May 19, 2002
Targeted Sanctions -- For France?

There have recently been calls to boycott France for voting in large numbers for Le Pen, or for being soft on Islamic terrorism, or for just generally being annoying. The fact that Woody Allen is against a boycott is certainly a strong point in favor. However, Instapundit (here, here, and here), Perry de Havilland of Libertarian Samizdata, and TurkeyBlog all have better objections. (Some links are not working yet.) As the last puts it:

If you want a French product, for God sakes, buy it. Seeing as it's a matter of international commerce, the money will most likely land in the pockets of those slowly taking apart socialism - or even help bring one more ordinary French person to the cause as he or she tries to hang onto his or her euros.

It seems to me that the TurkeyBlogger is half right, half wrong. As everyone agrees, the problem is not Frenchmen in general, but French politicians and intellectuals. We may not be able to boycott the politicians, but we can give up Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard, Lacan, and (especially) their epigones. If you want to read a French book, read Stendhal or Flaubert, Baudelaire or Victor Hugo, Valéry or Yourcenar -- in French, if you can handle it, otherwise in translation. For politics, there's always Raymond Aron. And any literary boycott should be extended to other countries, starting with Empire and any work authored, coauthored, or blurbed by Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Susan Sontag, or Gore Vidal. It's not as if we'd be missing much.

We definitely don't want to give up on Calvados or French cheeses. "Surrender monkey" is an insult any way you look at it, but what the Hell is wrong with "cheese-eating", Jonah? I'm particularly fond of the squishy, smelly ones. Is that unAmerican? My favorite is one called (I think) St. Felicien: the mold that covers it is the same shade of hunter's-safety-vest orange as the mold in the bathtub at my third-to-last apartment. Hmmm . . . there's bathtub gin, why not bathtub cheese?

Posted by Dr. Weevil at May 19, 2002 06:08 PM