Brice: How are the 15% [of Americans who live in poverty] getting on? I doubt they spend they're whole lives in poverty.I'll interrupt this translation to remind you that while I, who live in the US, personally know no one who feels this way, I'm even confident that no NP reader will report finding a majority of people among his acquaintances who share such a criminal point of view. But Stanger doesn't stop at that...
Ted Stanger: Indeed, a good portion of the poor stay poor, but I also observe that this isn't a real preoccupation for Americans because, among us, the poor are seen as lazy or, if not, then as people who deserve their lot. Of course, there are charities but, for most Americans, the poor mustn't be allowed to depend too much on the state. This is an opinion shared by almost all Americans.
Josselin: Do you think that September 11 punctuated the end of the American Dream?
Ted Stanger: No, not at all. To the contrary, this event aggravated paranoia and even the conformism that is always present among Americans, judging from the Patriot Act, passed by Congress and which allows all manner of interventions and detentions by the police that wouldn't have been allowed before.
Jean: In France, the United States are very much denounced. Is this the case in other countries?
Ted Stanger: It is certain that France is the world champion in anti-Americanism, with a few exceptions, Iraq in particular. All the polls prove it: in Europe, at any rate, there are no people more mistrusting of George Bush's United States than the French. And according to a CNRS researcher, Philippe Roger, who wrote an excellent book L'Ennemi américain, anti-Americanism is a long-term investment and meets with a general consensus from Jean-Marie Le Pen to Olivier Besancenot [Revolutionary Communist League leader]. I have the impression that many French use America as a mirror the better to situate their own country by using America as a counter-model.
Azerty: Do these polls distinguish George W. Bush from the United States? It strikes me many French like the United States but rather they mistrust Bush...
Ted Stanger: Indeed, the French are somewhat schizophrenic when it comes to the United States. You'd have to be really disabled in the eyes and ears not to notice that US cultural products enjoy great success in France but it is the American model of society that is not appreciated and that is even, in my view, demonized, sometimes excessively [Hunh ?! — Ed.]. Nowadays in France, one defines an anti-American as one who hates the United States more than is necessary.
Greentree: Rejection? For me, since I was born, people have always talked negatively of the United States. They put tariffs on our products, agricultural policy was born because of them...
Ted Stanger: It is true that the image of the United States has severely deteriorated in France, sinking so low that, in a March poll by CSA, only 3% of French say they are "admiring" of the United States. I think even Adolf Hitler would have done better [...]
Delphine: How do most Americans see France?
Ted Stanger: For most Americans, the image of France is still 50 years behind. For them, France is the country of Maurice Chevalier, wine and berets. They would be astonished to learn that France has achieved great technological feats. So this outdated image of France does a lot of harm to the view of France as an allied country.