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Thread: The British hate the French. Shock.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Talking The British hate the French. Shock.

    Two-hundred years to the day after France's defeat at Trafalgar many Brits still view their cross-channel neighbours with suspicion and antipathy. The French however, think we should just get over it.

    France is the UK's top tourist destination, with 12 million British visitors each year, while the UK is the second most popular spot for French tourists with over three million visits a year.

    The air route from Paris to London is the busiest in the world, carrying some 3.3 million passengers a year... then there's the Channel Tunnel.

    Such statistics might fool a person into thinking the British and the French actually like each other. But even though it is over 100 years since the Entente Cordiale was signed, pledging Britain and France to a lasting political friendship, relations on many fronts are decidedly frosty.

    But the main problem seems to lie here. Stereotyped by the Brits as garlic-loving, snail-eating, skirt-chasing, shoulder-shrugging "Frogs", the French don't really care what the British think. Not without their own stereotypes and prejudices, "Les Rosbifs" are not important to the average French person.

    "Most of the French feel neither burning animosity nor deep affection towards the British," says Christian Roudaut, author of a book on Anglo-French relations, L'Entente Glaciale. "I'm sure the British would say this represents precisely the sort of arrogance for which the French are notorious in the UK.

    "But the level of abuse over here is amazing. I can't believe what is said and appears in the national press in Britain. If you interchanged the word French for black you would be branded a complete racist."

    And the age-old French stereotypes appear to show no signs of disappearing in the UK. Seventy-two percent of Britons questioned in a recent survey believed the French warranted their negative stereotype, while only 19% of French believe the Brits deserved their "Rosbifs" tag.

    But where does Britain's anti-French feeling stem from?

    While Franco-British enmity stretches back centuries, many of the xenophobic stereotypes of the French in today's society stem from the post-war period, according to Professor David Walker, from the University of Sheffield.

    Take the notion that the French don't wash. This might have stemmed from the hardships France endured after World War II. Recovery was slower and accommodation often lacked basic sanitation.

    "The contrast between the two domestic environments must have been startling for the British visitor of the 1950s and early 1960s," says Mr Walker. "It is not hard to see how the myth of the 'dirty French' was disparagingly communicated back to the Albion."

    But the two countries' similarities are as much part of the problem, according to some.


    "The French are a kind of sibling, cast in the same mould as us, but showing how the same genes can express themselves in alternative ways," says Dr Wendy Michallat, an expert in popular French culture.

    "Given this common background, the English, in spite of themselves, tend to give way to what Freud called 'the narcissism of minor differences'. We make a great deal of what distinguishes us from the French, for fear of seeing our prized identity lose its uniqueness by being revealed as just another set of shared human traits."

    But the British have a more complicated relationship with the French than just straight forward xenophobia, says M Roudaut. While French folk might not appeal to the British, the way they live their lives does.

    Last year's French census revealed the number of Britons living across the Channel had increased by almost half in the past five years, to 100,000. That's not counting the 47,000 who have second homes in France, according to the Office of National Statistics.

    The flow in the opposite direction is even more pronounced. There are an estimated 270,000 French people registered as living in Britain, according to the French Embassy. The real figure is higher as not all French register when they come over.

    "You come to us to retire and we come to you for work," says M Roudaut. "I don't mean to be rude but the French people living in the UK are not here for the weather or food. There are many things I love about Britain - like the sense of humour of the people and their politeness - but for most French people here it is an economic decision, not a lifestyle one."

    In an attempt to improve Anglo-French relations the organisers of an upcoming exhibition of French and British art are producing a pledge book to combat negative stereotyping of the French.

    All British visitors to the Entente Cordiale show in London will be encouraged to sign, as will French visitors when the show transfers to France next year.

    The idea is being driven by Richard Kaye, who was alarmed by the attitudes survey mentioned earlier, which was commissioned for the exhibition.

    "Nobody is pretending that this is full blown racism, but rather the inheritance on the part of the younger generation of 'acceptable' attitudes of suspicion and cultural isolationism towards France and the French," says Mr Kaye.

    "This intolerance is simply not constructive. By encouraging visitors to the exhibition to pledge to reverse this worrying trend, we are taking a step in the right direction."

    Roll on the rapprochement.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  2. #2
    ReinaBikipatra
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    The English get them back by trying to speak French on holiday.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    everyone hates Frogs INCLUDING ME!

    i LUV HOratio HOrnblower

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    ReinaBikipatra
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    Quote Originally Posted by AliceInWonderland View Post
    everyone hates Frogs INCLUDING ME!

    i LUV HOratio HOrnblower
    I like France and the French. My poor husband couldn't understand why when I spoke French people responded in French and when he spoke it they said "Oh, so you're English?"

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    Hit By Ban Bus! DisruptiveHair's Avatar
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    My husband is one of the only Brits I've ever met that DIDN'T hate the French.

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    ReinaBikipatra
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    Quote Originally Posted by disruptivehair View Post
    My husband is one of the only Brits I've ever met that DIDN'T hate the French.
    PP doesn't hate the French but he hates England. I think he has only been back one or twice since he graduated from university.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I ave no problem with the french.. however, I have a problem with seperatist Quebecers.

    Not a problem with the culture, or the language, or the food, or whatnot... I just hate their absolute arrogant assumption of entitlement, the victim mentality they've been using for the last 300 years, and the fact that they don't want to pay their fair share of the debt when they leave.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
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    ^^Separatists are the spoiled children of Canadian politics.

    My husband also despises the English and only goes there on his way home to Cardiff. He taught for a year in Leicester about 10 years back and it was enough to convince him never to return.

    He speaks French and absolutely loves France, as do I. I don't share his hatred for all things English (just some things) but then I didn't spend years in boarding schools and university there either.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Ugh.. even the license plate of Quebec says "je me souviens", basically "I remember".. alluding to having their asses handed to them by the English when they lost the continent.

    It's like 'boohoo, get over it."
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Lil
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    There's been mutal hatred between the British and the French for more than 400 years, it's a tradition.
    A big boy did it and ran away.

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    SVZ
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    my bf's a french canadian..originally from switzerland though

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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    I like French people. Especially after the failed "Boycott France" crap the right-wingers tried to spew. I agree with the French for telling the Brits to get over it. It would'nt benefit either country if they started up with the political rivalries now.

    BTW Grimm, about the Qubecan seperatists,are these the same people that want Quebec to be an independent nation because they want all of Canada to speak French or something like that?

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Ugh.. even the license plate of Quebec says "je me souviens", basically "I remember".. alluding to having their asses handed to them by the English when they lost the continent.

    It's like 'boohoo, get over it."
    that quote was originally pronounced by de gaulle. he said it in a speech during a visit to québec.

    i'm not french but i lived in france and french-speaking switzerland about half my life.
    i love both the french and the english. as for the brits, they have a love/hate thing with france. they bitch and moan about it but they can't get enough of the food and wine and all want to retire in provence. and all my male english friends are obsessed with french women.
    i think the french turn people off because they come across as arrogant. and they probably are to a certain extent, but i think what is really more that they are phlegmatic and that gets lost in translation and comes across as arrogance.
    they are also quite sarcastic and always say things in a slightly ironic way (imagine a slight rictus on the corner of someone's mouth) which is part of the twisted french humour, but will appear disdainful and arrogant to someone with a different temperament. the thing is the english can come across as exactly the same so i think the article really hit the nail on the head with the reference to 'the narcissism of minor differences'. the major difference is that the french are latins and catholic and therefore slightly more bon vivant and decadent. in a good way. they don't have the whole anglo-saxon protestant uptight thing going.

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! ourmaninBusan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Ugh.. even the license plate of Quebec says "je me souviens", basically "I remember".. alluding to having their asses handed to them by the English when they lost the continent.
    Also, it is illegal to have English signs posted in Quebec
    unless they are of a political nature. If your auto shop
    has a sign saying "McMurtry Auto Shop," you will be fined
    by the French police. Even Eaton's had to drop the apostrophe
    to be "d'Eaton" when they were in business.

    Seriously -- English-speaking Quebeckers have lost their homes
    over this. The subways in Tokyo and Busan have English signs;
    le Metro in Montreal does not.

    And the worst thing about "je me souviens" is that the French
    disowned them
    . The French and English fought it out for
    control of Upper & Lower Canada. French forces in "the New World" were
    defeated in 1759 in a battle called The Plains of Abraham. The
    English sent the French a letter saying, "We'll give you a choice.
    What do you want as part of the kingdom of France,
    Quebec, or the two islands of St. Pierre & Miquelon?"

    The French king sent philosopher Voltaire to Quebec. Voltaire
    arrived in winter, found it absolutely freezing, and replied,
    "Canada is a few acres of snow and not worth a soldier's bones."
    The French King (Louis XVI?) accepted the two islands.
    Thus the Quebecois were shrugged off by the French.

    Encore un fois, qu'est-ce qu'il se souvient?

    ♫` ∴|| ~∞≠∝ ♫♪ $ -4C

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! ourmaninBusan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    that quote was originally pronounced by de gaulle. he said it in a speech during a visit to qubec.
    Not quite.

    In 1967, deGaulle stirred up separatist sentiments when he gave
    a speech and said "(long) live the Free Quebec" -- the exact words
    were "vive le Quebec libre!" This meant, to many, that Quebec was
    dying of financial neglect at the hands of the English Canadian gov't.

    Since then, the English Canadian politicians have bent over backwards
    to please the French Canadians....and the rest of us are sick of it.

    ♫` ∴|| ~∞≠∝ ♫♪ $ -4C

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