I guess the French are being hurt economically (drop in tourism of circa $500 million, for example) because they have hired Woody Allen to say "I don’t want to freedom kiss my wife. I want to French kiss her," in a TV spot. Judging by Chirac’s taut body language (and Bush’s ease) at Sharm el-Sheikh, they know they are hurting. But Woody Allen isn’t going to help them; actions will speak louder than marketing.
It seems to me that this French attitude toward the U.S., as it’s revealed in this ABC story, is a perfect reflection of how they don’t understand Americans. It would seem that while they are quite angry about the french-freedom fries issue, they do not see that that sort of silliness is the way Americans’ deeper resentment manifests itself. The resentment against the French is so deep that the Woody Allen gig will do nothing but make us laugh at them. It will not get any more people to Paris. Only better behavior on the part of the French will do that. The French don’t see this because they think we’re not very smart; just a bunch of cowboy-Americans who would rather drink a Coke than a fine glass of Bourdeaux, rather have a greasy burger than a crepe; such people are easily influenced by the most European of all American humorists by seeing him say something amusing on TV a few times. Wrong.
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