With friends like these, who needs enemies?
I have to admit, I don't understand the French. I've tried.
To me they seem insecure and neurotic-
Continually trying to protect the "Frenchness" of their language....
no English terms, please!
In parts of Canada, signs must be bilingual, and some there fought against including English in signage and documents at all.
A large portion of the population there continually strives for independence.
Can you guess which part?
I've heard and read horror stories about the way English speakers were treated in Quebec.
The French have been duplicitous about Western efforts to prosecute the war in Iraq.
Opposing U.S. efforts in the U.N. to control Saddam Hussein, they participated in looting millions and millions of dollars from the corrupt "Oil For Food" program. Got caught at it too, but nothing much has come of it. They then sold weapons and other equipment to the Hussein government which were used against Allied troops.
Now they are an impediment to the establishment of U.N. sanctions against Iran and Iran's attempts to enrich uranium. From my viewpoint, it seems that much of their behavior is based not on common sense, but on the basis of "if the U.S. supports the issue, we must oppose it."
Yeah, that makes a lotta sense!
Okay.......... Deep breath.
Having said all that, there are some things the French do better than anyone in the world. I try to avoid purchasing things French when I can, but there are instances where that is counter-productive.
I bought my first set of Michelin radial tires in 1968, when most had never heard of them. I've bought Michelins since. My opinion is that for the money, they are still the best all-around tires in the world.
And the French build damn fine aircraft.
If you've studied aviation history, you know the French have been involved since the days of our friends, Wilbur and Orville.
The Bleriot, at the time it was built, was incomparable. While Wilbur and Orville built Biplanes, Louis Bleriot built a relatively slick Monoplane, and was the first to fly his airplane across the English Channel.
If we in the U.S. wanted to imitate the French and eliminate French words from our language, we'd lose much of our aviation terminology:
Hangar. (Not Hanger...... please!)......
All of French derivation. I'm sure there are a hundred more I could list.
Back in 1984, '85, and '86, I flew an Aerospatiale AStar 350D for a large construction company.
Typical of the French, the rotor turned the opposite direction from American helicopters, so I had to relearn how to use my feet for anti-torque reaction.
(It also made it difficult switching from the AStar to the Hueys and R22s I was also flying at the time!)
The AStar was similar in size and price to the Bell 206 series, which I had flown a lot. But, in my opinion, there was no comparison in passenger comfort between the two aircraft. The Bell was noisier and slower. A housing for the Cyclic and Collective controls, called "the broom closet", separates the Pilot from the passengers in the 206 JetRanger/LongRanger. The cabin in the AStar is open, like riding in a touring car.
I grudgingly had to admit, the French machine is just a better people mover.
So now comes the big question:
I try to avoid things French whenever I can. Most generally there are simple alternatives so that choosing another path is not too painful.
But how far do you carry that initiative? If the French product is superior to everything else in the market, you are actually doing damage to the overall market if you buy the inferior product, aren't you?
I don't buy French Wines,
I don't do business with Target stores.
I don't buy "Car and Driver" magazine.....
all owned by French companies, but easily sidestepped by buying equivalent products.
But not long ago I bought 4 new tires for Big Bubba's car, and they were Michelins. I wanted nothing but the best beneath him.
And given the choice between buying an AStar and a comparable Bell product right now, I'd probably buy French.
I'd have to grit my teeth, but eventually, I'll get over it.