The French sure seem proud of their culture. Indeed, we’ve told again and again that rudeness is a feature. That it magically disappears if you make the attempt to fit in, use the language and so on. So we did. And what I’ve found is that largely, that’s not particularly true. People who were inclined to be nice to you were already nice. People who were inclined to look down at you as lesser because you were a foreigner, well, you could speak perfect Parisian French to them and you’d still get treated like a yokel.
I know the snootiness, the superiority, the fashion consciousness, all that is part of the French cultural landscape, and they’re super proud of it (in Paris. In Bordeaux, I actually found people not too bad, minus the whole pedestrian/bike/traffic thing, in which I believe they are all trying to see how close to murder/death they can come). Wherever foreigners, and in particular, disabled foreigners were concerned, I think most of the people we dealt with, particularly in Paris, would have been happy to see us run over in the street.
But my thinking is that if being an asshole is cherished part of your culture, then maybe your culture needs serious reform. The same is true of right wingers and Republican culture: if your culture’s identity is based on being shitty to others, then it’s a shitty culture.
France has a lot to offer, but I think it needs to have a reckoning with itself and how it treats other people, internally and externally, because being a prick is never a feature.
It’s always a flaw.
Target: 1300 words
Written: 306 words, novel: Father Lightning