March 05, 2003

Why the U.S. and France 'De...

Why the U.S. and France 'Deserve Each Other': Nick Denton should write a national weekly syndicated column, exactly one paragraph long, entitled "The Straddler." Why? Because that's what he loves to do, putting his loafers squarely in two opposing camps -- Europeans and Americans, New Media and Old Media, ruthless career-climbing capitalists and gentler web-geek revolutionaries, and so on -- then looking down and making clever observations. Today's example:

Above all, American sanctimoniousness is a constant, and it has always irritated outsiders. It was, and is, almost as annoying as the French version: the pompous belief in France's worldwide mission civilatrice.

Why are they so alike? A nation based on a value system -- as are the US and France -- has qualities. Both France and the US are more open to outsiders than ethnocentric states. The French establishment has always loved those Africans who read Voltaire in the original. But the presumption of superior values, upon which both countries are founded, is as narrow-minded in its way as a traditional assertion of ethnic superiority. In their current squabble, France and the US deserve each other.

Posted by at March 5, 2003 11:10 AM
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