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Absolutely.

But it's hard after years of hearing how arrogant you are, and how much of a failure you are, and how you need to become more like the Anglo-Saxons in every respect.

The rivalry has always been there, and there are certainly aspects of the Anglo-Saxon, model to commend and that France might usefully absorb, but the reverse discourse is simply not being heard. The English language totally dominates global discourse (and in particular the business world, which has become increasingly influential in recent times, and provides/attracts the elites/models in most countries, including in France), and the French point of view is only marginally expressed and heard, including even in France.

In particular, French elites, which do pretty well in the global world, are naturally absorbing that anglo influence, including the deprecating discourse on anything French (except the frivolous stuff), and repeating it.

The thing, of course, is that the negative language is a self-fulfilling prophecy to some extent (impacting on perceptions and morale in any case) - and yet it is still untrue to a surprisingly large extent. France is far from being the sick man it is so often presented to be, and these numbers on the Muslim population (a term I hate - am looking for substitutes) are just one example.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 01:18:06 PM EST
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Like all such dichotomies, real life seldom fits neatly into one box or the other. I've had a fair amount of direct experience with various minority communities in the US and there is always a dynamic tension between the value of "fitting in" to the dominant culture and developing pride in your own heritage.

The politics of the past year certainly raise all sorts of questions about how well things are working in the UK. It is very difficult to get beyond the headlines of occasional dramatic incidents such as a bombing in Britain and the burning of cars in France. I think the real issue is what is happening with the vast majority of people who are simply trying to go about their daily business.

I don't know if any data on the matter is available, but it would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between the people who feel psychologically integrated into French society and those who are achieving economic gains.

by Richard Lyon (rllyon@gmail.com) on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 01:35:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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