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Tour de France
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello to all,
I don't think anybody has to apologize for mentioning something political. As every first year student of Political Sciences knows, everything is political, food included. Especially food in the broader sense. Not buying french food and wines because of france's position, is food related, and politically related. We are a normal bunch of people who react to the world around us, and yet we succeed remaining on a very low key regarding political issus , and so it should be on this forum ( though views transpire somehow) . But ignoring London completely, or the Tour de France and its implications or having to appologize for mentioning Lance Amstrong or any other actuality subject, is, in my opinion, "falsely politically correct".

No more war, no more terror , no more understanding for terrorists, no more bombs in London, Tel Aviv, Bagdad or anywhere in the world. More food for the really poor , more compassion for the real victims!
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only said "The French don't like Americans much". Surely, we've all heard this many times. Nothing new. Of course, this is generalizing and most referring to the undereducated groups. But, we've all also heard many times "Americans don't like the French." France bashing was all the rage two years ago in the beginning of the war in Iraq.

I think everyone also knows I'm not referring to C&Z members when I make these statements. So, I think we don't have to walk around on eggshells worrying about offending the views of others. At least here, since we're pretty much a well-educated group. From what I read.

Now, when Armstrong wins (likely) on Sunday, will the French be happy?
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2005 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course it's Lance Amstrong!
Of course the French are not happy, so what? They'll overcome.
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Lakritz



Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 120
Location: Birmingham, UK (via Essen, Germany)

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm oscillating over this topic -- well no, not the tour de France (about which I don't know a thing, as far as this house is concerned, there was the cricket today, and oh dear England lost to Australia again..., and Hockenheim and the astounding news that Schumacher hasn't won it -- thank God!) -- no, the 'shall we be political or not?'.

a) No, this is a food related site.

b) Yes, if it happens to develop, then we really ought to pursue it -- the main reason being that we clearly are all well educated and therefore this is actually a very good forum to discuss political issues. Not least of all, because it seems to me that a lot of us are precisely of the generation whose motto used to be 'the personal is political'. Or as Simona said, everything is politiocal at the end of the day, even our food issues.

I don't know about the French and their dislike of the Americans. I'm German and I've grown up with anti-American feelings -- 'Amis go home' being probably the most frequently found graffitti all over Germany. Having lived in Britain now for almost equally as long, I can only say that despite all the 'special relationship' business, Americans are not loved over here either. And it's not just the uneducated, no, it's far more likely that you'll find the educated going on about the staggering ignorance of the Americans.
Having said that, the handful of Americans that I've actually met have been both, educated and politically aware -- but they certainly do not represent the majority. In many ways, I have never felt more positive about Americans than reading posts on here, which reminds me that '68/'69 didn't just happen in a vacuum over in old Europe, that so many progressive thoughts originated in the US. And that one of the best thinkers/analysts on current affairs is American.
So, yes, I think we should discuss politics if that is what occurs naturally.
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le_gredin



Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Washington, DC USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 2:09 pm    Post subject: Tour de France Reply with quote

I initially intended not to say anything further in this post, but since it continues I will try to put the matter in perspective at least from my standpoint.

Yes, this list does seem to be about food, sharing AND France (though it is indeed quite international). Thus I cannot imagine any reason for using perjorative words such as "Frogs" to describe French people. Moreover, if we are all "educated" there is even less reason to use such language. When I hear such words used in the US it is almost always from people who are not "educated" in any cosmopolitan sense.

I would hope that this list does not degenerate into some of the others I have seen. Such language is not cute nor does it advance any conceivable goals, ESPECIALLY having an interesting political discourse.

I have traveled all over Europe, lots of Asia and Central America, and I know that in the case of 95+% of the people that I have encountered they feel kindly towards individual US citizens, and this was true even in the pre-1970 Europe (yes, I am that old). But sadly, the outgrowth of modern US foreign policy has been to make the US governmant the pariah of the world. This is really sad because most people in the world do aspire to the "natural rights" ideas that formed the constitutional basis of the US (and which, incidentally, were most espressly articulated in the 18th century by the French).

In the final analysis, one reason I suspect many people in the USA like this site so much is that it allows communication at a personal level, and it defines a community in which we all share a common interest of food and cooking (and find Clotilde's leadership delightful and creative). How someone seeking to participate in this community would in effect throw a cobblestone at an entire nationality of people is beyond me.

Further I will say not (at least on this subject).
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't worry, I used the term Frogs as one of endearment.

It would be obvious if I were trying to condemn or criticize the French or the Yanks.

I don't even know why we call them Frogs or where the term originated. Doubt it had anything to do with cooking. Anyone know?

Related to the French explorers who came to North America through Canada and then down through the Great Lakes and Mississippi eventually founding New Orleans and calling what they found in America Lousiana?
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Lakritz



Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 120
Location: Birmingham, UK (via Essen, Germany)

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear le gredin,

I'm glad you put your view over once again, as I obviously missed your point regarding the use of the (common) pejorative term for the French in Sarape's earlier mail. In fact, I think I missed it because I'm so used to it that it didn't even register as a pejorative any more. I'm impressed that you only ever hear this word being used by lesser educated people in the US, and I wish I could say the same for Britain, but I can't. And while I wouldn't use the term myself (much in the same way that I restrict myself in terms of swearwords), I have clearly become quite immune to its constant use. Of course, the French are not alone in receiving such pejoratives on a daily, casual and - it seems - totally sanctioned (by public opinion) basis. Being German, I certainly notice any such 'bashing' particularly, and I find that it is intrisically understood that you can say anything about the Germans, downright to stuff which would certainly described as racist were it directed at another group.
However, one also has to distinguish between this (often simply a means to cause laughter), the lesser form of a somewhat humourous nickname (certainly how the Brits see it) and the much more subtle form of real racism, which doesn't express itself in words so much (those having been PCed out to a large extent) but in actions - such as against the coloured population, for instance.

In the same way that you report of friendliness on an individual basis towards Americans abroad, I cannot report of anything than friendliness towards individual Germans, and I'm sure that's the same for the French. So, in many ways, it's not as sinister as it looks to start with, and I'm not sure whether any French person would actually feel offended being called by their 'pet name'. I certainly wouldn't feel offended if someone called me a Kraut.

Having said that, I agree with you that in a forum like this, this or any other pejorative should not occur, and you were quite right to focus in on it.

Vive la difference!
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea, my DeAnna relatives often use the term Dago in discussing our heritage. I'm glad you used the name Kraut, since that was another name I was going to use as a common example of a term of endearment.

After all, we only make fun of those we like. Remember when we were kids in school: you only picked on and made fun of the girls you liked?
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

God help me! I will likely be sorry I weighed in on this topic too. But I'm an intensely political animal and greatly distressed that, particularly Bush's, policies have provided authentication to every ugly stereotype of Americans. ...and it's a particularly awkward situation since many of us feel the oppressive onus of his dreadful xenophobia and imperialism here within our relative isolation as well and experience the worst kind of divisive ambivalence on a continuing basis.

That said, I'd be soooo grateful if, as Lakritz suggests and as simona wisely said in an e-mail, we could respectfully discuss these touchy situations and explode some of the myths or expand some horizons on, at least, a personal basis. I just don't think the nature of internet correspondence is suited to it. While, individually in e-mail (and I'd be delighted to discuss or listen to anything in e-mail with people who wish) it's possible to work through effective understandings via continuing dialogue, in a forum such as this, there are sooo many potential readers/interpretations. Meanwhile, we're limited to the capacity of our writing -- which may or may not be up to the task of the great sensitivity,subtlety and nuance required in this case. Not a good risk/benefit ratio, I'm afraid.

What's more, as le_gredin rightly suggests, this is a forum intended for less controversial use by a gracious femme fran├žais whose hospitality we must never abuse!

Being attacked/slandered feels awful. So does feeling misinterpreted. Is it possible to agree that the air needed clearing and that, it's possible, only kind thoughts hoping to express a "chummy" relationship were intended? I, personally, have only had the most positive, expansive and culturally educational experiences here and I'm most grateful for that opportunity!

Warm regards to all!!!
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I LOVE YOU GUYS.

It was out of respect for Clotilde I first brought up the "P" word...it sure developed into the sharing of an interesting and intelligent discussion. ..and that's why we are here.

However last night I had my first decent nights sleep in ages. With the time difference I had to watch Le Tour from midnight - 4AM. Apart from the excitement of the race it was the best travelogue of France I've seen.
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simona



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 696
Location: israel

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back to... food:
The term FROGS used by anglo-saxons to describe the French , is definitely pejorative and is borrowed from... what else but food. The french are called "frogs" because they love to eat frog legs. If possible with garlic and butter and wine sauce, accompanied bya frech crusty baguette to dip in the sauce and a glass of white wine. It's delicious, I love frog legs, I eat them whenever I have the occasion . It's a classic bistro fare, not very popular today, as I don't see it on menus anymore.
I don't know by what "names" do the french call the english, but I doubt it will be related to food...
And bravo to Lance Armstrong. It was his very personal and well deserved triumph.

No more war, no more "names" , more Lance Armstrongs
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

South Australians are known as 'Crow-eaters'.

I don't know why or where the term came from, but SA was a free settlement and all other early Oz settlements were originally for convicts. Those free settlers didn't really like to work hard, and as a result they nearly starved. I wonder if they really did have to resort to eating crows.
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

West Australians are called 'sandgropers'. I've no idea why. And I think Queenslanders are called 'banana benders'.
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Barbara
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clotilde
Site Admin


Joined: 24 Sep 2004
Posts: 443
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear all,
If I may weigh in with my personal feeling here, I would say that I don't have anything against a healthy political discussion around here, provided:
1. everyone writes in a diplomatic and respectful way (as is the case in this particular Tour de France thread, at least in my view but we all have different sensibilities),
2. those topics remain in the "Other things" forum so that people who prefer to remain focused on food/travel won't have to read them if they don't want to.
I think the beauty of the community that has taken shape on these forums is that our common interests go way beyond food. I see so many of you sharing a love of words, books, art, etc. and I would never ever think to say "no book talk around here" so I don't see why political topics should be banned if some of you feel like discussing them.
Am I being too candid/naive? Would love to have your thoughts.
My best,
Clotilde.
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spot on Clothilde! As long as proper rules of decorum and politeness are followed and no one resorts to name calling then there shouldn't be any problems.
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