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Thursday, June 19, 2003

"Roman Polanski wasn't available?"

France again. As always, the good with the bad. [Gallic shrug]

Irrefutable proof that other countries don't understand America, either. James Lileks weighs in on the French ad campaign to get Yankee tourists back, along with the bizarre choice for a spokesman.

Then there's his analysis of the rift:

France's opposition to the Iraq war isn't the reason Americans are turning away from the glories of Gaul. No, it was the manner in which France conducted its opposition -- high-handed, cheerfully duplicitous, brazenly self-serving, with a generous ladle of contempt for this boorish nation of unsophisticated cowboys.

One got the impression they were peeved that America did not realize what it meant to be graced by a stream of French spittle. Why, it was an honor. Most nations France ignores. To be spit on by France is a mark of some distinction. Here is a cloth. Wipe it off. Not with that hand! What are you, a Pole? The other hand! Left to right! Now fold the napkin into the shape of a dying swan!

Then again, there's also some evidence that the average Frenchman is worried about the rift. In a story chronicling the decline of American tourism to Normandy battlefields, there are heartening reports of a corresponding uptick in French tourism to those very sites:

Curiously, while the number of American visitors to the Airborne Museum has gone down over the last three years the number of French visitors has increased, particularly in the last 12 months. Official gate receipts show 16,682 visitors in April, for instance, nearly 3,000 more than in April, 2002, or in the corresponding previous two years. Eighty-five percent are French, according to Roger Delarocque, official of the local visitors office.

"My view is that a lot more French are bringing their children, and many of them are older children," he said. "I think it is a reaction to all this negative talk about Americans. You know the newspapers and television show it all the time, and young people say Americans are bad, they are always fighting and killing.

"So the parents bring them here to show them what the Americans sacrificed."

[Second link via the Old Oligarch]

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