Jewish World Review March 21, 2003 / 17 Adar II, 5763

David Grimes

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It's time to be nice to the French | While Americans may be divided about the wisdom of going to war with Iraq, we are pretty much unanimous in our dislike of France.

Apparently we can tolerate our own citizens being against the war, but we find it unacceptable if other governments have misgivings.

I would certainly not want to throw any more fuel on this fire or, as the French might say, throw any more escargot into the garlic butter. I think the French and American people have a lot more in common than they might think and that a lot of ill will and misunderstanding could be eliminated if we could all just sit down together and have a nice talk. (If our French host brings the wine, we promise to bring the Chee-tos.)

With the help of Babel Fish, my favorite Internet translation tool, I offer some suggestions as to how such a conversation might go:

"What would have made you change your mind about going to war with us in Iraq?" (Que vous inciterait à changer d'avis au sujet d'aller en guerre avec nous à lencontre l'Irak? )

"Peut-être si vous trouviez des truffes accroître à Bagdad." (Maybe if you found truffles growing in Baghdad.)

"It's been said that going to war without the French on your side is like going hunting without an accordion." (On lui dit qu'aller faire la guerre sans Français de votre côté est comme la chasse allante sans accordéon.)

"C'est irrespectueux. La France a une tradition militaire fière." (That is disrespectful. France has a proud military tradition.)

"General George Patton once said he would rather have a German division in front of him than a French one behind him." (Le Général George Patton une fois que dit il aurait plutôt une division allemande devant lui que française derrière lui.)

"Devez-vous des Américains toujours évoquer la guerre mondiale deux?" (Must you Americans always bring up World War II?)

"Just out of curiosity, do you speak German?" (Juste hors de la curiosité, parlez-vous allemand?)

"Non." (No.) "You're welcome." (Vous êtes bienvenu.)

"Vous des Américains êtes les cowboys insouciants. Vous rendez-vous compte que Paris soit le berceau de la civilisation occidentale?" (You Americans are reckless cowboys. Are you aware that Paris is the cradle of western civilization?)

"P.J. O'Rourke said in 1989 that the French are a smallish, monkey-looking bunch and not dressed any better, on average, than the citizens of Baltimore." (P.J. O'Rourke a dit en 1989 que les Français sont un smallish, singe-regardant le groupe et non habillé mieux, en moyenne, que les citoyens de Baltimore.)

"Je n'ai pas été à cet endroit, Baltimore." (I have not been to this place, Baltimore.)

"What do you call a Frenchman advancing on Baghdad?" (Qu'appelez-vous un Français avançant sur Bagdad?)

"Je ne sais pas." (I don't know.) "A salesman." (Un vendeur.)

"What's the most common expression in the French language?" (Quelle est l'expression la plus commune dans la langue française?)

"Je donne vers le haut." (I give up.)

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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