Monday, July 24, 2006

The Power Of Perception

Two posts ago I posed a question or two, about what I perceive to be some conflicting data coming from three different sources of information, on France. And I have to say I got some lengthy responses that (predictably) differed, with some of the material that was presented. Rather than type out long individual responses in the comment section; I figured that by the time I was done, I'd end up with enough for another post. So, here it is.

While I think all of the commenters raise some interesting points, in their analyses, I think some may have missed the broader point I was getting at. Maybe I failed to make it clear. If so, that's my fault. And I apologize, if that is the case.

Let's look at the word perception for a moment.

Despite the fact that the Pew poll was favorable to the French and their attitudes towards Jews, there still is a perception that the French are biased against the U.S. and Israel. I showed some examples of the French media and their perceptions toward Israel and the U.S., as well as some instances documented by, and commented on, from a writer that some very much disagreed with. I countered it with the Pew poll.

One of the points I was trying to subtlely make was, despite the polls that showed otherwise, there were some instances that gave the perception that the French government and the French media were at very least, biased against Israel and the U.S. And I noticed in the responses, most responders that were critical of the article, spent much more time and effort trying to refute its contents, than trying to address the media quotes.

The French media (as well as the French government) are the mouthpieces of the French people. And in many instances that is all many people have to look to and consider, when trying to form an opinion on the situation. I do not think it matters much that one of the publications was/is owned by an American company, or not. They are French papers, printed and circulated primarily for French people. Anyone that can read French can read and understand them, but the people that do not speak French are at the mercies of the translators. So, regardless of ownership, they are French.

When they are negative towards Israel or the U.S., it doesn't matter who owns them. If they print anything negative, many in the world will interpret that as indicative of current values. I don't, because I know that the media is very often biased and very often does not reflect a true picture. (And I say that from personal experience with my own media.)

But many people do. Their perception is based on what they read.

Many French people have attitudes based on the very same principle, as what I described. They read the negative French press. They read the American versions that sometimes contradict the French version, many times by being counter-critical towards the French. And then they form their opinions based on that.

Why am I saying all of this?

The broader point (I think) is that instead of trying to spend inordinate amounts of time trying to argue and tear down the arguments of the other, the key to understanding and bridging the gaps between us, is understanding the differing perceptions, and why they are so.

Now, I have some thoughts on why I think their is a gap of misunderstanding between some people. If you think back in history, you will note that the US and France have always had a healthy rivalry and some level of competition. For as long as I have been alive, this has been the case. Go back to WWII and you can understand why we are at the point we are at, today. We have bickered and argued, but when the chips have been down we have been there for each other. Today is no exception.

Let's try something here that illustrates what I am saying.

Perception: Americans thought that DeGaulle's efforts to be less dependent on America after the war, were acts of ungratefulness.

Was that so? No. At least, I don't see it that way.

I think that he never wanted to allow France to get into a position it was in, ever again. Can't blame him for that. But I didn't just get my ass shot at for 2-3 years in a foreign land, trying to liberate people I didn't know, losing many friends in the process. A lot of the people that did, developed their attitudes based on their perceptions, at that time. They then passed those same values on to their children. Right or wrong, that was the reality of the situation.

Perception: America wanted to drive the train and be the hero, not giving any credit to the contributions made by the brave men and women of France.

That's also not true. While many were angry that DeGaulle kicked American forces out of the country (while still owing money to the U.S.), many of those same veterans (that got their asses shot at in France), told me of the stories of the French resistance. They also said that without the help of these brave men and women, we would have likely lost many more lives, had they not softened up the enemy before our arrival and during our advance.

So, while it is important to refute the myths, the misinformation, the exaggerations, and in some cases the outright malicious lies that are present between our nations, the first step in that process is to broaden our vision to see the bigger picture. We need to understand why these things exist and why the perception is so very different from opposite sides of the pond.

Many French that have stereotypical views of Americans have never been to America. The only contact they have with them, is the tourists. And tourists are not a good picture of average Americans. Many Americans that are hypercritical of France, have never been there either. Their only frames of reference are the French media, the French government, and the handful of French people they encounter throughout their lives.

Both sides can get defensive, when their perceptions are challenged and dig themselves into a foxhole. Both sides have people that are extremely stubborn, in that respect. But both sides also have a story to tell, if the other side would only listen.


I have said before and I will say again, the media and the government stance on issues is never a full and complete indicator of what individual citizens think. However there is one area that I do believe Americans have been deficient in their understanding. I believe that France (and to some degree, Germany) openly criticize the U.S. and Israel as a smokescreen. They must publicly take certain stands because it is expedient to do so. But covertly, they have provided more assistance, support, and cooperation than they are willing to reveal.

And that's okay.

But when the choice is made to do this out of public view and to do it while appearing to be critical, the perception that France works against the US and Israel will always be there.

33 comments:

All_I_Can_Stands said...

LA,

I have been "preaching" on the dangers of perception at an individual level for years. While every once in awhile you run into a real jerk, almost all conflicts between individuals are based on a false perception.

My wife is a very beautiful woman with many talents. Simply by looking at her, other women form perceptions and conflict happens on that basis alone. When they get to know her, they often say how different she is than they first thought.

The problems caused by misperception at an international level would follow a similar path.

A major problem we are facing today, though is that there are those elements who are purposefully creating misperceptions around the world. In US politics, it is called "spin".

Oh, thanks for informing me I was supposed to be mad at the French for being ungrateful after WWII. I was not aware of that aspect. (just kidding SuperFrenchie)

Great post.

LASunsett said...

AICS,

Thank you, sir.

superfrenchie said...

OK, but isn't misperception fueled by articles like this?

There wouldn't be as much misperception if articles such as the one you linked to would at the very least bother to check their facts.

Criticizing is fine. Basing the criticism upon wrong facts and/or gross distortions is reprehensible.

In other words, how could France or the French be responsible for their perception if they haven't even done what they are accused of having done?

LASunsett said...

SF,

//how could France or the French be responsible for their perception if they haven't even done what they are accused of having done?//

The same way you hold Israel and the US responsible.

I am not convinced the article is completely baseless and without warrant. But more importantly, you have to understand that the article is the writer's opinions and much of it is based on the very stuff that comes out of the French media and the mouths of French officials. That was the point of the post. I used your poll, but didn't dispute it. But I could have.

Take a look at this poll How do you explain this? It certainly takes the wind out of the Pew poll, doesn't it? You used it but failed to include this one, Why?

Look, the French (public) position is that Israel is overreacting. And that the two sides should talk. Have you read the Hamas and Hezbollah charters? They both contain wording that states that talking is not acceptable and proceeds to explain that will be peace only when the Jews are annihilated.

The bottom line here is, if you want the world to have a more accurate view of the French, then the French media and the French government needs to get on the ball and do some PR that will prove these types of articles you so vehemently object to, wrong.

superfrenchie said...

No time to respond right now but I will take a quick shot at the poll you linked to.

The poll addresses what the French think of what others think. They think other Frenchies are racists. That in no way mean that other Frenchies are racists, only that they think other Frenchies are.

If you want to say that the perception of racism is not just outside of our country, I'll go along with that. What I won't go along with is to deduct that because Frenchies think other Frenchies are racists, that other Frenchies are indeed racists.

The French, and the rest of the world for that matter, also believe that we are #1 in the world in terms of strikes. Yet we are not even in the Top 10 in the OECD. Countries like Iceland or Spain strike 4 times as much as the Frenchies.

So you are right about the misperception here. But that does not mean it's fine to spread that misperception even more by printing facts that are not facts.

Many people also think that the Great Wall of China can be seen from the moon, that humans only use 10% of their brain cells or that water drains backwards in the Southern Hemisphere. Yet all of those things are patently false.

Although the author of the article is making a strong case for the 10% of the brain cells!

LASunsett said...

SF,

//That in no way mean that other Frenchies are racists, only that they think other Frenchies are.//

I am not implying this at all.

What am saying is, this poll says that 69% of French people think there is a rise in racism. That is their perception.

While I don't put a lot of stock in polls as a rule, there has to be a reason that this poll was taken to even start with (and then, arrive at the enormous numbers). The margin of error wasn't factored in because they didn't provide it. But they still took a poll and that is what they found. For what it's worth.

//But that does not mean it's fine to spread that misperception even more by printing facts that are not facts.//

Never said it was, did I?

superfrenchie said...

LA: //there has to be a reason that this poll was taken to even start with //

Yes, and the reason is likely the fact that the French have little tolerance for anti-semitism.

See, every time there is the smallest* little antisemitism incident in France, the media and the French in general make a very big deal of it. Leading to the impression that it is in fact a very big deal overall. When in fact it isn't.

Case in point: last year, a woman complained she was attacked in the metro by youths who cut her clothes and drew swastikas on her body. Condemnations were swift. Chirac condemned the assault as "shameful" and said he would deny clemency to any prisoner serving time for a racist crime. Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said that "Anti-Semitism is a disgrace. We want to fight this kind of intolerable racism." It was the news for days.

Until it was found out to be a hoax by the woman, who only wanted some attention.

What does that tell us. In my opinion, it tells us that:

- the French are very sensitive to antisemitism. The woman certainly believed that.

- the French, including that woman, thought that it was very believable that anti-semitism of the sort would happen.

- the media outcry for days reinforced the impression that antisemitism incidents of the sort were common in France.

- the French reacted very strongly against it.

Look, there are between 150 and 250 antisemitic incidents a year in France. That may seem like a lot, until you compare it to the total number of crimes a year in France: almost 4 million. But those antisemitic crimes are talked about a lot, making the French think there is a large problem.

So yes, a problem of perception. But not due to antisemitism, but rather to the ultra sensitivity of the French towards any act of antisemitism. In other words, a good thing (the ultra-sensitivity, not the incidents!)

* This is a figure of speech. I am not trying to make light of any incident, as "small" as it might be.

LASunsett said...

So yes, a problem of perception.

That's precisely what I am trying to say here. And when this kind of thing makes the news in France, it hops the pond and finds its way here. It then becomes a part of our reasonings, and helps form our opinions. (When I say our, I do not mean mine or yours necessarily, but those that cannot, will not, or do not have time to do critical thinking)

The same holds true of our media. When they get on a tangient about something that is not as big of a deal as they make it out to be, it too finds its way overseas.

This is the power of the media and why I am so critical of it. They create perceptions everyday. No one polices the media except for the blogosphere (and that's how it should be, in my opinion). They are the fourth branch of government, the fourth estate, or whatever you want to call them.

To change perceptions you must have the presence of mind and the understanding that media accounts and polls they parade out, may not always be an accurate picture of reality. It is then up to each individual to critically analyze what they are reading. We have all been fooled, but we don't always have to be fooled.

We get fooled when we jump on something just to prove a pre-existing opinion, value, or attitude we hold, is valid.

We get fooled when we allow our emotions to do our thinking.

We get fooled when we get defensive and dig ourselves into a position so deeply that we cannot get out of it, without losing face.

We (like The Who) can say, "we won't get fooled again", but we would only be fooling ourselves. We are human and sometimes we let our guard down and allow the media to tap into our emotions, instead of our intellect.

That's what I try to do here at PYY. I try to inspire some thinking, rather than stir some emotions. It's impossible to completely take out the emotional component, I know. But I try to weigh it heaviest, on the intellectual side.

Do I get irritated at some things and vent it here? Absolutely. You would have to look long and look hard to find a blogger that hasn't allowed his/her passion to come through, in their writings. But overall I like the subtle and pensive approach, much better. It creates a better platform for learning and understanding and it helps eliminate misperceptions.

G_in_AL said...

The French suck, there, it's settled.

Seriously though, going on an on about what the French are really like versus what the media and various polls show them to be... I have to belive that Chirac, being elected by popular vote in France, is representitive of popular French opinion and/or popular will of the people.

When he comes out and effectivly blames this entire saga on Israel time and again, one would have to wonder if the French people do not simply have an innate distrust of Jews?

I'm obviously speaking on terms that could be very open to misinterpriation, but the reasoning isn't flawed is it?

superfrenchie said...

G: LA Sunsett is right: your media sucks!

If they were to inform you correctly, you would have seen that Chirac was placing the blame squarely on Hezbollah's shoulders.

He also said that the response from Israel was disproportionate and risked destabilizing Lebanon, a country that is friendly to the West and anti-Syrian. Same thing that about half of all Americans are saying.

Are they all antisemite?

ms. miami said...

G- and the many israeli jews who disagree with strongarm tactics used by their government vis a vis their neighbors, are they "anti-semites"?

in any case, a lot of christian support for israel in the u.s. is based upon their interpretation of the book of revelation. they seek the annihilation of all jews following the "second coming." could we not say that lots of christian americans are actually anti-semitic? they want them all dead (eventually)...

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

//in any case, a lot of christian support for israel in the u.s. is based upon their interpretation of the book of revelation. they seek the annihilation of all jews following the "second coming." could we not say that lots of christian americans are actually anti-semitic? they want them all dead (eventually)...//

May I ask where in the Book of Revelation you found this? I have read this book hundreds of times and I do not recall ever reading this.

All_I_Can_Stands said...

It says nothing of the sort in Revelation.

ms. miami said...

lasunsett/aics- like i said, it's an interpretation of the book of revelation by some.

i've run across this in books (i'll try to recall which- it's been a while & i read a lot), i'll try to find something online today.

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

// like i said, it's an interpretation of the book of revelation by some.

i've run across this in books (i'll try to recall which- it's been a while & i read a lot), i'll try to find something online today.//


The only people that I know of that would interpret anything close to this, would be the Christian Identity church and other white supremacist organizations. This would hardly qualify them as being mainstream Christians.

As said I know of nowhere in Revelation or the Bible as a whole, that this could even be misconstrued, as such. Even the most fundamentalist organization does not teach this.

ms. miami said...

i don't have time to thoroughly research this at the moment, but let me offer you this bit from wikipedia:

dispensationalism is unique in teaching that the Church is a provisional dispensation, until the Jews finally recognize Jesus as their promised Messiah during the trials that dispensationalists envision coming upon the Jews in the Great Tribulation

http://tinyurl.com/od358

this would seem to indicate a view that jews need to convert to christianity in order to be "saved."

the article lists jerry falwell as among this group- he has a rather large following...

perhaps i am missing some nuance here and others can enlighten me.

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

//they seek the annihilation of all jews following the "second coming." could we not say that lots of christian americans are actually anti-semitic? they want them all dead (eventually)...//

VS.

//dispensationalism is unique in teaching that the Church is a provisional dispensation, until the Jews finally recognize Jesus as their promised Messiah during the trials that dispensationalists envision coming upon the Jews in the Great Tribulation//

Not that I am in full agreement with the dispensational doctrine, but the first statement you made is certainly a FAR cry from the second.

Wouldn't you say?

All_I_Can_Stands said...

Sorry if this gets too religious. I only comment along these lines when the topic comes up.

The Great Tribulation is not limited to the Jews, but will happen to all on earth. It is during this time that Revelation states the Jews will finally recognize Jesus as Messiah.

If you look at other books in the Bible you will see that at this time all the nations of the earth gather together to destroy Israel. At that time the Second Coming occurs and Israel is protected.

It only gets better from there, but I have said enough.

ms. miami said...

and what is supposed to happen, in this scenario, to those jews (or other non-christians) who do not convert at this point?

ms. miami said...

in any case, the idea is that jews should no longer be jews- seems a rather anti-semitic stance to me...

(btw-it's unfortunate that anti-semitism is the common phrase since muslim arabs are also semitic.)

superfrenchie said...

AICS: //The Great Tribulation is not limited to the Jews, but will happen to all on earth. //

I've already packed! I'm so scared... ;)))))

If that is not enough to figure out how stupid all those religions can be, I don't know what is!

Anonymous said...

"Many were angry that DeGaulle kicked American forces out of the country )"
Hmmm...? Could you please provide details about that one please? In my books the war debts France owed to the US were estinguished by the end of the 50', Général de Gaulle insisting then that it be repaid to the very last interest cent.
He asked the American forces to leave France in 1965 if my memory served me well, that is about 6 or 7 years after complete reimbursement of the war debt.

Flocon

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

//and what is supposed to happen, in this scenario, to those jews (or other non-christians) who do not convert at this point?//

There is just so deep, I wish to go into this kind of religious discussion. If I ever start a theological blog, I could conceivably address this (or not, I really do not know).

But I will say this:

1. My beliefs on this differ quite a bit from mainstream Christianity and that certainly includes Falwell.

2. It does not include the annihilation of Jews.

3. This is a much more complex topic that I could ever explain, in a few paragraphs. I cannot explain in a few seconds, on what has taken years to learn.


//it's unfortunate that anti-semitism is the common phrase since muslim arabs are also semitic//

I don't know if I would say it's unfortunate, but you are right in pointing out that is a gross misnomer. However, that's the functional term used, so we are stuck with it, until something else comes around.

ms. miami said...

My beliefs on this differ quite a bit from mainstream Christianity and that certainly includes Falwell.

lasunsett- fair enough.

i grew up in the south, so i can tell you that falwell & others with similar views have quite a following. (in fact, i grew up in an area where people are not just anti-jewish, but even anti-catholic..pretty much anti-anyone who doesn't totally agree with them)

my point, which i hope was relatively clear, was that a lot (not all) of american christian support of israel is not based on any sort of love and respect for the jewish people. so, if we want to start labeling people as anti-semites...

LASunsett said...

Flocon,

I keep waiting for someone else to chime in with a source for your claim that Franc paid its war debt.

I do not remember reading that France paid its war debt in full. I have a ton of books, none of them say that. Do you have a source? If you do, please post a link or a book title and I will be glad to take a look at it.

Anonymous said...

LA.

Affirmanti incumbit probatio...

You make a claim that France didn't pay her war debt without the faintest shadow of evidence and now you ask me to show evidence of the contrary...
I do not remember reading that France didn't pay its war debt in full. I have a ton of books, none of them say that. Do you have a source? If you do, please post a link or a book title and I will be glad to take a look at it.

"Affirmanti non neganti incumbit probatio": The burden of proof is upon him who affirms, not upon him who denies.

What am I to do with my first idea that your blog was a serious one if I stumble upon tricks as old as the world?

- There are little green men on Venus with 15 fingers on each of their 46 hands. If you have a source that shows evidence of the contrary I'll be glad to take a look at it...
- American woodcutters in Montana have the habit of feeding their swines with the unearthed ashes of black slaves who went over there between 1836 and 1858. If you have a source that shows evidence of the contrary I'll be glad to take a look at it...

Flocon

LASunsett said...

Flocon,

1. Let me say that I appreciate your input here, please feel to argue your points more often, if you wish.

2. Let me apologize for not being clearer in my response, which was done late at night, so brain cells were not hitting a particularly effective synapse.

3. The post I wrote had little do to with France's war debt and was thrown is as a sidelight. The post was about perception, not the war debt.

4. My history books do not comment a lot on what money France may have owed, may have paid back, or may not have owed or paid back. Many countries have owed money to the US, many have not paid all (in some cases any) of it back. We are used to getting stiffed. Why do we not think much about it? We just make more.

5. The only source that I mention is the source that I grew up with, which were the guys that got their asses shot at, in France, during WWII. I have spent time talking to war veterans from all wars from WWI on, that is what they told me when I was growing up.

6. The reason I asked for a link or a source was not to be a smart ass, but to learn. If France has, in actuality, paid their war debt; I will acknowledge it willingly, openly, and swiftly. But as I said, Americans are really not preoccupied with France's war debt, and it shows in the textbooks.

So if you have a source, please provide it and I will look at it. If you don't, then it's not going to make much more of a debate because like I said earlier, none of my books have addressed it, at least in WWII. After WWI and earlier, there were some disputes that were more of an issue and better covered.

L'Amerloque said...

Hi Folks !

Amerloque will certainly de-lurk on this one. (grin)

France paid off its WWII debts to the USA in 1963.

//Dès que le plan de stabilisation de décembre 1958 commence à produire ses effets, à partir de l'été 1959, il poursuit simultanément la reconstitution des réserves en or et en devises, qui augmentent de 3 milliards de dollars de 1958 à 1964, et le remboursement de la dette extérieure. Ce remboursement porte à la fois sur les tirages récents de la France au Fonds monétaire international, et sur les dettes contractées pendant et au lendemain de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale (dettes Prêt-Bail et emprunt Blum-Byrnes de 1946). Il est terminé en 1963.//

http://tinyurl.com/fq8vt

This was one of DeGaulle's priorities. It is a historical fact. It was only after the full repayment that DeGaulle was able to demand – successfully – the repatriation to France of all its reserves of gold held in the USA. It caused a huge stink in the media – and more ill-feeling against the French, alas. (sigh)

Oh, yes … the UK ? Still paying its debts … (sigh)

//The UK is about to pay off the last of its World War II loans from the US. But it hasn't always been so fastidious.

On 31 December, the UK will make a payment of about $83m (£45.5m) to the US and so discharge the last of its loans from World War II from its transatlantic ally. //

http://tinyurl.com/jgkkf

Of course, if one were to ask an American French-basher which of France or the UK has "paid its WWII war debts", one would probably (Amerloque hesitates to say 'undoubtedly') hear the word "France". (sigh).

Incorrectly, of course. Like so much else about France. It's all a matter of perception. (grin)

Back to lurking / vacation mode. (grin)

Best;
L'Amerloque

LASunsett said...

Thanks Amerloque for shedding some light on this subject. As I said to Flocon, our books do not cover it much. It just isn't an issue in my generation. But as for Flocon, his memory is shot like mine, he said his history books said the debt was paid in the 50s.

Anonymous said...

LA,

Thanks for your kind reply. Indeed I had'nt read your last answer since it wasn't on line when I posted mine or I didn't see it, Blogger can't help me here. Nor did I read L'Amerloque's one which settled the question.
Nonetheless and, before I leave my microscope, you wrote -in good faith I'm sure- something on your blog that participate to the dissemination of another myth than can so easily be exploited by Frenchbashers that I felt the need to react.
- "DeGaulle kicked American forces out of the country (while still owing money to the U.S.)"
I understand it's not that important on your side of the Atlantic and it's not in your books. But relying on what people who knew people who heard people etc. say the French debt hadn't been repaid is... insuffisant as a source of information.
- "But as for Flocon, his memory is shot like mine, he said his history books said the debt was paid in the 50s."
Now I wrote "In my books the war debts France owed to the US were estinguished by the end of the 50'" which meant 1959 in my mind but not having the precise date I refrain to be more specific. L'Amerloque provides the right answer, 1963, which is 4 years later. What a difference LA... that certainly permits to make fun of my shot memory...
- All in all, and I understand you being worn out with the subject, when de Gaulle asked the American forces to leave (1966) France didn't owe anything left to the US since 1963.
- Of course the British debt wasn't the subject of your thread nor of our exchange but I wanted to help you find a link related to the French not having paid their debt like I found one to show the Brits had (eventually) paid theirs. My bad?
- "Hell, I was not even in High School yet. I was merely using it to illustrate a larger point that you obviously did not get.
Now, now, when you have the courage and the talent to keep a blog running you must expect visitors to be interested in what they want to be interested in and select the part they feel like intervene about...
- LA, you wrote: "I keep waiting for someone else to chime in with a source for your claim that France paid its war debt."
With sentences like this one what do you expect? You write something wrong in the first place, I correct you and now you state that I make a claim that need to be proven...
Thanks L'Amerloque for chiming in...

LA, is Flocon still welcome on your blog? (smile)

Flocon

Anonymous said...

Hi L'Amerloque.

Thanks for your help. Did I get you wrong or did you write the contrary of what you thought?
"If one were to ask an American French-basher which of France or the UK has "paid its WWII war debts", one would probably (Amerloque hesitates to say 'undoubtedly') hear the word "France"."
Didn't you mean Britain?
Le grand air du Calvados? le cidre? les liqueurs locales...?
Bien à vous,

Flocon

LASunsett said...

Flocon,

But relying on what people who knew people who heard people etc. say the French debt hadn't been repaid is... insuffisant as a source of information.

Sometimes that is all you have.

Case in point, for so many years the German people never heard of the atrocities committed by the Nazis. I lived in Germany when the movie Holocaust was shown on German TV. Wives left husbands, children disowned their fathers, etc. All they had was what they were told. But when the movie was finally shown, many came to realize that there was much more to the story than they had been told all of those years.

In the case of the French war debt, all I had was what the crusty old vets said. Nobody that taught me in school spent any time at all on the subject, as there were far more important things to get covered. The only reason I used that example was to illustrate the attitudes of the men that were a bit agitated at DeGaulle's kicking the Americans out (which you will note that I, myself, did not condemn).


LA, is Flocon still welcome on your blog? (smile)

Absolutely.

Anyone with manners can comment on my blog, even if they do not agree with me. You, sir, are no exception. I only ask my commenters to refrain from the usual ugliness that can sometimes rear its ugly head, in the blogosphere. At the same time, I do not recommend that people who wear their hearts on their sleeve comment, because sometimes the ideas do get attacked and they may be apt to take it more personally.

I do not let any of this stuff get to me, it's just politics. I grew up with political discussions that got heated at times, nobody stopped loving anyone just because they disagreed with someone.

Because I have been to and lived at various points around the world, I can appreciate some level of diverse opinions, with one exception. I will not now, nor will I ever tolerate or respect an opinion that includes the justification for terrorism. a la Islamofascism.

L'Amerloque said...

Hi Flocon !

/*/ …/… Did I get you wrong or did you write the contrary of what you thought?
"If one were to ask an American French-basher which of France or the UK has "paid its WWII war debts", one would probably (Amerloque hesitates to say 'undoubtedly') hear the word "France"."
Didn't you mean Britain? /*/

Oh, yes: Flocon is spot on. (wide smile). Bien vu (et mal vu de la part d'Amreloque …) Amerloque thanks Flocon for the correction, of course. (grin)

/*/Le grand air du Calvados? le cidre? les liqueurs locales...?/*/

Amerloque's only excuse is the heatwave ! Fed up with the heatwave.

Also the fields are filled with weeds that have to be cut (by law: "chardons" must be chopped by the owner). Amerloque's son has fired up the Stihl weedwacker and has been going at it all day, for three days … noise. Fed up with the weedwhaker noise.

When the family takes a holiday, it prepares: cutting weeds is not vacation. It doesn't count in vacation time. (grin)

Best,
L'Amerloque