L'Etat, C'est Troisieme Order

by Lorna Salzman

French in Suicidal Depression over Attacks from US Allies

Recent remarks by the American trade representative Robert Zoellick and Republican congressman Peter King from Long Island have sent France's economy sliding and created widespread public depression and remorse that threaten the European Union and the new Euro currency.

Incensed at the German, French and Belgian reluctance to embrace genetically modified foods and an American-instigated war against Iraq, Zoellick asserted that the Europeans were "Luddites" and "immoral". Adding fuel to the fire, Rep. King described France as a "third-rate country".

Parisians, not noted churchgoers, were gathering in droves at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, to pray and ask for forgiveness. At the Café Deux Magots, leading intellectuals on all sides of the political spectrum, including social critic Raymond Derrida and composer Pierre Boulez, met to discuss how the French cultural reputation could be resuscitated.

Apparently King's statement sent France over the edge into despondency and depression. The French Parliament took a one-day recess so MPs could visit their psychiatrists. At the United Nations in New York, the French ambassador to the US reportedly had a loud hissy fit in the French delegation office. His public statement, however, was restrained. Said the Ambassador: "We are chagriné, desolée, devasté and also pissé."

Meanwhile, on Long Island, Rep. King was interviewed by the print media, who asked for the basis of his charge that France was "third rate",and what criteria he used for this assessment.

Said King: "If you compare France to the US, there is no contest, no way, nohow. Our Mississippi Valley Cold Turkey vintage 2000 merlot beats their fancy Bordello wines hands down. We have Chicken McNuggets and all the French eat are smelly cheeses and fat livers. We have Calvin Klein and all they have are limp-wristed lightweights like Eve Saint Lawrence. We have SUVs that get 8 gallons to the mile and all they have are tinny cars like the Pushots".

As for which countries he considered first, second or third-rate, King amplified: "The US and Tony Blair's UK, plus Saudi Arabia which sells us lots of oil, are first rate. Most of the rest of the world is second-rate, including Venezuela, which used to be first rate when it shipped us oil and will become first rate again after we oust its leftist president. Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and France are definitely third-rate."

One reporter asked King what he thought of the 200-mile per hour TGV train that runs from Paris to the south of France. King paused and then said: "That's no big deal. It just runs from one part of a third-rate country to another part".

© 2002 Lorna Salzman. All rights reserved. Material may be quoted with permission.