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"It's French!" — "So is eating frogs, cruelty to geese, and urinating in the street, but that's no reason to inflict it on the rest of us."
Blackadder III

La douce France, officially known as the (Fifth) French Republic, is a country in western Europe. It is populated by cheese eating surrender monkeys[1] French people, the national language is French, and it has French food (cheese, bread, snails, horse, frog's legs and of course chocolate, can't forget the chocolate), French houses, French cars, French wine and other French stuff. They drive on the wrong side of the road (i.e. the right-hand side, not the left-hand side, which is, of course, the correct side of the road to drive on). They also have mimes, for no readily apparent reason, and they have yet to heed the call of British author Terry Pratchett to "learn the bloody words." They have no French fries or French toast, although they do have French maids. Oo-er missus.

France is blessed with such tyrannical deceitful monstrosities as universal health care,[2] a (relatively) high incidence of atheists, and a tendency to be a founding member of things such as the European Union and the United Nations. They also have a remarkable tendency to ignore other countries, a technique that the United States has borrowed and refined. French diplomacy is exemplified by the word: "non." They also like to pretend to be "above" all that racial nonsense, but racism is still a daily part of the world.

France is also blamed to have been a major proponent of the Enlightenment and such monstrosities as making children believe in the separation of church and state.


[edit] France at war

[edit] Before the mid-18th century

Nothing of interest occurred in the first millennium or so post Charlemagne. Apparently...

[edit] French and Indian War

France allied with Native Americans in the mid-18th century to fight the Brits over colonial possessions in North America. Ultimately, they lost what would become Canada, as well as numerous other interests. Arguably, their main mistake was picking the wrong Indians; they allied with Hurons and Algonquins against the Iroquois. The Iroquois then allied with Britain and fought well against both French and Americans for a century or so; of course this did not prevent the British from shafting the Iroquois later.

France then handed over the rights to the Louisiana Territory to Spain, an ally of the French, as compensation for Spain trading Florida to Britain for Cuba and a player to be named later. France then participated at the party known at the American Revolution on the side of the future U.S., which nearly bankrupted the country and was one of the major factors contributing to the French Revolution.

[edit] Napoleonic Wars

In the early 19th century, France managed to terrify the entire rest of Europe by both espousing some radical revolutionary rhetoric (and toppling a few churches), and then by conquering most of it. Napoleon won at least 6 out of 7 wars (enough for an NBA or World Series Championship), and expanded French borders down through Spain and up to the edge of Russia (with a huge German bit in the middle that didn't become a vassal). Napoleon managed something that had been unknown prior to his time - he got Germany, England, Russia, and Spain to all agree on trying to stop him. However, it was only after making the (soon to be classic) mistake of actually invading the largest country on earth that it started to go downhill.

[edit] World War I

There's something to be said about a war from which what was up to that point the most consistently war-happy country in the history of Europe (possibly in the world) came out disgusted with war altogether. Half-revisionist anecdotes aside (during the Battle of Belleau Wood, the Americans had to fight through the retreating French to get to the Germans. As the Marines were fighting their way through the retreating French, one of the French commanders asked Marine Captain Lloyd Williams why he wasn't retreating. In response, the Marine replied, "Retreat, Hell! We just got here!"[3][4][5]), the French did throw more men at this one war than America did in its entire history.

[edit] World War II

While France fought the Germans for some 4 years during the first world war, during the second the fighting lasted for less than two months before Paris fell. Blame the Maginot Line.

For the Nazi collaborationist regime, see Vichy France. While the Vichy regime ruled France from 1940 to 1944, Charles de Gaulle headed the Free French government in exile. Free French troops and underground anti-Nazi resistance within France helped drive the Vichy regime and Nazi occupation troops out of France starting with D-Day (June 6, 1944).

[edit] Vietnam

Some parts of the world laughed when the silly French couldn't beat a bunch of badly equipped guerrillas in the tiny little state of Vietnam. Oops.

[edit] Persuasion

Most modern forms of torture were developed by the French in Indo-China (Paola Condor) and Algeria (Philippeville), where their soldiers proved their mettle at fighting opponents tied to a chair, although faring less well against those running around shooting back.

[edit] Naval accomplishments

In 1985 French agents sank Greenpeace's ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland, New Zealand where it was waiting for other ships and boats prior to sailing to Mururoa Atoll in the Pacific to protest French nuclear tests (remember that this was when Greenpeace was still a respectable environmentalist group rather than a thinly veiled anti-everything movement). One man was killed.[6] This naval victory represents more ships sunk by the French than at Trafalgar, the Nile, Quiberon Bay, Saint's Passage, Chesapeake Bay, Vigo, Glorious First of June, Finisterre, Ushant (First and Second), La Hogue, and WWII - combined.

[edit] Blowing things up

France conducted its last atomic test in 1996.[7] France does still have its own nuclear weapons and strongly asserts their independence from the rather larger collection in America. France's nuclear policy can be summed up as "We don't give a merde about US nuclear policy. When the first Russian army boot steps over the frontier onto French soil, it's goodbye Moscow. Do I make myself clear?" The frogs France has never actually used its nuclear arsenal in anger. However, France's peacetime use of nuclear power is extensive, a massive 75% of its electricity is nuclear in origin.[8]

[edit] Iraq war

To the disappointment of many Republicans, France strongly opposed Bush's invasion of Iraq from the start. Like Germany, France did not send troops to Iraq.

Because of this snub, American right wing chickenhawks didn't like France for a time and renamed french fries "freedom fries" on the Congressional cafeteria menu in retaliation. Many private establishments followed suit, some maintaining the charade until late 2008. Since nobody outside of America (except Canada, Finland and Iceland) calls them "french fries," (preferring the term "chips") no one else really gave a fuck.

Around the beginning of the war Americans mocked France for its poor military record. The most well-known and lasting instance was the curious hack that entering "French military victories" into Google - it would then ask if you meant "French military defeats." Unlike other so-called Google Bombs such as "miserable failure," this has lasted, and can still work from most versions of Google.[9]

[edit] French traits

French women (and to a large extent, men) have a terrific sense of fashion, which explains why many fashion houses have grown and prospered there.

Perfume is a very French thing. Any rumours that this is because they hate to immerse their bodies in water is a vile canard.

France has laws to maintain the "purity of the language."[10][11] As well as an entire Academy devoted to keeping the language free of such annoyances as "Web," "CD," and "ROM." It should be noted, however, that French people use "Web", "CD" and "ROM" basically with a typical sense of French "I fart in your general direction" to the Academy.

[edit] Racism

France denies that races exist. No reference to race ever takes places in the public debate and there's no definition of race in any law. When someone wants to speak about black and Arabic French, he usually uses sentences like "French originated from immigration" or "Muslims" if he's a politician, "those people" if he's an everyday racist.

The idea of having to put one's race on a census is totally alien to the French, and the government does not maintain any statistics regarding the racial or religious makeup of the population. This renders very difficult any try at Affirmative Action.

This doesn't prevent France, as stated above, from having pesky little skirmishs pop up in the banlieues.[12]

[edit] Sexuality

If their voters are this hawt...

French tend to be quite open-minded about their fellow countrymen's sexuality. François Mitterand served 14 years as a president, from 1981 to 1995, while sustaining two families (on state money), without the media ever finding the fact noteworthy. Nobody except the extreme Christian right much cared when the mayor of Paris turned out to be homosexual.[13] And the fuss about now-former president Nicolas Sarkozy divorcing and marrying a model was more due to the bride being incredibly hot famous.

A lot of the male politicians have been known for their womanizing ways, and the news were met with reactions ranging from polite ignorance (in the case of them requiring all inclusive accommodations) to pride and admiration (in the case of them being known seducers). Of course, when IMF president Dominique Strauss-Kahn, known to be in the second category, was arrested for sexual assault in New York, that amounted to a kick in the collective unconscious groin of the French by the US, and a lot of conspiracy theories were dreamt of to excuse him.

Despite this sexual openness, France still didn't act on gay marriage until spring 2013, only allowing civil unions until then that lack sorely in terms of inheritance or protection of the surviving spouse. In May 2012, newly elected president François Hollande included the legalization of same-sex marriage in his list of legislative priorities.[14]

Unlike some other countries, homosexuals have been permitted to serve openly in the military since 1790.

[edit] French exports and inventions

France is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of wine in the world by volume and value. While some wine snobs claim that the only good wine is French, this is a less popular view today even within France. France is also known to make some mass-produced wine of such staggering mediocrity that even wine consumption by the French themselves has been falling in recent decades. Instead it is regularly distilled into industrial alcohol. Therefore saying "This wine is only good for stripping paint" now has a certain truth behind it.

A Frenchman invented canned food. An Englishman invented the can opener.

French revolutionaries also invented the Metric system, which was why the meter was originally defined as one ten-millionth of the distance between the north pole and the equator on a line running through Paris.

No, French fries weren't invented there (that was Belgium). Nor croissants (Austria), nor the French horn (Germany), nor French kissing. They also did not invent the largely defensive weapon of guillotine, although they were the last to use it in 1977.[15]

[edit] French politics

As a whole the French may seem more liberal than your average U.S citizen. Even if that is debatable, it's clear than some subjects are almost unheard of in politics. For most French seeing an American presidential candidate saying that he's pro-life or pandering overtly to a religious group is pure and simple madness. In the same bag, the French don't understand the discussion about creationism and the separation of the church and state. Oh, and they recently outlawed ostentatious religious signs in school, although they also banned burqas in public places, so make of that what you will.

[edit] Famous Francians

Important French people include the following:

  • André-Marie Ampère
  • Astérix
  • Simone Beck
  • M. Bigot
  • Napoléon Bonaparte (Corsican-born French)
  • M. Chauvin
  • Maurice Chevalier (Sank 'eaven for leetle girrlss -- He had more luck with that than Polanski)
  • Anacharsis Cloots
  • Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau
  • Marie and Pierre Curie (Marie born in Poland)
  • Daft Punk (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo)
  • Simone de Beauvoir
  • Brigitte Bardot
  • Gérard Depardieu
  • René Descartes
  • Georges-Auguste Escoffier
  • Michel Foucault
  • Victor Hugo
  • Christine Lagarde
  • Marcel Marceau
  • Blaise Pascal
  • Louis Pasteur
  • Pepé Le Pew
  • Jean-Luc Picard
  • Jean-Luc Godard
  • François Hollande, and Ségolène Royal, Valérie Trierweiler, Julie Gayet
  • Ségolène Royal (rehabilitated April 2014)
  • Jean-Marie Le Pen
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and Hélène Dumas, Brigitte Guillemette, Anne Sinclair, Myriam L'Aouffir and assorted hotel chambermaids
  • Zinedine Zidane
  • Donatien Alphonse Francoise, Marquis de Sade

[edit] Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc, or Jeanne D'Arc as the French insist on misspelling her name, is the French national symbol of resistance to foreign tyranny. She was killed by the English after the French Burgundians sold her to them.[16]

The British electronic band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the D'Arc Dark also wrote three songs about her that were UK chart hits - you know, the waltzy one with the bagpipes and all the drums called "Maid Of Orleans (The Waltz Joan Of Arc)," and the uhm other one that they called "Joan Of Arc," and the other other one they called "La Femme Accident."

Other notable OMD songs include "Enola Gay Of Arc," "Joan of Architecture and Morality," and "Joanetic Engineering." As if we didn't have bad puns already.

[edit] Notes et références

Icon fun.svg For those of you in the mood, RationalWiki has a fun article about France.
  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUjGf2Grrus
  2. The French have a strange obsession with delivering medicaments per anum: Suppositories are the favoured method of delivery.
  3. http://shootingmessengers.blogspot.com/2007/06/retreat-hell-we-just-got-here.html
  4. http://www.usmchangout.com/usmc/misc/quotes.htm
  5. http://spec.lib.vt.edu/archives/databook/text/chap2/2_11.htm Williams was promptly KIA, but on the plus side, got a posthumous promotion to Major and a building on the Virginia Tech campus named after him.
  6. BBC report on Rainbow Warrior
  7. France & The Bomb
  8. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf40.html
  9. The relevant page still appears first in a Google Search for the phrase
  10. France - French Language Law
  11. Workplace language law
  12. Also see the Front National
  13. (Insert "gay Paree" joke here)
  14. Mariage homosexuel : Hollande suscite craintes et espoirs. Retrieved 2012/8/1.
  15. http://archive.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/09/dayintech_0910
  16. It's...complicated.
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