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MikeP



Number of posts : 4
Registration date : 2007-05-10

Freedom of speech Empty
PostSubject: Freedom of speech   Freedom of speech EmptyWed Aug 01, 2007 9:55 am

France seems to have pretty repressive laws regarding freedom of speech. So much for the great democracy it pretends to be.

In fact, the French claim to be the greatest and the best in many areas, food, culture, fashion, beauty, technology, cars, wine and so on. The reality is very different, other nations are streets ahead in most of these areas and the only thing that the French are good at is hype, autopropaganda, marketing themselves, puffing themselves up and adopting a pompous and belligerent attitude to anyone who dares to disagree with anyone or anything French.

The Cote D'Azur, for example, is renowned. For what? Here's a piece I wrote a few years ago and it is if anything truer today than it was then.

This very reputation for superb weather, perhaps above any other single factor has made the Cote D'Azur what it is today, a haven for the rich, the jet set, the posers, and their hangers-on, the exploiters. It has exposed the baser instincts of people who might otherwise not have succumbed to what seems to me to be the hallmark of the Cote D'Azur -total materialism of the worst kind.

Behind their smiles, handshakes, and 'bise' ('air kiss'), these are the coldest, meanest, falsest, and most materialistic and mercenary people I have had the misfortune to encounter in 30 years living in 5 countries on two continents, and travelling extensively in others. Other nations have a reputation, often undeserved, for being cold or 'stand-offish', but there you know what to expect. What you see is what you get. Here, behind the superficial smile and the limp dead-fish automatic reflex action handshake, or the ubiqitious and meaningless 'bise', lurks an ice-cold heart and a calculating mind. The smiles vanish like the morning dew in the sun once the bill is presented.

The locals complain about people who holiday here bringing everything with them, but the reality is that they have become the victims of their own rapacious greed. Not only are prices pitched higher in this part of France (and France has one of the highest direct and indirect taxation levels in Europe) than elsewhere, but they are raised in the summer for the unsuspecting tourist. Mysterious unpublished supplements appear. I have heard of 10 Francs per item added to a cafe bill 'because you are sitting outside'. Dishonesty is rife amongst landlords - it is rare for anybody to have their deposit returned on rented accommodation. Fictitious bills for major repairs or cleaning are produced by grasping landlords to justify the retention of deposits. The estate agents are always on the side of the exploiter - indeed are themselves exploiters. The one I rented my house through charged a monthly 'frais d'envoi' to send the rental statement - a trifling amount but typical of the all-pervading greed.

Local cuisine leaves much to be desired. Small portions of poor quality food tarted up and disguised by fancy sauces and names, on attractive plates, obviously fool most of the people most of the time, despite (or because of?) the exorbitant prices. Mediocre French wines are presented with reverence and pride to people unaware that at least 6 other countries produce far better wines at a fraction of the price. Perhaps they are just misled by the one thing that the French really are good at, which is marketing themselves and their products.

French chic, French style, class, are world famous. Why? Apart from in glossy magazines, I have seen proportionately fewer attractive, well-groomed people here than anywhere else I have ever been to. Most of the women, sullen and unsmiling, look as if they have a bad smell under their nose (which is often the case). Why do they imagine that pouring perfume over themselves is a substitute for bathing? One of my 'French' experiences was having to evacuate and ventilate my office after a co-worker had been to see me, so that I could escape the embarrassment of any other visitor thinking that it was me who had not bathed for three months. In many cases, a cross between a viper and a pig would make a more attractive mate than the average young French female. Local folklore says that when a snake bites a man, the man dies. When a snake bites a woman, the snake dies. Whoever wrote that certainly knew something about the women here.

One of the few people I know who has tried to break into the tight knit French community by meeting locals tells me that the first topics of conversation are who they know, how wealthy and important they are, and how magnificent their homes are. Strangely, one never gets invited to these homes, which leaves me wondering how they really live.

Whilst the French like to think of themselves as anarchistic and ungovernable, each is a petty bureaucrat whose mission in life is to ensure that everyone else observe the rules that he alone can ignore. Boring, humourless and predictable, they are faithful slaves to dogma such as the one that dictates that 'you must always carry your papers', and will barely walk to the front gate without the little designer clutchbag containing the 'papers'. Similarly, no flexibility exists in the matter of eating, the very 'raison d'etre' of most Frenchmen. Anyone working in a large company can set his watch at twelve o'clock as the workers swarm 'en masse' to lunch.

Dishonest, grasping, avaricious and unpleasant people are everywhere. The difference is that elsewhere they are few and far between, and as such, conspicuous and easy to avoid.

In many ways France enjoys a first world infrastructure whilst suffering from a third world mentality. First world technology in the hands of simple minded peasants who, were it not for massive grants from a crazy system of subsidies, would still be ploughing fields whilst looking up their donkeys' backsides, is a lethal combination.


This, although I do believe in what I'm saying, is deliberately meant to be provocative and to get up peoples' noses. I know that were I to place a similar comment on another and somewhat better known bulletin board it would be swiftly removed by the censorship, who refuse to allow anything other than veiled and gentle criticism of 'La Belle France' or anything that therein is. Nor is any real 'debate' allowed.

I wonder what will happen here?
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Winny

Winny

Female
Number of posts : 11
Age : 56
Emploi : Artist
Loisirs : Art/translation
Registration date : 2007-07-15

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PostSubject: Re: Freedom of speech   Freedom of speech EmptyWed Aug 01, 2007 9:24 pm

Hi,

Let me tell you that your description of the French is deeply sarcastic, I'm a Foreigner but I live in France during 14 years there is some realities in your speech , well every community in the world has it's positif and negatif sides, it depends on how you integrate yourselve within the french society, i am not defending them but I respect in general every community and if I don't agree with them I choose another direction.
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MikeP



Number of posts : 4
Registration date : 2007-05-10

Freedom of speech Empty
PostSubject: Re: Freedom of speech   Freedom of speech EmptyThu Aug 02, 2007 9:07 pm

Quote :
Let me tell you that your description of the French is deeply sarcastic

No it's not. It's my view. And I don't need you to tell me anything, thank you all the same. No sarcasm at all.

Quote :
if I don't agree with them I choose another direction

In other words, "if you don't like it go 'home' ", that old tired cop out. Yawn. Some people are here because for whatever reasons they have to be, not because they came here to enjoy this so-called 'Paradise in the sun' with all the filth, corruption, pollution, nastiness, high prices, ripoffs, and scams.

I really resent this attitude that some people adopt that those of us who live here or work here owe France and the French a debt of gratitude. That is absolute codswallop, if anything it's the other way around. Most of us pay more in taxes and charges than the locals, keep the economy going, and have literally pulled the local peasants out of the shit.

You don't like hearing that .... sorry ... tough.
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Admin
Admin
Admin

Male
Number of posts : 7
Age : 54
Localisation : Nice/France - Bali/Indonesia
Emploi : International real estate agent
Loisirs : beach, internet, reading
Registration date : 2007-04-25

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PostSubject: FREEDOOM   Freedom of speech EmptyFri Aug 03, 2007 1:46 pm

Winny is right.

If you do not like a place and whatever the reason; it's better to move somewhere else where you will feel better. tongue
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MikeP



Number of posts : 4
Registration date : 2007-05-10

Freedom of speech Empty
PostSubject: Re: Freedom of speech   Freedom of speech EmptyFri Aug 03, 2007 9:14 pm

Quote :
If you do not like a place and whatever the reason; it's better to move somewhere else where you will feel better

Correct, but maybe not possible for the time being. I will be out of this place soon though, and with relief. Mine and many other peoples' I'm sure.
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denverd0n



Number of posts : 2
Registration date : 2007-05-23

Freedom of speech Empty
PostSubject: Re: Freedom of speech   Freedom of speech EmptyTue Aug 14, 2007 7:01 pm

Well, I don't wish to offend, but you said you were being deliberately provocative, so here goes...

It has always been my experience that I get back what I give and what I expect. An example is my recent visit to Paris on business, with a business colleague. He had very stereotypical expectations of the French. He expected the Parisians to be rude and standoffish. He also had decided that he didn't really "like" the French because of their politics.

Guess what? He didn't enjoy it. He found the people to be rude. He found them to be standoffish. He constantly suspected that they were trying to take advantage of him (and they probably were!). He couldn't figure out why they wouldn't be helpful and speak English to him when he would start every interaction--not with "hello" or "how are you"--but with a loud "DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH??" And then, when in response to this they (very reasonably, in my opinion) would only speak French to him, he would get testy, annoyed, and rude himself.

I, on the other hand, had no problems. I found everyone to be friendly and helpful. I don't know very much French, but I would try as best I could and they would quickly take pity on me (or maybe on themselves!) and between my French and their English we would get along just fine.

You get back what you give and what you expect. That, at least, has always been my experience.

(I will, however, readily admit that the closest I've come to visiting the Riviera was a brief stay in Marseilles. Maybe it really is different than anywhere else I've ever been. I'd be surprised, but maybe.)
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