I dunno about this French = Coward thing.
It's been niggling me all night like a pea under a mattress.
It smacks of a form of antiquity illusion
, a mistaken belief that a linguistic concept is older than it really is.
I'm trying to think what it might really be.
We may ridicule the French, we may find them insufferable and unberarable, their fashion annoyingly chic (or daft), but one thing we'd never accuse them of is cowardice.
We've fought against them more times than we can remember and fought alongside them at the Somme and at Pashcendale. I challenge anyone to read the heartbreaking accounts of Verdun and dare to call them cowards.
Even in 1940 they lost 85,000 dead in the space of 6 weeks (that's 50% more than the losses in Vietnam over 10 years!!). You don't do that through cowardice you do that by fighting bravely in futile circumstances.
think that the US has historically suffered a cultural inferiority complex as regards France. The French (rightly or wrongly) were so assured of who and what they are, so bloody superior.
Britain traditionally had no issue with that because it had the quiet self-assured and god-given knowledge that it
was in fact far superior*, the US has by definition had to carve out an identity and has never had a real bedrock, more like a cocksure teenager, to FRance's grizzled old man.
Ultimately my instincts tell me that Chick has hit the nail on the head.
It all came about when they refused to sign up to our dirty little war in Iraq.
Besmirching the French national character made us feel better about ourselves as we launched an idiotic war rather than face up to the fact that they were actually being eminently sensible.
By all means ridicule their 'seely leetle 'ats', but cowards? I think non.
I'm overthinking things again aren't i!!!
*Mind you I'm not sure this holds true for either of France or Britain as we struggle to find our roles in a post imperial world and what national identity is in a post multicultural age. I think the US will also have to come to terms with the former sooner or later but is better placed to deal with the latter as it is in many respects has by definition had to manufacture an identity and has multiculturalism in its very genes.