Monday, October 17, 2005

Asking for Input: This Expatriate Has Found No Evidence of Anti-Americanism in France; Can You Help Her?

The editor of Expatica France has never found any evidence of prejudice or even subjectivity in her adopted country.

What's more, Clair Whitmer has "only once encountered what I'd call blatant of anti-Americanism. And that… doesn't count."

Select French people have been rude to me, but I have never felt their hostility was inspired by my nationality.
Maybe that's because when French people tell Americans like her, say, how terrible 911 was, they refrain from adding what they think in private (and say amongst themselves), in which the opening sentence is quickly followed by vague justifications why it was not such a terrible thing after all.

Either that, or Clair Whitmer feels the same way. After all, America is a different story.

The native of San Francisco (if memory serves me right) has a treasury chest of French-bashing from her clueless American compatriots, who prove in every case to be either clueless retards, ridiculous hypocrites, arrogant law-breakers, censorious bastards, or treacherous warmongers.

On each item, she refers to the (self-serving) one-sided French presentation, and takes it as gospel. For instance, she speaks of "Big-mouth Bolton", but never mentions "big-mouth Villepin".

In a case over child custody between an American and a Frenchwoman, for instance, she evokes "the US father's complete disregard for [the family court's] decision", suggesting the French nation's rassemblement is a glorious occurence of solidarity. This, in a case where higher courts (in both countries, if I am not mistaken) had already awarded custody of la petite Charlotte to the father. Now, the truth is, maybe — probably — there are nuances to the case, but not from what I have seen on French TV — or read in Clair Whitmer's editorials.

She shakes her head at her countrymen because of the poll that showed that "China now has a better image than the US in most of the European nations surveyed" without ever pausing to think what this might be saying, instead, about the Europeans, their media, and their culture.

She is scandalized by one (alleged) occasion of American censorship and outraged by two books — Our Oldest Enemy and The French Betrayal of America — without bothering to inquire in whether the latter might actually have something sensible to say — that is clearly beneath her dignity. At the same time, she finds nothing to say about that the far larger presence of anti-Bush and anti-American books in French bookstore — even best-selling graphic novels — coupled with the fact that, with one or two token exceptions, American books not presenting a damning picture of Bush or the Iraq war are hardly ever translated into French. The publishing of a book like 50 Good Reasons to Hate Americans can obviously be explained away because it is all Dubya's fault and we should try to understand the people writing and reading books like that…

So what to make of all this? You tell me.
Yes. Tell Claire what you make of all this. You are welcome (encouraged, even) to paste copies of your emails in the comments section of this post.
Clair Whitmer
Expatica France

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