh and invigorating. So, unless you maybe have something better lined up?" "No, you know what, this might just be the ticket." "That's right, for a fine... Person such as yourself. With all your own teeth even. Boat leaves St.Malo in a month." "Marveilleux!" "Yes, you keep telling yourself that."
posted by From Bklyn at 2:42 AM on March 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Come on people. The Welsh. It has to be the Welsh. Always the Welsh.
posted by Decani at 3:36 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


It has to be the Welsh. Always the Welsh

Y?
posted by uncleozzy at 4:32 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


(.[..] I found it genuinely hard to understand why someone would choose to work in a merciless place like the U.S. instead. But presumably like many Europeans who haven't given up their citizenship, they can go home if they find themselves without, for example, healthcare. And yes, I know more than one European who has said as much.)

It's not "presumably", it's "definitely". French healthcare covers its citizens' healthcare costs everywhere, and while it's not to 100%, it's something along the lines of 75-90%. I get really irked by the super-slick-business types I occasionally run across and who pretty much echo US right-wing talking points in telling me how anti-American and anti-entrepreneurial and pessimistic and blah blah blah I am when I mention American friends who are facing crazy healthcare expenses the sort of which you only find in the US. The playing field is pretty well levelled when I patiently let them finish and ask, "So, ever been to hospital in the States?" yes, I phrase it like Englishpeople now, 15+ years will do that to you

One of three replies:
- Silence. Blusters off with Important Things To Do... elsewhere.
- "I GET MY HEALTH CARE IN FRANCE with the MONEY I EARNED in the YEW-ESS-AY that I NEVER would have been able to earn in FRANCE!!!" yuh-huh yup sure
- "........no........."

Back on subject. I wrote a thing about why I dislike "cowardly surrender monkey French" when it refers to WWII a while back; can't bring myself to do it more than once. Suffice it to say, there was a strong resistance here, and for every personal anecdote about rude Parisian waiters (who are paid an actual livable minimum wage and get the same level of healthcare as everyone else and who only have to work 40 hour weeks max and so can probably afford to be ruder than, say, American waitstaff, which is not to defend their rudeness, but is to say for all the American FREE SPEECH speechifying, it would come across as more consistent if the exercise of free speech, negative forms included, were in fact recognized as such in other countries, especially in cases where it is effectively blocked by "free market forces" in the States, and also rather than going "harhar socializum they can't say Nazi" for instance, okay that was a long parenthetical), there are also personal anecdotes of grandparents who kept their involvement in the French Resistance secret for decades. So their kids would have a better world, and wouldn't need to carry their own burdens.

Also and in other words, the stereotypes aren't just offensive with regard to the French; they're offensive with regard to the very real, concrete things that could be done to improve life for everyone in the States... oh but, that would be like those wussy French. It's a crying shame. If you don't want to stop using stereotypes because of the people they stereotype, fine; maybe then, think of what the use of those stereotypes effectively incites people to push aside as far as potential solutions go.
posted by fraula at 5:40 AM on March 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


Come on people. The Welsh. It has to be the Welsh. Always the Welsh.
posted by Decani

Stumbling amongst the immensities are we now.
posted by clavdivs at 6:27 AM on March 7, 2013


Careful now.
posted by Artw at 6:32 AM on March 7, 2013


Dressers and bureaus are like curtains and drapes. Not quite the same thing. (Bureaus have mirrors, dressers don't. Duh.)

No way. I grew up with a bureau, which was a tall chest of drawers with a flat top. No mirror. A dresser was a low chest of drawers. A mirror had nothing to do with it. I'm pretty sure that's standard thinking around these parts.
posted by bondcliff at 7:43 AM on March 7, 2013


elgilito: and then there are [...] expats who leave because they believe that immigrants are taking over.

God, what an exquisitely succinct example of cognitive dissonance. It's almost beautiful.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:57 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think of bureaus (bureaux?) as being more elaborate than dressers. More than one column of drawers, a mirror, etc. I grew up with a bureau in my house, at least that's what my mother called it, low and wide with three columns of drawers and a mirror on top. The simple, single column of drawers that we have in our house now is a dresser.

As an aside, I met someone once who was talking about a "chester" and I was like "a what?" And she says, "you know, a chester drawer"... but she was from the South.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:22 AM on March 7, 2013


Reminds me of the old joke about an atomic bomb going off in Cardiff and causing 7 pounds worth of damage.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:59 AM on March 7, 2013


The joke is, "A bomb went off in Scunthorpe* yesterday, causing £1 million worth of improvements."

*Or whatever town you mislike the most.
posted by Jehan at 10:38 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do not use for Coventry.
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on March 7, 2013


Or for Manchester, where it may be a little too near to the truth, much as I love that town.
posted by Jehan at 10:47 AM on March 7, 2013


My friend actually made that comment. It was pretty funny.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:33 AM on March 7, 2013


Dressers and bureaus are like curtains and drapes. Not quite the same thing. (Bureaus have mirrors, dressers don't. Duh.)

There's no semantic difference between dressers, bureaus, and chests of drawers. They're all case furniture and they can have varying features (like mirrors, doors, and handles) and dimensions (like "highboys").

As an aside, I met someone once who was talking about a "chester" and I was like "a what?" And she says, "you know, a chester drawer"... but she was from the South.

And here in New England, you often see a "chest of draws" or a "bureau with 4 draws" posted on Craigslist. A lot of people genuinely think the word is "draw."
posted by Miko at 11:35 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Quick explanation: the first comment says that having a French bodyguard equals asking for trouble i.e. his lack of prowess is implicitly attributed to his nationality. Contemporary Franks were pretty warlike and the dig only makes sense to me in the context of the French being popularly considered trash at all things martial after their defeat in WW2. I'd welcome a more plausible explanation.

Lack of prowess? We're talking about Lancelot. Pretty sure he's supposed to be the greatest Knight of the Round Table. He's the French bodyguard who seduces the King's wife. What other Frenchmen are there in there?

This of course, sets aside the fact that in the 400s there was no France.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:37 AM on March 7, 2013


Seriously, this was projection. Didn't Erzatz actually read Arthurian legend or see Excalibur? I mean, first, Lancelot is the most bad-assed knight ever. And he seduces the Queen. And he then kicks ass at the end, fighting alongside the king. The legend is the exact opposite of what you think my buddys' point was. And it was said at exactly the point where Lancelot first lays eyes on Guinevere.

It has exactly nothing to do with a lack of prowess. It has nothing to do with the Second World War.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:48 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


And he seduces the Queen.

French.
posted by Artw at 12:06 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lack of prowess? We're talking about Lancelot. Pretty sure he's supposed to be the greatest Knight of the Round Table. He's the French bodyguard who seduces the King's wife.

Yes! I knew that's what you meant, and totally thought posting it, but I haven't seen Excalibur so I wasn't sure if there was actually a crappy-French-bodyguard-who-was-not-Lancelot in the movie. I should totally trust my instincts more.
posted by nooneyouknow at 12:09 PM on March 7, 2013


I would like to offer up Boston, a city of people in complete and blissful denial that no one outside of New England gives half a shit about their town.

Pretty Cute Watching Boston Residents Play Daily Game of Big City
posted by en forme de poire at 4:16 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


C'est au-dessus, en forme de poire!
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:18 PM on March 7, 2013


câlisse de tabarnak
posted by en forme de poire at 4:19 PM on March 7, 2013


(hope that doesn't get me flaggé)
posted by en forme de poire at 4:25 PM on March 7, 2013


Ainsi s'unirent le fil et son déraillement!
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:29 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seriously, this was projection. Didn't Erzatz actually read Arthurian legend or see Excalibur? I mean, first, Lancelot is the most bad-assed knight ever. And he seduces the Queen. And he then kicks ass at the end, fighting alongside the king. The legend is the exact opposite of what you think my buddys' point was. And it was said at exactly the point where Lancelot first lays eyes on Guinevere.

I'm glad to agree I misread that one (although the flirty French is another stereotype). I thought he was referring to Lancelot's failure to protect Arthur and Guinevere.

Malory makes a point of taking Lancelot down a peg when he's questing for the grail and Percival, Bors and Galahad progress further than him.
posted by ersatz at 4:37 PM on March 7, 2013


I thought he was referring to Lancelot's failure to protect Arthur and Guinevere.

Well, I think he could have--it wasn't for lack of puissance!

Reminds me of a great thing I saw. It was Gen Con XVI in Wisconsin. I was in the student lounge and everyone was watching Excalibur. I had not seen it before. The scene where Arthur hands Uryens Excalibur to knight him came up. The entire place exploded.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:07 PM on March 7, 2013


As an aside, I met someone once who was talking about a "chester" and I was like "a what?" And she says, "you know, a chester drawer"... but she was from the South.

I definitely say "chester drawer" even though I know better. I am also from the South. My wife (not from the South) liked it and we've taken to calling the various...bureaus in the house "chesters." Of course, we're pretty deep in cloyingly cute couple speak, so please don't be like us.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:31 PM on March 7, 2013


Berets, baguettes and bouillabaisse

Hey, I like alliteration as much as the next guy, but, really, there's far too much of it here lately, and I really think we need to cut back on it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:47 AM on March 8, 2013


Bastard. Leave it b.
posted by maryr at 11:37 AM on March 8, 2013


Always avoid awful aliilteration
posted by The Whelk at 11:43 AM on March 8, 2013


Don't have Shintos shattering sheetglass in the shithouse.
posted by shothotbot at 1:41 PM on March 8, 2013


The New French Entrepreneur: The Female Millenial -- "In a country that's beseiged by economic woes and a well-known lack of infrastructure both politically and culturally to nurture a start-up culture, oddly, a feisty start up culture thrives."
posted by ericb at 2:33 PM on March 8, 2013


Ah, but if we discourage poking fun of the French, we'll also have to discourage poking fun of men, women, children, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, scientists, stoners, loners, goth, latinos, caucasians, asians, russians, republicans, democrats, tea party members, libertarians, freshmen, 2 guys that walked into a bar, rabbis, priests, dogs, cats, banjo players, accordion players, bagpipe players, hackers, hacker-wanna-bees, the shy, virgins, rednecks, actors, doctors, redheads, drunks, daddies, mommas, farters, old folks, golfers, blondes, californians, new yorkers, midwesterners, seattleites, cows, pop-art, punks, mobile home owners, koreans, germans, jocks, and... well you get the idea.


Anyone who is offended by a joke told in good faith/fun should take a look at what they laugh at. Look at which comedian you laugh at, what sit-coms you enjoy. You'll find that nearly all of them cause someone somewhere to wish that people could be a bit more thoughtful.
posted by 2manyusernames at 4:07 PM on March 8, 2013


♫ some of those things are not like the others ♪
posted by en forme de poire at 4:37 PM on March 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a slippery slope all right and before you know it we'll all have to wear gray Tyvek jumpers, speak by pointing to internationally understood symbols on a tablet, and subsist on a kind of nutrient-infused gel. Mark my words!
posted by Miko at 8:09 PM on March 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


OMG we'll be Swiss!
posted by The Whelk at 8:25 PM on March 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


You'll find that nearly all of them cause someone somewhere to wish that people could be a bit more thoughtful.

MeFi's own Myq Kaplan mostly makes fun of thoughtless people. And numbers.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:29 PM on March 8, 2013


OMG we'll be Swiss!

I think we're cheesy enough as it is.
posted by maryr at 6:46 PM on March 9, 2013


OMG we'll be Swiss!

I think we're cheesy enough as it is.


And, so many of our arguments are full of holes.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:05 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


OMG we'll be Swiss!

I think we're cheesy enough as it is.

And, so many of our arguments are full of holes.


Edelweiss we'd have greeted you in the morning
posted by infini at 10:08 PM on March 9, 2013


The hills are aliiiiive,
with the sound of bad puns...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:49 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Keep it down, Julie, the hills have eyes.
posted by Wolof at 11:10 PM on March 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


[gif]
posted by infini at 12:50 AM on March 10, 2013


I will very much enjoy my tiny knife.
posted by Miko at 9:02 AM on March 10, 2013


Possibly on a plane!
posted by The Whelk at 9:07 AM on March 10, 2013


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