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Per WSJ, "Bashing France Is a la Mode." Well...duh!!!!

Discussion in 'Legal' started by emc, Mar 2, 2003.

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  1. emc

    emc Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Central Indiana
    Some very funny commentary...........


    From WSJournal, Feb. 18, 2003.

    Some U.S., U.K. Media Resort
    To France-Bashing to Sell Papers
    Jingoistic Journalism Rears Its Head;
    'Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys'

    Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

    Who says jingoistic journalism is passe? Rupert Murdoch's media empire is leading a charge against the enemy.

    But no, not Iraq. France.

    First, News Corp.'s New York Post labeled France and Germany "the Axis of Weasel." Then, dispatches from Normandy and Paris by Post agent provocateur Steve Dunleavy accused France of cowardice for its opposition to U.S. war plans. "Vive les wimps," he wrote in a page one story. Inside, the paper featured a photo of him with a toy weasel and a copy of the Post's "Weasel" front page.

    The London Sun, another tabloid owned by News Corp., sent a man dressed as a chicken to deliver white feathers of surrender to the French Embassy. The paper also ran a photo of "le poulet du soleil" (the sun chicken), a fake picture of Saddam Hussein standing in front of the Eiffel Tower and 10 French jokes. (The piece de resistance: How did the French advertise surplus World War II rifles? Answer: Never fired, only dropped once.)

    As war becomes increasingly a fait accompli and as the French ramp up their opposition, bashing the home of the Enlightenment has become a cottage industry among some members of the U.S. and British media. Jonah Goldberg, a National Review Online editor-at-large and syndicated columnist, made his career writing editorials poking fun at France, using a phrase popularized by "The Simpsons" TV show -- "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" -- to describe the country's citizens. These days, he complains, "I'm a market leader, and now it's a free-for-all."

    Columnist George Will recently called French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin "oleaginous." New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman suggested replacing France on the United Nations Security Council with India. An editorial in The Wall Street Journal last month asked, "Can the French read?" as it took the nation to task for what it called failure to back a U.N. resolution on Iraq that France had earlier approved.

    Some of the current missives recall the tactics of William Randolph Hearst when he was fighting a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer. Hearst's New York Journal bolstered war feelings against the Spanish after the sinking of the USS Maine in 1898 with such slogans as "Remember the Maine, to hell with Spain!"

    Caught in fierce circulation battles of their own, News Corp.'s tabloids have become France's bete noire. Col Allan, the Post's editor in chief, says his paper has taken its stand because it feels the French are trying to bolster "a position of influence that frankly no longer exists," and because they are being disloyal. "We know how to spell the word ally," says Mr. Allan, an Australian. A News Corp. spokesman, asked about the reports on France in all its outlets, says, "The coverage speaks for itself."

    Criticizing the French is nothing new. Shakespeare's Henry V, bemoaning the ill health of his troops, proclaims, "Those few I have [are] almost no better than so many French."

    These days, attacking the French may be one of the last acceptable forms of political incorrectness. "It would be difficult to say the same things about Mexico," says Gordon Dillow, a columnist with the Orange County Register in California who says he once started a column, "I hate France. I really hate France."

    In addition to News Corp.'s newspapers, its Fox News cable-television channel has developed its own critique. On a show hosted by Neil Cavuto, U.S. Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, said the U.S. should "not allow a second- or third-rate country, a has-been country like France to hold us back." Mr. King said his family canceled a planned trip to France in protest. Another Fox News host, Bill O'Reilly, told a guest, "But I don't understand why the French are so seemingly anti-Semitic."

    Bob Simon, a correspondent for the CBS television network, proposed doing a French-bashing piece several years ago but never found the right characters to tell the story, he says. Now he wishes he had the piece to run. "The only people you can get away being nasty to are the WASPs and the French," says Mr. Simon, whose wife is French.

    Such talk is, of course, not de rigueur in France, but it isn't entirely clear how many people get the joke. Le Monde translated "Axis of Weasel" as "Axe des faux jetons," which put back into English means something like "axis of hypocrites." "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys" also lost some of its rhetorical punch after being translated by Le Monde as "primates capitulards et toujours en quete de fromages." That translates back as "primates who capitulate and who are always in search of cheese."

    "Obviously, French-bashing is a trend that helps sell some newspapers to some people," says a diplomat at the French Embassy in Washington. "We regret it, but we don't overreact."

    -- Emily Nelson contributed to this article.
  2. Sir Galahad

    Sir Galahad member

    Jan 20, 2003
    Camelot (er, Flagstaff, AZ)
    You gotta love that line from the movie "We Were Soldiers"----

    "French army?! What's that?!":D
  3. jmbg29

    jmbg29 member

    Dec 24, 2002
    The Island Of Misfit Toys
    I'm laughing so hard that I'm crying!ROTFLMMFAO :evil: :evil: :evil:
  4. D.W. Drang

    D.W. Drang Member

    Jan 26, 2003
    Somewhere in the Pacific Northwet
    :confused: I must be some trendsetter, I didn't realize it ever was OUT of style to make fun of the French... :evil:
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