Rosecrans Baldwin on Our French Connection


Baldwin goes looking for ideas about France in a handful of US towns named Paris @ The Morning News.

There are cowboys with brown teeth and black hats in southeastern Idaho who tell you the French are just as good sons-of-bitches as you’re likely to find anywhere. They mean this as a compliment. They’ve had four beers, you’ve had four beers, so you don’t hesitate to point out there’s actually common ground between today’s working cowboy and the Parisian. Each being rather, “I am who I am, fuck you very much.” Which gets a big laugh.
“Hey Mike, d’you hear?”
“Hear what?”
“We’re French!”
“We’re French?”
“We’re high-falutin’!”
“Well, son of a bitch!”
A Gallup poll in February found that 75 percent of Americans now think favorably of France, up four points from 2011. Other signs of Francophilia percolate: A French movie won Best Picture for the first time at this year’s Academy Awards. Downtown Manhattan’s gone French—over the past few years, the Times says, “Parisians have infiltrated the highest reaches of New York night life.” Buzz surrounds a new parenting book, French Kids Eat Everything, which follows this winter’s Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting—the author of which, a Paris-based American, was nominated as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world.

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