Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

French Products

My mother called me the other day to ask me a couple of specific questions about French products. I was surprised at what she was doing: She was angry at the French and she was looking for anything made in France in her home, or anything made by a company that was mostly owned by France. She was going to throw all French products out and make sure to never buy any more. Well, the truth is I could only come up with Perrier, Michelin, and Rocquefort cheese. While she had nothing French in her house, she is determined not to buy anything French. So I sent her the enclosed list. Some of the items on it may surprise you, e.g., Car and Driver Magazine, Motel 6, Glenlivet, Wild Turkey Bourbon, and Jerry Springer. Worth a look.

Discussions - 2 Comments

Motown is owned by the French? After Baghdad, on to Paris!

I have my doubts about this list... e.g., the french control "Veritas Group"?(I have never heard of such a group, but if the name has a meaning it isn’t connected to the french)

Seriously, the list is impressive by itself. The next step would be to look at what all the germans create/own. Makes you step back and wonder at the global origins of the products we use daily. What would someone like Churchill say about such globalization? Is there or is there not a dangerous element in this sort of "efficient trend"? (something I can’t put my finger on in terms of human freedom) Is there something to the Rousseauist criticism of modern society? Namely that western civilization directs history via this sort of efficiency, or rather that efficiency forces a particular sort of developement in culture/government in order to survive?

In a sense isn’t this a large part of what the french (socialist/welfare govs., Europe in general) are struggling against? In what sense is the truly american answer, simply buying the best quality product at the lowest price? It seems the french are ahead of us in terms of product boycotts "McDonalds, EuroDisney". What sort of similarity would be shown by our acting likewise? Does the US crave certain elements of french culture, (bourbon, champagne, and DKNY) and do the french give us Jerry Springer as "strawman" american culture in order to further this sort of "aesthetic/cultural" dependence? This is not unrelated to Bush and cowboy boots. The french are pissed because we ignore them when they think they have a richer history, better culture, a more refined taste, in short the moral high ground. Americans refusing to accept this form of sophisticated trickery would be interesting, but amazingly this would seem to entail not even carring about the origin of the product as long as we were satisfied with its quality. I say this because boycotts can degenerate into too much preoccupation with "seeming" rather than "being", and in the end this is precisely what the french try to exploit in our markets.(Boycotts can potentially turn into political expressions of a false moral superiority) The use of certain french products can betray a desire to be embrace french culture, and is a confession of low-self esteem in terms of our own cultural identity(this is part of it, the other half is really an aristocratic nolstagia, a desire to know wines and cheeses) But the thing that makes many of these products surprising is that we don’t think of them as french at all, that is why it doesn’t make sense to boycott them. Americans love cars, this is pure! When we pick up car and driver we think of Detroit, that which is american. If you throw a party at the motel 6 and drink bourbon whiskey odds are you aren’t thinking of the french, until the next morning when you are looking for someone to blame for the headache. When the average american reads about a car tested on the autoban in Germany, he is wishing to be free to speed and test himself and his machine, he doesn’t stop to think that those highways were constructed by Adolph Hitler. Americans don’t suffer from the same sort of cultural/historical/national awareness, that Europeans do, and this is also part of the criticism oftentimes echoed concerning how we lack "enlightenment". But this is a sort of honest freedom, we like quality in our products, for this higher quality we aren’t as "socialy conscious". While the french seem to be sensitive to american culture, we don’t even recognize "quality" as having a culture.

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