The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, February 25, 2003  

The Latest in My Growing Collection

A cardinal rule for bloggers: Don't expect the reader to get the joke or even an implied reference in anything you post to your blog. For some readers, at least, you really do need to s-p-e-l-l i-t a-l-l o-u-t.

I learned this soon after I posted a piece I entitled, "Making the Rounds: I Think I'm Catching This One Early," on Thursday, February 13.

In that piece I republished a brief essay of sorts about French military history that had just begun making the rounds on the internet. Doing so I happened to mention, "I've never been a Francophile," a statement arising from the inhospitable nature of the French during my stay there many years ago, together with what I believe -- And save your e-mails, okay? -- are exaggerated but widely accepted notions regarding the purported supremacy of the French in the fields of art, literature, music, and cuisine.

I rushed -- and that's probably the best word for it -- to republish this piece not, in the crude characterizations offered by scattered offended readers, to "bash France" or to "give aid and comfort to fascist warmongers," but because, as I implied in the title of the February 13 post, I am usually among the very last to receive these popular globally distributed missives, a failing, if one could call it that, about which I have commented in the past. What the hell? Why not be among the first this time?

Yes, I was having a little fun. And having a little fun at France's expense. Am I a France-basher of the ignorant Jonah Goldberg type? I don't think so. Or of the barely slightly more sophisticated Charles Krauthammer sort? I hope not.

I agree with and appreciate the position of the current French government with respect to the Bush administration's reincarnation of the Crusades. Can I do so while smirking a bit at French history, just as I do at American history? Apparently not, according to some of my more humorless readers.

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