Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Hate the French

Telegraph reports Language, history, cooking and support for rival football teams still divide Europe. But when everything else fails, one glue binds the continent together: hatred of the French. Typically, the French refuse to accept what arrogant, overbearing monsters they are. But now after the publication of a survey of their neighbours' opinions of them at least they no longer have any excuse for not knowing how unpopular they are.

Do you think the French are bright enough to realize that?
Why the French are the worst company on the planet, a wry take on France by two of its citizens, dredges up all the usual evidence against them. They are crazy drivers, strangers to customer service, obsessed by sex and food and devoid of a sense of humour. But it doesn't stop there, boasting a breakdown, nation by nation, of what in the French irritates them. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Britons described them as "chauvinists, stubborn, nannied and humourless". However, the French may be more shocked by the views of other nations.
I bet they are. They have been enemies of the British so many times they distrust the British almost as much as they distrust America, but they have the delusion they are the most important nation on the Continent, or at least should be.
For the Germans, the French are "pretentious, offhand and frivolous". The Dutch describe them as "agitated, talkative and shallow." The Spanish see them as "cold, distant, vain and impolite" and the Portuguese as "preaching". In Italy they comes across as "snobs, arrogant, flesh-loving, righteous and self-obsessed" and the Greeks find them "not very with it, egocentric bons vivants". Interestingly, the Swedes consider them "disobedient, immoral, disorganised, neo-colonialist and dirty". But the knockout punch to French pride came in the way the poll was conducted. People were not asked what they hated in the French, just what they thought of them. "Interviewees were simply asked an open question - what five adjectives sum up the French," said Olivier Clodong, one of the study's two authors and a professor of social and political communication at the Ecole Superieur de Commerce, in Paris. "The answers were overwhelmingly negative." According to Mr Clodong, the old adage that France is wonderful, it's just the French who are the problem, is shared across Europe.

"We are admired for our trains, the Airbus and Michelin tyres. But the buck stops there," he said. Another section of the study deals with how the French see the rest of Europe. Jan Haugland"Believe it or not, the English and the French use almost exactly the same adjectives to describe each other - bar the word 'insular'," Mr Coldong said. "So the feelings are mutual."

Jan Haugland blogged Europeans have more than anti-Americanism in common, they also hate the French.

Arthur Chrenkoff blogged Why be hard on the Americans for disliking the French, if all their continental neighbors seem hardly more charitable? Europeans are hardly one big happy family, with plenty of negative stereotypes to go around, but even so, the results of this survey are surprising with the apparent inability of fellow Europeans to say anything nice about their French brothers and sisters. There is probably a political aspect to all this dislike; just as America and the Americans generate a lot of negative emotions on the account of their prominence in world affairs, so the French, who style themselves as the leaders of Europe, cannot help but to attract resentment from others. But I have a feeling that there is a lot more to the survey results than just politics. After all, when America is concerned, most foreigners are still at pains to distinguish between the government, which they hate, and the people, to whom they supposedly still (albeit increasingly less so) have a much more positive attitude. The fact that France's neighbors get so personal would suggest to me that politics or no politics, this is what happened when you have to share a crowded continent with others for century after century. Familiarity, clearly, breeds contempt.

TheAnchoress blogged Aw. Quel Dommage

Ace blogged The Frech Suck. Breaking news. French hatred is not a purely American phenomenon; those who know them best hate them even more than we do.

McQ blogged Pretty well sums it up for me although I'm not sure how the word "rude" came to be left off the list.

Tom @ScaredMonkeys blogged At Least They Can Cook

Peter Burnet blogged Even most Quebecers will admit they can’t abide them.


Anonymous said...

It is healthy to hate the French. I hate the French people, at least 90% of them. They are arrogant, obnoxious people with no reason for being like they are.

Anonymous said...

Healthy to hate French, this is a cheap medicine for your imaginary sickness.
Wishing you all the worst for 2007!!

From the 10% you do not hate

Anonymous said...

Who is really arrogant? Us, French? You know nothing about us, the person who said that 90% of French people are arrogant or abnoxious, is making a big mistake... It's a proof of his arrogance so... Go to France guy, you'll find the reality, the French aren't more idiots, stupids than Americans or British... Are you racist?
(A Basque French boy, excuse for my English perhaps little bad ;) )

Anonymous said...

i agree, the french are rude, disrespectful, pompous, pigs. they take advantage of you kindness and are freeloaders. i lived with frenchies for a year.

and to the others: if you french, why are you reading an article about hating the french?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to you few kind hearted Frenchies(the minority which you are) I also agree the French are dry, cool, arrogant, know-it-all and impolite.... and all the people in my staff room who teach them English also agree! We find you a very challenging lot in more ways than one. Put your noses down a few inches and warm your hearts, you might actually make a international few friends.