lundi 17 mars 2008

The stowaway

We know the prejudice related to the French among a good part of the American population. Some are positive, some are less so...

Those who indulge in French bashing or simply keep on nurturing the prejudice probably believe they do so out of their own free will and after careful examination of the issue.

They forget there was a stowaway aboard the Mayflower, whose name was: francophobia. Yes, when the pilgrims set sail towards America, they carried with them 5 centuries of enmity and prejudice vis à vis the French. Hadn't the English been invaded in 1066 and at war with France during the 100 year war, 4 centuries later? Remember Joan of Arc?

5 centuries of hostility way before the foundation of the American Republic! That's more than twice the life span of the US as an independent country...

Like it or not, American French-bashers are puppets in the hands of their former masters, the English, who are still pulling the strings beyond the centuries and beyond the waves.

And yet they should know: after nearly 1000 years, the French don't really care about the English, at least they don't pay attention to their innate francophobia. We know it's one of these weaknesses they've transported to America.

At the end of the day, the Atlantic Ocean is no more than 20 miles wide, just like the English Channel, when it comes to francophobia.

5 commentaires:

ned a dit…

As I remember, Old England included parts of northern and all of Aquitaine France for a long time.

Alison a dit…

Its difficult for me to write an interesting comment on your posts, because I agree with everything you say, even the provocative bits ... but I keep watching, I'm sure the time will come when I disagree! Keep up the good work Flocon!!!!

Flocon a dit…


"Old England included parts of northern and all of Aquitaine France for a long time."

Indeed. Bordeaux was the harbourg from which wine barrels were sent to England.

5 centuries later this region is again peacefully populated by a large group of English retirees etc. but I've read that there may be some resentment from the local French population because these English (not all of them) don't speak a single word in French and oviously don't wan't to learn so they address the locals in English or they don't address them at all.

Not exactly the best way to make friendship but a sure mean to make prejudice survive...

Flocon a dit…

Hello Alison,

Kudos for the Grand chlem of last Sunday! the 10th! I guess your son was happy as punch and overexited about it...

Provocation is a little weakness of mine I must admit... I hope it may catch the fleeting attention of the passer by... ;-)

Thanks for your kind words Alison.

Mark a dit…

Hi flocon,

i wonder what's known about the origins of francophobia here. I've been looking around (in a completely desultory way, you understand), and there doesn't seem to be anything parallel to Philippe Roger's exhaustive L'Ennemi Américain. I did come across something that might intrigue you, however: a special issue of the magazine French Culture, Politics, and Society titled "Déja Views: How Americans Look at France." It was published as Volume 21 in 2003, though it seems to collect papers given at a conference at Middlebury College (in Connecticut) in 2001.

One article at least is available online in .pdf format: "The System of Francophobia," by Jean-Philippe Mathy, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. If you google the title, quotes and all, it should be the first thing up.

Does the BN collect this journal? Shoot me an e-mail if not. I'm sure the NYPL has it.

Mathy has also written about French perceptions of the US, which makes him doubly valuable. His website has a list of his publications.