Saturday, November 25, 2006

[les étrangers] how the americans and french really see one another

Another gem from the pre-blogging days, this is entitled: The Problem with the French is that they have No Word for Rapprochement. It’s by Gene Weingarten who writes the Washington Post column Under the Beltway on Sunday afternoons and can be forum e-mailed on Tuesdays. Click on the Post link in the left sidebar to find him. Hope this brings a smile to the face:

The French Minister of Agriculture politely awaited my question. We were seated in the study of his ministry in the heart of Paris, overlooking a garden with ancient statuary.

At 43, Herve Gaymard [post coming up tomorrow morning on his political scandal] is already a member of the national cabinet, custodian of nothing less formidable than the French wine industry. Sandy-haired, lithe, urbanely handsome like Paul Henreid in "Casablanca," the minister was in shirtsleeves, slacks and -- as became apparent when he crossed his legs -- loafers sans socks. He looked effortlessly fabulous, of course. He is French.

This interview almost didn't happen. I had requested an audience with the highest French official available, on the subject of the strained relations between our two nations over the war in Iraq. The French Embassy initially seemed reluctant, at which point I observed that it would be a pity if, to secure an official audience with a French dignitary, I had to seek out Jean-Marie Le Pen.

That would be the race-baiting crypto-fascist whose stunning showing in the last presidential elections threatened to create an international embarrassment for the French of a magnitude unseen since a swastika flapped beneath the Arc de Triomphe.

Soon afterward, Monsieur Gaymard was made available.

Continues here


The Tin Drummer said...

Reminds me of the (surely apocryphal) meeting between French philosopher and American politician. They discuss economics, and the Frenchman says: "Yes I know it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"

james higham said...

Nice one.