Saturday, September 25, 2010

demonstrations de rigueur

In France, much of the populace is up in arms — and in the streets — over the prospect of measures of austerity, called rigueur in French. But it was the following quote in this NPR News piece that reminded me of la Corée de Sud:
Any government in France thinks it has a kind of special responsibility towards people who protest, which has no political logic, no political legitimacy. You should not care whatever people say or do on the streets in a free country with regular elections. But that's how it is.
In the past I've made the case that Koreans are the Irish of Asia, the Jews of Asia, and the Italians of Asia, but given the way the French and SoKo demonstrators tend to bend elected (and unelected) governments to their will by taking to the streets, I have to add the possibility that Koreans are also the French of Asia.

Feel free to leave snide remarks about cheese-eating surrender monkeys or Vichyssoise collaborators in the comments section.


  1. How quickly they forget, for without at least one of those stuffy-titled French aristocrats, the colonies would still be worshipping the queen as part of the British Empire.

    Anyone with a bit of time on their hands, ought to see just how indebted we really are to one of the great Revolutionary War generals. Luckily, PBS just ran a great documentary about the true hero of Yorktown to help refresh our memories.

  2. Well, I've never been one to forget that, and (all joking about surrender monkeys aside) I've railed against quite a few people who use would bash the French as anti-American wusses, utterly forgetting their contribution to American independence. The whole "Freedom Fries" debacle was a national embarrassment, in my opinion.

    Thanks for the heads-up about the Lafayette documentary. Is this what you're referring to? I'll try to catch it when midterms die down.

  3. Yes, but lot's of people have forgotten it or choose to ignore it. Try and find books on the Revolutionary Era examining the French contribution and see what paltry results you come up with. And this concerns an insurgent army that marched, fought and died in French gear, bought by French gold and transported on French ships. And I keep reading at TMH that the Koreans are historical ingrates. Bloody amazing!

  4. Douglas, I share your amazement at that kind of brazen hypocrisy.

    I have been preparing a post aimed at calculating exactly how much gratitude the Korea bashers demand of the SoKos (how much, for how long, etc., and whether the calculation is offset by the many ROK casualties or whether it was reduced when it was discovered that the US's Korean War casualties was only two-thirds what had long been believed).

    The problem with it, though, is that it too easily could be taken as a swipe at the actual US personnel who fought, died, or were otherwise injured during the Korean War, when in fact it is meant to deride those who feel Korea must be perpetually indebted to the US with no dissent whatsoever lest they see South Korea as a nation of ingrates (who are usually not those who were in Korea from 1950 to 1953, or in uniform in 1945 or earlier).

  5. Both of you are forgetting that in terms of the "recent" past, The Revolutionary War was how long ago while the U.S. helped the French in both "The War to End All Wars" and World War II, both of which took place within the last hundred years.

    Also, a little more recent than The Revolutionary War, was during The American Civil War when France invaded Mexico and took over the country for Napoleon III. After The Civil War, the U.S. was able to send 50,000 troops to the border, supplied Juarez with weapons, and blockaded Mexico against the French which all together helped end the French reign of Maximilian and Carlotta in Mexico. Funny, how few people in the world remember this bloody bit of history.

  6. What's even more amazing historically, is that it is in the French victory over Mexico that "Cinco de Mayo" got its start thanks the Mexicans turning back the French at The Battle of Puebla; however, they did end up losing the war and were a part of France for three years. What's even more absurd is that "Cinco de Mayo" isn't even celebrated in Mexico outside of the city of Puebla because Mexico actually lost the war to France, but Mexican ex-pats (mostly in the U.S.) have made this day one of Mexican heritage and pride which is really odd as the one they should really be proud of is Mexico's Independence Day, "Diez y Seis de Septiembre."


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