Sunday, June 29, 2008

March Of The French Cowboys

I have been on blogs that have certain regulars who write things which give the distinct impression, they feel French culture is superior to others. Certainly, they are entitled to their narrow views. But in the grand scheme of things, their folly sometimes doth precede them in the midst of their cavalier presentations.

I have read words like redneck, hick, and hilljack, as they present their arrogant and presumptuous opinions. With noses as high as Mt. Everest, they mock and ridicule Americans, especially those in rural and southern America. They perceive them as lacking in intelligence and class. And when visiting the US, they speak highly of the arts scene in NY, LA, or other high society cities that promote European art forms (over and above others that have no root, in the American continent).

Not all are this way of course, and to say so would come across as narrow-minded and bigoted. But many are and they know who they are.

These are they which prefer Achille-Claude Debussy, Guillaume de Machaut, and Pierre Boulez over Hank Williams (Sr. and Jr.), Willie Nelson, and Garth Brooks. They are also the ones that believe a classical waltz or ballet is far superior to a square dance or line dance, as meaningful expression of art. Personal preferences are a good thing to exercise, but not when one purposefully denigrates another to make their choice look better than it really is. (People do this, when their own self-esteem is low and need others to be in the tank with them.)


Why? You'd have to ask them, for I cannot speak for them. But I can say they will soon be forced to take a look at this attitude. I say this because, there is a new American import that appears to be gaining some serious popularity in the Republique.

They turn out in their hundreds in Stetsons and boots as hits such as the Crazy Foot Mambo and the Cowboy Strut echo around their village halls.

They are drawn by a love of American culture - although definitely not American politics - and a passion for line dancing, which enables them to swing but avoid all human contact.


Many of the people I write of claim that America has no endemic culture of their own. (And that which we do have have, has been borrowed from other countries.) They are partially right. But by the law of inference, this makes them partially wrong too. It is true that much of our culture is based on our European roots. But before the arrival of Europeans to this continent, there were a vast number of Indian tribes that had their own culture, independent of anything European. As time progressed, Americans of European ancestry witnessed an evolution of American culture, as well as the advent of other things that had no roots in European society at all.

This article points so distinctly points out that country music is becoming more popular than many would have us all believe, with line dancing now becoming more popular than they are willing to admit (publicly or privately). In Germany, C&W music has long been a favorite of many Germans.

But we can bet this story doesn't end here. Let's read on:


Now country and western has become so big in France that the country's bureaucrats have decided to bring the craze under state control.

The French administration has moved to create an official country dancing diploma as part of a drive to regulate the fad. Authorised instructors who have been on publicly funded training courses will be put in charge of line dancing lessons and balls.

We know it's serious in France, when the government feels the need to regulate something. In true French-style socialist fashion, we can see that government wants a piece of this action. Fees paid to sanctioning bodies are nothing new in a civilized society and many times they are good for the consuming public. It is highly understandable why we want healthcare professionals to be trained and licensed properly. But when people feel the necessity to regulate art, it would seem to be a bit of overkill.

This begs a few questions here. Can a position of Country Music and Line Dancing Minister be far behind? How about rodeos? Is this the end of Haute Couture as we know it?

My overall point to this post is not hard to grasp. These people (who will probably become slightly irritable when they read this) fail to see the value of anything that is different from their own narrow world. And yet, this is precisely what they accuse of many Americans of doing. So any healthy analysis of this man's opinion should not overlook one very important point, as one gives it a fair amount of thought:

This attitude has a name and it's called, hypocrisy.

7 comments:

Mustang said...

One would think that when faced with serious social challenges, as in replacing French culture with burgeoning Islamic mores and the virgin identification and accountability act, French aristocrats would focus on something other than the creation of a Département de l'empiétement et de la réduction de Billy de colline. But hey, what do I know? I live in the South.

LASunsett said...

//One would think that when faced with serious social challenges, as in replacing French culture with burgeoning Islamic mores and the virgin identification and accountability act, French aristocrats would focus on something other than the creation of a Département de l'empiétement et de la réduction de Billy de colline.//

As usual, I am with you.

Ironically, France has one of the better internal networks for fighting domestic terrorism. But unfortunately, there are many that feel those strong safeguards are enough to guarantee that France will not be hit. In the meantime, the underground may be probing for weaknesses. And eventually, they may find one and exploit it.

Greg said...

Département de l'empiétement et de la réduction de Billy de colline

Hilarious! Seriously - everything is regulated in France. Sometimes it gets ridiculous.

Besides regulation, another thing that is very francais that is revealed by the article is how there is an official training course for literally everything. To become just about anything in France - a cook, a toy maker, a baker, an office worker, a translator, a tour guide - you have to take a course of study designed specifically for the profession in question. Anyone who takes the course will be guaranteed to learn what they need to do the thing perfectly. People who are unemployed in France should really have no excuse to stay without work since low-cost work training for just about everything is available to everyone.

Greg said...

Forgot to mention - isn't "country dance" just old European folk dancing? Maybe it could be said that Europeans are rediscovering their roots, preserved by Americans all these years....

Rocket said...

Hey Guys

Don't laugh. When I arrived in France in the late 70s you could get 110% of your former salary if you were laid off if you took a training course.

90% of former salary on unemployment
20% of former salary for training

I knew a girl here who was laid off and had a German boyfriend so she took German.

In fact her entire professional life has been going from one job to another just long enough to qualify for unemployment and then getting a 3 month job when unemployment ran out.

Today things have changed.(LOL) You only get about 60% of former salary but for about 20 months.

Bonjour paresse!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonjour_paresse

LASunsett said...

//isn't "country dance" just old European folk dancing? Maybe it could be said that Europeans are rediscovering their roots, preserved by Americans all these years....//

My friend, what you describe here is the dance of the peasants. No real aristocratic Frenchman would be caught dead taking part in such a hideous display.

LASunsett said...

Rocket,

I read the link to Bonjour paresse. Sounds a lot like worker apathy to me.