jeudi 27 septembre 2007

Do you play French billiard?

Remember the climate between our two nations five years ago, during the warm up to the Iraq war? Oh yes, you do…One of the most worn out argument that was then hurled day in, day out at the French who dared oppose the American urge to go to war was that the French may be good at talking but they were absolutely unable to tackle real situations and act decisively when needed. 

The American MSM made sure that the American people would see the French as congenital impotents as opposed to the glorious and virtuous Americans who have the guts to face the fights and act accordingly.

Yet, the French president, Jacques Chirac, tried as much as he could to warn our American friends that they should consider the long term consequences of their choices. To no avail alas, his appeals were deemed only empty talks whose function was to try concealing the innate incapacity of the French to act and fight. Oh well… nearly five years later… But never mind… 

And here may be the place for a little metaphor involving American pool and French billiard, commonly known as Carambole billiard. If it is true that games can be seen as representative of the mind of the peoples who practice them, it may not be exaggerated to see how some of our national traits reflect in our respective ways of playing the billiard.

As every self respected American knows, there are several versions of the American billiard but, basically, the players face a dozen balls of different colours with each its number. The players shoot straight in the balls and bing, bing, bing, fall the balls into the pockets, with no further fuss and the game is over. Not very subtle but quite effective indeed, one doesn’t need to think much about the day after…

The French billiard may not appear so effective but, wait, have a second look… Just three balls, white, yellow and red as seen on the picture, no pockets, no numbers painted on the balls and the counting goes 1+1+1+1+1+1 etc. until the players reach the limit they set beforehand. Here, there’s no shoot, shoot, shoot in the pack but the goal for each of the two players consists only in touching the red ball and the ball of the adversary with his/her own. Doesn’t look that difficult, does it? Ho, excuse-me, just one small detail: before hitting the 2 balls, the player’s own ball must first rebound up to three times on the cushions of the table. Now, here you really have to think on the long term consequences of your choices. Sounds familiar?

How many times have the French been mocked for their propensity at too much thinking and analysis with no conclusion in the end as opposed to the Americans who don’t waste their time on lofty considerations but act and get results? Now, try play the Carambole without thorough analysis and calculation of the reaction chain that each shot will trigger... 

Considering the outcome of the Iraq war they’ve launched while insulting the French who were desperately calling their attention on the risks involved with action undertaken without sufficient foresight, shouldn’t some American politicians get familiar with a little more thinking and analysing? Like learning to play the French Carambole for example? And when I think of it, does the metaphor apply only on the Iraq war?

Here are some fine shots of the French “carom”. Enjoy…

Note: The painting is “Night Café at Arles” by Paul Gauguin, The Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, Russia.

7 commentaires:

Flocon a dit…

La correction en bon anglais a été faite par Jo Ann

Titou a dit…

Bonjour Monsieur Flocon,
Votre commentaire semble très intéressant, toutefois j'aimerais bien qu'il soit traduit en français afin d'avoir une meilleure vue d'ensemble.
Bon courage

Titou a dit…

Bonjour Monsieur Flocon,

Ma requête est restée sans réponse.
Quand pensez-vous mettre en ligne la version française de ce billet qui me paraît très intéressant.
Merci d'avance

Flocon a dit…


Ce blog en est à ses premiers balbutiements, vous voudrez bien comprendre les petites difficultés et légers retards qui peuvent vous surprendre.
L'objet de ce blog n'est pas encore bien défini à dire vrai et il est possible que les sujets abordés le soient en anglais comme en français.
Time will tell...
Merci d'avoir posté le premier commentaire qui sera suivi de bcp d'autres j'espère...

Pour ce qui est de la version française de ce premier billet, sachez qu'il vous est possibole de recourir aux service de Google tanslation pour vous aider.

Essayez-donc ici:

Merci et à bientôt...


LASunsett a dit…


You sly cat, you. Why did you not tell me you had a blog? Is this going to be a long-term thing? If so, I will blogroll you and give you a plug now and then.

Flocon a dit…

Hi La!
What a nice surprise to meet you here.
This blog is three days old, I would say it's in its pre-infancy period...

When I opened my account at Blogger's I thought: "Now the world will know!". Less than one hour later, the world was reduced to some relatives and friendly passers by...

In the first place I wanted to know eventually what it is to run a blog and how it works from the inside. I have no ambition really for the long term, all the more since I have no definitive topic that would be the core of "Shall we talk". The title itself took me 3 seconds to find. Just to tell you how unprofessional the whole thing is...

I read on PYY some days ago that you already had published 1.400 posts! Congrats for that. I'll certainly never reach such an amazing number. But this is conform to the description of my blog: made by a dilettante amateur...

There are quite a good number of things to learn (how to post videos like "another blast from the past" for example etc. (that was a good idea for the week-ends by the way)

Your blogroll is so impressive and now I realize how much time it took you to set it in form. And the dedication that is required when you write 1 or 2 (if not 3) posts a day... I really admire that.

Well, it was very nice of you to post here LA and you're the very first "outsider" to do so. Thanks again.

LASunsett a dit…


//I have no ambition really for the long term, all the more since I have no definitive topic that would be the core of "Shall we talk". The title itself took me 3 seconds to find. Just to tell you how unprofessional the whole thing is...//

Well, the level of ambition is entirely up to you. As for the name, I like it. There is a comedienne here in the US named Joan Rivers (not sure if she's known in France) that used to use the phrase "can we talk", as part of her act. (Usually after she slammed some other celebrity, in a joke)

But make no mistake, the possibilities with a blog, professional or amateur, are endless. I always suggest letting it evolve in the direction that you think your readership would like for it to go. It takes a little time, but as you get better known, traffic will increase.

If you ever have any questions about how to do things like embedding videos, feel free to e-mail me. SF used to have my e-mail address and I would bet he still does. I think he is mad at me, but ask him for it anyway. Tell him I said it's okay with me.

As for the 2-3 posts a day, sometimes I just throw stuff up, when I am busy. You know how we Americans can be, everything we do consumes time, sometimes.

Anyway, congratulations on the blog, I am looking forward to seeing it grow. I know we disagree on a lot of things, but I certainly respect your writing ability and have never felt any hostility towards you, despite how passionate the argument gets.

One thing I have always been able to do that many simply cannot is, I can separate politics from personal feelings for individuals that may disagree with me, politically. There's an old saying here when things are heated: It's just politics.

A lot of people I know and work with, disagree with me and yet, we still respect each other. One of my dearest friends at work is originally from Germany and is a social democrat. We argue all the time, but never transfer our different opinions into how we feel about each other on a personal level. And today, I am very sad for here, because her mother-in-law and father-in-law were just killed in an auto accident.

Well, again I say congrats and do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions on how to navigate blogger. In addition, I will put in a plug for your blog on PYY sometime very soon. Maybe you can jump start things with a few hits from there.