MARTY RUSSELL: The French need swift kick in the derriere

With all due respect to my colleague and unrepentant Francophile Rheta Grimsley Johnson, the French are a bunch of snobs.
As you may have heard, the French government invited President Barack Obama to take part in the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy this weekend.
The invasion broke the back of the Nazi occupation of much of Europe, including France, during World War II. This year’s anniversary is likely to be the last observance of the battle attended by actual survivors of the event.
Unfortunately, no such invitation was extended to the British or the Canadians, the two primary allies with the United States in the invasion that took place on June 6, 1944.
During the offensive, approximately 6,600 Americans, 2,700 Brits and about 1,000 Canadians died trying to save France’s derriere from the Nazis.
The snub has apparently left Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in a snit. After the French, as an afterthought and amid all the uproar, said the queen was welcome to come too if she wanted, the queen essentially told the French where they could stick their Eiffel Tower. Good girl.
So why are the French such rude snobs? They wouldn’t even have a country today if not for us.
And what have the French really contributed to the world? From where I sit France’s only cultural contributions have been French fries and mimes, neither of which are good for you.
And there’s even some dispute over whether French fries actually originated in France.
The Belgians claim to have invented fried potatoes years before the French. So maybe we should be calling them Belgian fries instead. We could have some with our Belgian waffles.
Which brings up another French snub, France’s refusal to join in the invasion of Iraq.
While you could argue that nobody, including the United States, should have participated in that debacle, France could have at least spared a troupe of mimes to confound the enemy.
That snub led, briefly, to Americans renaming French fries American fries in protest. No word yet on whether the British will no longer serve chips – French fries – with their fish.
Maybe President Obama, after learning of the French snub of the British at this year’s D-Day anniversary, should have declined the invitation.
Or maybe he could have just sent an American emissary instead, someone who would have made the point that we, like the British, were not amused. How about comedian Jerry Lewis? I hear the French love him.
Or maybe it’s time for another invasion of Normandy.
I’m sure the British would go along. Only this time, after we’ve secured France, let’s give it back to the Germans and see how they like the alternative.
Maybe then they’ll learn some manners.

Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 222 Farley Hall, University MS 38677 or by e-mail at marusse1@olemiss.edu.

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