France is back (sort of) on the cover of The Economist

You develop a thick skin when you’re an expat, regardless of where you’re from and where you end up living. I learned that early. 15 year olds aren’t kind to one-another and they can be downright cruel, sometimes without meaning to be, to a foreign exchange student who barely understand their southern accents and is dealing with culture shock. But guess what, pundits and american politicians are even worse. You should have heard some of the atrocious stuff I heard when I moved to Washington, D.C. It was 2003, the heydays of the Freedom Fries, and NOT a good time to be French in the United States. Things are better now, though making fun of the French is never going to go away, especially in politics. John Kerry was ridiculed for speaking French back when he was running for president in 2004, as was  Mitt Romney more recently. G-d forbids a candidate for the presidency would speak a foreign language, that’s just the worse thing ever right? Well, now it’s Obama’s turn to be mocked as “French”, appearing on the cover of the Economist in a béret and marinière, clutching a baguette (is there a new French bakery in D.C. I don’t know about? lol)… 


That’s another thing about being an expat, you have to get used to seeing your country reduced to a cliché… I cringe every time a news segment or a TV show mentions France and cues the obligatory accordeon music. I mean, can’t we move beyond that now? And the béret… please, I don’t know a single French person who owns one! So, The Economist is dedicating yet another (harsh) cover to the French. Yes, the idea of the cover is to criticize Barack Obama, but really it’s a back handed slap in the face of the French and our “socialist” ways. And that’s ok. French-bashing is like a hobby for the brits and with London now being one of the largest French cities in the world, we clearly do not hold it against them 😉
And that’s the last truth about being an expat… most of us left France for a reason and while we will always defend the motherland against all and any criticism, in the end, we think The Economist is onto something. But admitting that would be admitting that the brits can be right… and we just can’t have now can we 😉

2 thoughts on “France is back (sort of) on the cover of The Economist

  1. Oh my, c'est quoi cette couverture? It's funny…in my years in Paris, I mostly complained (how very parisienne of me huh?) about France and how I wished it was more like the U.S., now that I no longer live there (nor in the States), I wish the States could be more like France. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side as they say!


  2. I'm the same… when I was in France, I'd complain about all sorts of things, but now that I'm abroad it's different. I can say bad things about France (Hollande makes it real easy too) but no one else can 😉


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