Thursday, March 23, 2006

Droit de Réponse by Thomas (a French man)

Kim recently told me about that blog (click to see) she is reading about an american (who happens to be "trapped in trappes", poor her) living in France and not really being that nice about France and the french people in particular. I went there to read some posts and I somehow want to react.

If I have to believe her either France is a third world country far worse than Afghanistan and I am not aware of it, or she is just the unluckiest woman on earth and just happens to meet the wrong people, to be at the wrong places and so on. I will not deny her point about the fact that there are problem in France (I actually never understood how some foreigners had only nice things to say, as myself am getting frustrated about certain things), but what I can't accept is that she just generalizes to the whole country and every individuals in the country. Her excuse for that, blogging is just to vent, to get the negativity out, but not to get comments (especially negative ones). That's where I guess we disagree. If she was just ranting about frustrating situations happening to her, that would be one thing, but she seems to systematically blame the whole french society and going on about old stereotypes. And she expect people not to react, or take it personally?

Now, Imagine that I was starting to complain about all the things I find frustrating in USA and extend it to every Americans, I wonder what you guys would say. For instance, I find American people disgusting. Everytime I go to the bathroom in a food court, I see about 90% of the guys, not washing their hands after their business and then eating their food...with their hands, yeeeeeeeeew! Did you reconize yourself in that example, cause I can tell you that it is what I saw. Well I dont reconize myself when she says French arent taking showers or whatever. I could go on about all the things she is complaining about and give counter-examples, but that isnt the point here.

Venting is one thing, insulting a whole country a whole people and expect no negative reactions is another. Generalising and stereotyping that way is to me nothing but racism. Things are not working in France, that is true. Some French are disgusting, that is true. Some French are...whatever you want, that is true too... You will always find negative points about a country if you are looking for them, and that is also true about the USA. If we had to discuss together, she would see that I would be probably complaining about the same exact things as her and possibly even more. The difference is she puts every one in the same bag. (Would she blame me if tomorrow her car doesn't start? maybe not, but reading her blog I am asking myself that question). She somehow reminds me (I am not saying that's her case though) of these people who are unhappy with their lives, but blame it on other people rather than making a move and change their situation.

This was a very personal opinion, yet you can post comment even if you disagree or want to insult me. I am sure that some of you know exactly who I am talking about, and don't mind if she knows about that post... I would actually be glad to show her that France is not all that bad, if you know how to appreciate it.

Oh and by the way, I have noticed that generally the more you focus on the negative aspect of things, the more negative things happen to you.

29 Comments:

At March 23, 2006, Anonymous Jessica said...

Rock on with your French self.

It is racism. The venting/ freedom of speech argyuement is B.S. All racists have freedom of speech, but I certainly don't have any respect for what they're saying. And I certainly will take a stand against them.

It's reassuring to know that there are people who see this as unacceptable.

 
At March 23, 2006, Blogger Léons Life said...

A very well put together post.

It is the hate coming from this blogger that I can't get over and read to see what she is going to come out with next, astonishing.

Well done Kim for your post 'chez elle' I couldn't be bothered as likes hitting your head a against a brick wall with someone like that, they don't want to hear your opinion because they are right.I have been waiting for a reaction though.

I don't feel the least bit insulted though, as this person is what we in the UK call a bigot. The so little truth in the generalizations that it's not worth getting my upset about.

In fact she either needs some serious help, a one way ticket back to the States, or it a total wind up...

 
At March 23, 2006, Anonymous Alison said...

I just feel sorry for her because she is not able to see beyond the blinders she has put on.

Then again, she contacted me for advice on something before she started blogging, so I feel I know something of her beyond what she has written there.

I truly hope that she can find peace somewhere.

 
At March 23, 2006, Anonymous Pumpkin said...

I totally agree with you, Thomas. I think she is either not happy living in France because she misses America so much that she is taking it out on France. As I said about my husband and his very bad remarks about Americans while living in America. He was so homesick he only saw the bad in America or he made things seem bad that really weren't. He had to go back to France or he would have been misserable the rest of his life. I think she is like he was. Very sad and angry and she needs a one way ticket back to the States.

 
At March 23, 2006, Anonymous Beverly said...

I've read that blog too. Pure ignorance. Unfortunately you can't force people to be open-minded - they have to come into it themselves.
If you're viewing France through the American lens, your vision's bound to be distorted.

 
At March 23, 2006, Blogger Egan said...

Oh boy, I have to read this other blog. Nothing gets me more worked up than French bashing.

 
At March 23, 2006, Blogger Egan said...

I'm newer to this blog, can you tell me which blog this is?

 
At March 23, 2006, Blogger buzzgirl said...

I don't know which blog it is either, Egan. But can I just say: I really WANT to live in France! I'll switch places with her if she's so miserable...

 
At March 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do think some tend to generalize about the US also....there is good and bad anywhere you go.....you just have to choose which you want to dwell on.

 
At March 23, 2006, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

I will put a link on the post

 
At March 23, 2006, Blogger cncz said...

hello
thanks for stopping by my blog!
I have been known to do my fair share of venting about France (I lived there off an on since 2000 before moving to switzerland). In her defense, I would be depressed if I lived in Trappes (an interesting aside, the comedian Jamel Debbouze is from there), and French society is going through some issues right now. I just kinda feel sorry for her, the blinders thing going on. My husband is from a Paris suburb, as well. I think you just have to choose how you feel, no matter where you are geographically.

 
At March 23, 2006, Blogger cncz said...

Ok, going to stop hogging the comment box, but I do remember once reading a "French blog" from an American expat that I found interesting, until one day the person went off on a totally ridiculous rant about how "immigrants" had better housing in Paris. It so made me mad, and I just stopped reading the blog. When people do stuff like that, I usually do what you did and post a droit de reponse on my blog. I think your post was powerful and true.

 
At March 23, 2006, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

There is no such thing as "hogging the comment box" as every opinion is welcome. Different people, different point of views... That's why life is interesting!

 
At March 23, 2006, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

Very well said my frog! Much better than I ever could have mustered1
I love you so much:o)
kim

 
At March 23, 2006, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Before even reading the post, it just ssounds like she is unhappy with her life and she is dwindling on nothing instead of the root of her problem. And she will never change until she actually stops, thinks about what is bothering her and does something about that instead of complaining about other people...

 
At March 24, 2006, Anonymous Pumpkin said...

Thomas you should read another expats explanation of why she has to use a anal thermometer to take her temp on her blog. She makes it sound like there are no 'mouth' thermometers available in France. She actually made me more angry than the blogger you posted specifically about. At least her posts are due to personal issues but the other blogger was just outright ignorate. I think she thought it was funny. Her blog is lickety split or something like that.

 
At March 24, 2006, Blogger Riana said...

Well said! It's so awesome that you spoke up about this!

and yes, negativity attracts negativity..

 
At March 24, 2006, Blogger Samantha said...

Just to play devil's advocate, if I had had a blog three years ago, you would've read the exact same posts from me. I came here for a man, not because I loved France, and not knowing a word of French or anything about the country meant I had a really hard time adjusting. I'd travelled a lot in Europe, and lived in Finland, so I (naïvely) thought - how different can France be?

How wrong I was. There's a special mentality here, and a lot of things are so completely different from the US that it just took a while to get used to - and I think you'll find in a year or two's time, Trapped in Trappes's posts will have calmed down a bit. Lord knows how Fab put up with all my bitching during all that time - the man must be a saint, because I surely wouldn't have listened to someone insult my country for that long. But overtime, France and I have come to an understanding (and I hope that comes across in my blog). I'm still not a francophile, but there are certainly worse places to live than France - I've discovered it has plenty of positive things to offer, including a great healthcare system.

But still, this is a "special" country, so please understand that for us non-francophones, it can take a while to adapt to the French ways. It's one thing if you've been studying French (and French culture) your entire life, and another if you've just been plopped down in the middle of it all with no warning.

PS. This was a very interesting post, Thomas.

 
At March 24, 2006, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

yes, maybe but... I have the hardest time adjusting to American way of life... I really cannot figure out the mentality and get frustrated big time about how things work over here... Yet, I am not being insultive about the people or the country... I have to adpat myself to the country, not the opposite. I am not against the frustration she has, I do understand it, but blaming it on the country itself anf the people is the easy way... thats my opinion

 
At March 24, 2006, Anonymous Jessica said...

I don't know, Samantha....

There are times when we can understand where's she coming from. And then there are a lot of times when this blog crosses the line. Sayinng the French are dirty is one of them. Comparing humans to animals is another. I don't see how it could be considered acceptable to say this about culture/ nationality. As Pumpkin Pie once pointed out, just substitute "French" for "Jewish" or "Black" or "Italian" and I think it becomes clear how truly horrible such remarks are.

 
At March 24, 2006, Blogger Samantha said...

No, you're right Jessica, it's not acceptable to throw out racist insults or to lump an entire population into one category - that's not the parts of the post that I was condoning. I was speaking more about how frustrating life can be here sometimes, especially for someone newly arrived - it's still fresh in my own mind, so I tend to be plutôt sympathetic to her posts. I DO seriously think they'll calm down after awhile though. What I don't understand is if so many people are unhappy with her blog, why keep reading it?

 
At March 24, 2006, Anonymous Jessica said...

I actually don't read it, but I have read most of in one sitting. So I knew what all the buzz was about.

I think it's harder to hear, now that I have a child. It just reinforces to me that the world will not always be kind to him. That's hard for a mother to accept. My instinct it to fight it. I never used to be so outspoken on this issue.

I wrote a post on it, a while ago,here:

http://www.4213miles.com/blog/archives/
2005/09/france_vs_ameri.php

Incidentally, I do visit your blog, and I always like what I read. :-)

 
At March 24, 2006, Anonymous Pumpkin said...

I think Samantha hit it on the nail with how she was kinda just stuck in France and left to deal with it...I still get that you, Sam, are not really happy sometimes here in France but you make the most of it because you love your husband. I love France so my interpretations are not the same as yours. My husband hated living in America but would love to visit again. And, he was very vocal about his not liking life in America. He doesn't dislike America but he didn't like living there.
I get the same feeling when I read other expat blogs about their lives in France. They would much rather be back "home." I don't feel this way about America. I know I can never live there again. I just prefer life here in France to life in America. Everyone is different and that's ok.

However, this girl was way overboard with her comments. It is not right to say the things she does because they are simply not true.

 
At March 24, 2006, Blogger Samantha said...

Wow, Kim & Thomas, 24 posts! You guys'll have fun looking through your site meter tonight!

 
At March 27, 2006, Blogger Egan said...

The important thing here is she is only one person. Sure she happens to have a blog, but don't let her narrow-mind(set) get to you. C'est sa choix!

 
At March 29, 2006, Blogger Deb said...

I have seen her blog, and even have it listed on my blogsite. Even though I don't agree with everything she says, it's her freedom of speech. People can read it, or they can ignore it.

It's easy for us Americans to bitch and complain about things in France, because it is so different from the US. But as much as we complain, I think there are a lot of American expats (including myself), who are thankful for some of the rights and privileges offered to us in France, that are not offered in the US.

 
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