Sometimes I think the French are too easy of a target for ridicule. Yes, they generally act like the 15-year-old girl of the international community. Their insecurity over their status and popularity among their peer group manifests itself in vindictive back stabbing and supercilious gossiping and snarling as they try to play one supposed friend off another to further their own jealous interests.
Pretty much everyone in America knows this to be true, at least those who have a knowledge of history and who keep up with current events. And while we’ve correctly chided and ridiculed the French over the past few decades, and it’s been fun, I think we’re about at the point where references such as “cheese eating surrender monkeys” and it’s many variants are no longer funny, since it’s not surprising any more (surprise being a key determinant of humor).
But reading the most recent musings from a master of ridicule, Jonah Goldberg, I think I may be wrong about French bashing no longer being a productive vein of comedy. In his NRO column Friday, entitled Le Chutzpah, Goldberg draws fresh blood and fresh laughs with a multitude of zingers aimed at the soft white underbelly of the French. Here are a couple of my favorites, but the entire column merits reading:
On Wednesday, French president Jacques Chirac declared: "As far as we are concerned, war always means failure and therefore everything must be done to avoid war."
Not only does this encapsulate French military philosophy... it summarizes the full extent of the mainstream antiwar movement's "argument." This shouldn't be news to anybody by now, but just to clarify: If you go into every situation saying there's absolutely nothing worth fighting over, you will inevitably end up on a cot sleeping next to a guy named Tiny, bringing him breakfast in his cell every morning, and spending your afternoons ironing his boxers. Or, in the case of the French, you might spend your afternoon rounding up Jews to send to Germany, but you get the point.
Consider for a moment the current French position — and, no, I don't mean prone. This week they announced that containment works. The French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, declared, "Already we know for a fact that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs are being largely blocked, even frozen. We must do everything possible to strengthen this process."
Well, if France knows for "a fact," then France also knows for a fact that Iraq has such weapons programs. After all, you can't block or freeze what doesn't exist (if you don't find this logic compelling, go right now and tell your wife that your longstanding efforts to bed Filipino hookers have been "largely blocked, even frozen" by her constant inspections into your bank account and that she therefore has no reason to take a more aggressive posture towards you. Then, see what happens).