Thursday, April 03, 2003

The French Are Evil

~In Which We Meet Jack, The All-Purpose Straw Man~

Hi Jack.


How are you?

"Fine. Boy, do French people suck."

Yeah they do.

"Wait, you agree?"

Sure I agree.

"No, I mean the French are evil."

They sure are.

"You don't really believe that."

Sure I do, if you mean evil in the vaguely cartoonish way that I believe my mailman to be evil.

"No, you don't seem to get it. I mean evil like Hitler."

Weren't the French conquered by Hitler?

"Yes! I mean, no. They surrendered to Hitler."

All of them?

"Well, no...only the ones who were adults at the time."

Most of those people are dead.

"Yes, but they still surrendered!"

All of them?

"Well, their government did!"

You mean their elected government?


Like their Prime Minister?


That would be Paul Reynaud?

"Yes! Yes!"

Reynaud wanted to move the government to Africa.

"See? He was a coward. What did he want to go to Africa for?"

Because the German offensive could not be stopped, and the only way the government could continue to fight the Nazis was to keep out of their reach.

"Well, if he didn't surrender, who did?"

Petain. He was a war hero who was made vice premier to boost French morale and help fight the Nazis. He took over the government when he forced Reynaud to resign."

"So, the French thought he would fight the Nazis, but he surrendered to them instead?"


"Then the French are stupid!"

All of them?

"Stop saying that."


"Besides, don't you know the French are ungrateful that we saved them from evil?"

I thought the French were evil.

"They are!"

So we saved evil?

"Of course not! We are good! We fight evil."

Have we ever fought the French?

"Not yet."


" French weren't evil then!"

They weren't?

"No! Just cowards."

All of-

"Shut up! The point is, they're ungrateful. Don't you know that the French just vandalized a memorial cemetary dedicated to British soldiers who died in the war?"

Is America a violent atheist nation?


Is America a violent atheist nation?

"No! Of course not! We are One Nation Under God."

But two weeks ago, two churches in my town were broken into and vandalized.

"Well, that was probably just some kids being stupid."


"You agree with me?"

I do.

"Oh. Well good. So you also agree that the French are evil?"

I already said that I did.

"Yes, but I mean really evil. Like Hitler."

The French tried to conquer Europe?

"Well, duh. Haven't you ever heard of Napoleon?"

That was two hundred years ago.

"It's still evil! Conquering Europe is always evil!"

Well that seems reasonable.

"See? So Napoleon was evil. And the United States fights evil."

We didn't fight Napoleon.

"That's only because we weren't very big back then. We hadn't even expanded past the Mississippi River yet!"

No. Not until Napoleon sold us the western half of North America.

"Well...I...that doesn't matter. That was two hundred years ago."


"The point is, the French are evil."

Like Hitler?

"Like Hitler."

I didn't realize the French were killing large numbers of Jews.

"Uh...they're not. But don't you read the news? They don't like Jews in certain parts of France."

They don't like Jews in certain parts of Florida either.

"But at least we don't beat up Jews here in America!"

No, but we do tend to make life unpleasant for black people from time to time.

"Yeah, but the French have a long history of anti-Semitism."

I seem to recall reading somewhere that we have something of a history with racism.

"Are you saying racism is worse than anti-Semitism?"

Are you saying it's better?

"Well, no...but at least we never committed genocide."

Have you ever met a Native American?

"No, but that's not my fault. There aren't that many of them."

No, I guess there's not.

"Quit trying to change the subject. You just don't want to admit that the French committed genocide."

They did?

"Ha! Now I have you! The French helped the Nazis commit genocide. They sent thousands of Jews to Germany. And helping someone commit genocide is just as bad as doing it yourself."

That's true.

"So the French indirectly committed genocide."


"Stop right there! No, I don't mean every single one of them. But their government leaders did."

You mean the ones that surrendered?

"Yes! And it doesn't matter if they gained power by tricking the French people! They were never brought to justice by the French people."

Sure, if by "never brought to justice" you mean "executed for treason."

"Don't you get it?! The French are evil!"

So you've mentioned.

"Well, it's true! They like Saddam Hussein!"

They do?

"Sure they do! They sold him weapons!"

So did we.

"That doesn't matter. He was fighting Iran at the time, and Iran was our enemy!"

Well that's true.

"See? I knew you would understand."

So we stopped selling him weapons when he started being evil?


When did that happen?

"When he used chemical weapons against Iran."

That's evil?

"Yes! You are never, ever allowed to use chemical weapons. If you do, you are evil."

Then why did we sell them to Iraq?

"Because we wanted them to use them against Iran."

We wanted Iraq to be evil?

"No! We want them to be good! That is why we are going to liberate them!"

I see.

"You're just being difficult. The point is that France is evil."

You keep saying that.

"Because it's true! They want us to lose the war in Iraq!"

They do?

"Yes! Haven't you been reading the news?"

Why, yes I have.

"They wanted us to go to the United Nations before we invaded Iraq!"

So did a few other people, I think.

"But we all know the United Nations is a corrupt and meaningless bureaucracy that no longer has any relevance."

So why are we invading Iraq?

"Because they are in material breach of United Nations Resolution 1441."


"And the French want us to lose!"

Why would they want that?

"So they can control the European Union."

If we lose the war, they get to control the EU?

"Well...they'll be able to say 'I told you so' to us because they didn't want us to go to war."

By that logic, Mexico would get to control the EU. Quite a few actors too.

"Actors are stupid. They should just shut up and entertain us. No one cares what they think."

That's a common enough sentiment.

"Yeah. Lots of people think actors are stupid. Hey, you know what? A lot of people think the French are stupid too. You know what would be funny?"


"If the French elected an actor to be their leader! Ha ha! Stupid French people!"

Yes, electing an actor to be your leader would be pretty stupid.

"See? I knew you'd agree with me. What's so funny?"


"This isn't funny. The French could attack us at any moment."


"The French could be planning on attacking us."

Why would they do that?

"Because they hate the United States. And because they are afraid we will find evidence that they gave nuclear weapons to Iraq."

They gave nuclear weapons to Iraq?

"Nuclear materials, yes. Probably. I think. Maybe."

Why would they do that?

"Because they hate the United States."


"In fact, we might have to pre-emptively attack them. They are no longer our allies, after all."

They aren't?

"No. They did not agree to join the Coalition of the Willing, and so they are our enemy. They will be held responsible."

Wouldn't attacking France cause the rest of Europe to come to their defense?

"We might have to conquer the rest of Europe as well. Especially Germany. They're almost as bad as the French."

Oh. But I thought it was evil to conquer Europe.

"Not when we do it."


"You know what I'm afraid of?"

What are you afraid of?

"France has nuclear weapons. Do you know how dangerous that is? You cannot trust the French."

Because they are evil?

"Because they are evil."


"We need to use every bit of influence we have to counter the growing power of France. We need to contain them and limit their ability to attack us, because they present a clear and present danger to us and our way of life."

That sounds rational. So what should we do about North Korea? They have nuclear weapons, and missiles that can hit us.

"That's a regional problem that needs to be dealt with by the nations in the region including Japan, China, and South Korea."


"Also, we need to- Hey! You were making fun of Ronald Reagan earlier, weren't you?"


"What's wrong with you? Don't you know he single-handedly defeated the Soviet Union?"

Consider me rebuked.

"I bet Reagan knows the French are evil."

I'm sure he does.

[Contemplative Pause]

"You know, the French really suck."

They certainly do, Jack. They certainly do.

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