Sunday, May 21, 2006
A French-owned travel agency conducted an online poll and got a very disturbing result:
The French have been voted the world's most unfriendly nation by a landslide in a new British poll published. They were also voted the most boring and most ungenerous.
A decisive 46 percent of the 6,000 people surveyed by travellers' website Where Are You Now (WAYN) said the French were the most unfriendly nation people on the planet, British newspapers reported.
The Germans have no to reason to celebrate the damning verdict. They came second on all three counts.
OK, I have a question. In fact, I call bullshit. How can the most unfriendly nation also be the most boring? If you look at regions of the United States, unfriendliness seems to be more correlated with excitement than with boredom. Why would it be different in Europe?
Your comments, which are bound to be less shallow than this post, are most welcome.
I don't know. I have found Seattle to be friendly and not the least boring. Same with San Antonio or even Chicago. I was actually quite surprised with Chicago, I wasn't expecting it to be nearly as friendly as it turned out to be.
On the other hand I found Wilmington, Delaware to be both boring and unfriendly. Same with Wilmington, California. Wilmington, North Carolina is friendly but boring. Los Angeles can be exciting but has a surface only skin-deep kind of friendly. People will smile and say nice things when they meet you but they have no idea who the neighbors are two doors down.
Some of the observed excitement might also depend on what one finds exciting. Las Vegas can be exciting or boring depending on if you gamble or not. It isn't particularly friendly either.
I have found that the friendlier a place is, the greater the percentage of natives populate it, with the exception of New England which tends to be crabby by nature but exciting if you like boating or skiing or other outdoor activities.
The midwest is friendly and boring, the west is both exciting and friendly (mostly) for me. I find the south to be friendly and boring. It all probably depends on the individual but I think I will take friendly over exciting anyway. I can always go visit exciting but I think I would like to live in friendly.
The French and the English are on either side of a moat. They are natural enemies. The Scots are on the other side of the English, so are natural allies of the French.____One reason the French seem unfriendly to the English is that unlike most Europeans, they do not like speaking English. Of course, the English have no intention of speaking any foreign language. So a certain amount of mutual incomprehension prevails. The Battle of Agincourt has not been forgotten, either.
How can the most unfriendly nation also be the most boring?
Because there's very little to do, but when you try to do it the locals are rude, arrogant and deliberately unhelpful.
This applies mostly to Paris, and whilst there are things to see and do, (The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Moulin Rouge, the Louvre not to mention Euro Disney*) the locals can make these exciting experiences disagreeable.
French cooking can be amongst the best in the world, but French cuisine, especially in Paris, is served by pretentious and disdainful staff, and the experience is unpleasant enough to make McDonalds one of the most popular eating places in Paris.
* I said not to mention Euro Disney!
I enjoyed the article's mention of the newspaper editorial noting that the French smell bad. I have run into groups of French tourists in various countries on different continents and, without exception, they stunk.
I guess B.O. is considered sexy among the Gallic. When Napoleon was headed home for some R&R, he is said to have sent a message to Josephine, "Don't bathe." I doubt the idea had occurred to her in any case.
After WWI, there was a survey done among returning American soldiers, asking them who they liked and who they didn't. The only group that was liked less than the French were the Arabs. American soldiers had come to France to fight and die, but the French found myriad ways to cheat them out of their pay.
France gets its fair share of British tourist visits, and is of course the #1 tourism destination in the world. When you look at the overall pattern of British tourism visits overseas on the other hand, Germany stands out as a gaping void. The French are thus the neighbors the British love to hate, but Germany is the place they avoid.
Britons' attitude towards the French is of course reciprocated in full. The opinion of the first Duke of Wellington: "We have been, we are, and I trust we always will be, detested by the French".
How can the most unfriendly nation also be the most boring? Let's look at the synonyms for boring: dull, ho-hum, irksome, slow, tedious, tiresome, tiring, and wearsome. Doesn't that sound rather unfriendly?
Goes to show you what socialism will do to a people--they become self-serving, mean-spirited, and plain miserable. It destroys the human spirit--socialism is a disgraceful ideology that must fall, much like Freudian psychology and Darwinian evolution.
don cox nails it with, "The French and the English are on either side of a moat. They are natural enemies. The Scots are on the other side of the English, so are natural allies of the French."
In any "British" poll, the majority of respondents are likely to be English. English folk who go to France are going to experience hostility. If you poll just Scotland, I bet there will be a different result altogether. For some evidence of the anecdotal kind, I know Scottish folk who have reported to me of expereincing some incredible hospitality from total strangers in France, AFTER of course, it became known they were not English.
" I know Scottish folk who have reported to me of expereincing some incredible hospitality from total strangers in France, AFTER of course, it became known they were not English."
Might I note that the 'not British' thing doesn't work at all if you happen to be American?
(Most especially in Paris.)