“Oh, the French don’t like Americans.”
I hear that response often when I tell people of my affinity for traveling to France and my increasing desire to spend more time in that country. I can’t resist the food, the pastries, and, especially, the Wine!
Yet there seems to be an unfounded belief here at home that the French are not particularly fond of us [Americans].
Sure, the French government has not been a supporter of the current U.S. administration’s Iraq policy, and sure, some U.S. lawmakers decided “French fries” should be called something entirely different.
But putting global politics aside, I think there is a love/hate relationship going on between our two countries. Especially in popular culture.
During a recent trip to Paris, by far one of the most stunningly beautiful cities I have visited, I experienced something of a culture collision, a “past-hit-in-the-face-by-the-present” kind of moment.
There I was, gazing up at the world famous Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower). The awe-inspiring and simply amazing structure was built in 1889 by Gustave-Alexandre Eiffel (who also created the framework for the Statue of Liberty).
It was dusk. Throngs of tourists from all corners of the globe scurried about the base of the tower, awaiting the evening spectacle. Any moment, thousands of lights would bring the tower to life in a dazzling show. It is, by far, one of the most beautiful monuments one will ever see, and nothing screams P-A-R-I-S more!
As I patiently waited in the long line to purchase my ticket to ride to the top of the tower, I heard an all-too-familiar sound.
Thump – Thump – Doosh – Thump – Doosh.
My gaze followed my ears. And there it was. An oversized, American-model black vehicle – perhaps a Dodge Charger, booming Hip-Hop music. It had huge silver, spinning rims. Solid black tinted windows. The door opened. Out stepped a young man. He was wearing a white Adidas sweat suit with pants drooping below his bottom, a baseball cap pulled to the side, and several layers of jewelry. He sported a neatly groomed goatee. He looked like he had stepped straight out of a music video.
What, I asked myself, is wrong with this picture? The two scenes simply did not match! Throughout my France vacation, I spotted similar culture clashes.
American music – everywhere! U.S. imported TV shows. Hit movies direct from Hollywood. And our pop-culture fashions – everywhere!
Maybe the French don’t like U.S. politics, but I think they love what we have to offer!
Julia Yarbough, a news anchor at NBC 6 and CW News at Ten, writes periodically on her outdoor adventures.
Julia Yarbough • Julia.Yarbough@nbcuni.com