Monday, November 05, 2007

Scathing satire

I guess this is supposed to be oh-so-funny, but I must say I think it is just plain nasty!

And no, I'm not British -- but I know a lot of my readers are.

Since the original post, I've learned from the very knowledgeable My Inner French Girl that the article is an extract from a book that has actually been written by a fake "translator" -- British herself (read the comment below.)

I suppose that makes it a little funnier -- I know the British love biting humor/humour.

What do you think?

17 comments:

Samantha said...

I agree, that was really tasteless. I couldn't even finish the article!

My Inner French Girl said...

Er, I think you're right. It's downright nasty and, if it is meant to be satire, it's a very poor attempt at it. If this is a real person talking about other real people (e.g., her "neighbor"), then it's no longer satire and is instead a mean-spirited criticism of a country the author seems to loathe and yet can't seem to leave.

However, I did find this link to a book review of a new work by Sarah Long, aka Mme de Monplaisir's "translator." It appears that this essay on the Times Web site is actually written by a Brit and reflects "what the French think about the English."

http://tinyurl.com/3bzf6k

I'll admit that, upon reading the original essay, it reminded me at times of what self-loathing Americans often say about our own culture. (Am I the only Francophile who isn't entirely enamored of Anne Barone and her sometimes catty books?) "Mme de Monplaisir" does make some valid points (which I'm sure Ms. Long agrees with), but other times the subtext is just cruel.

Anyhoo, I will say this: I've only ever dated one Englishman (from Reading!), and will happily admit that until my hubby came along and broke the record, he was far and away the best lover I'd ever had. So take that, Mme de Monplaisir!

Salut,
Marjorie

lessno said...

no, it's not hilarious; but it has funy point of view ...

Eleonora said...

Tu as raison Betty..c'est les 5 premiers...mais j'ai triché un peu...comme je vous adore. Pour moi vous êtes tous dans les 5 premiers. C'était pas facile et j'ai oublié du monde. C'est pas grave comme on dit en Alsace...le coeur y est. Merci pour ta gentillesse et je te souhaite une belle journée

Cassoulet Cafe said...

I didn't like it at all either. Couldn't finish. Not funny. Not witty. Just plain rude.

Casey said...

proof, yet again, that truly humourous writing is immensely difficult. I found this boring and not even slightly amusing,

Betty C. said...

Give me Bill Bryson anytime over this, that's for sure!

Betty C. said...

Give me Bill Bryson anytime over this, that's for sure!

katiez said...

It did sound very British. After living with many for 7 years in Andorra I've gotten a bit familiar with their humor. Many times they stared at me, uncomprehending my humor and me at them, likewise.
I'll stick with Bryson, too.

Linda said...

Hmm. I'm wondering if this is all written "tongue in cheek"? I do know many French aren't that fond of the English-it started with Joan of Arc-but this is really insulting. Of course, there is the book A Year in the Merde which gives a really funny and sort of true look at the French and it's written by an Englishman.

Tinsie said...

I thought it was hilarious and pretty accurate too. I particularly liked this bit:

What they really enjoy is going without. Rather than leave the office for a delicious lunch, they will pull out a Tupper-ware box of sandwiches. Instead of a soirée sensuelle, candlelit dinner followed by a night of love, they’ll go to the country to strip wallpaper, walk in the rain and sleep in a freezing cold bed.

So true it's scary!

Betty C. said...

Hmmm...maybe I'm missing out on the candlelit dinners.

Tinsie said...

Look at it this way: at least you're not stripping wallpaper ;-)

Paul said...

Hi Betty,
Despite the shoddy quality of the writing, I managed to read all the way through this article. And as I did so, my desire to punch a hole through the screen of my laptop grew and grew. It was such a mean-spirited, self-serving piece, I couldn't believe it managed to get published in the mainstream press. I could easily see it as a post on an obscure blog, to be universally ignored, but in The Times? I think they should be able to source better articles than that, even in the "filler" category for which it was so clearly intended.
It does give me hope however, because now I should be able confidently to approach The Times with some articles I have just written, such as "The French Are Generally Crap", or "Dutch People Smell. Why? Because I Say So."
The writer is clearly grumpy about something, despite apparently having a chic, metropolitan lifestyle in one of the most expensive parts of London. Maybe she resents not quite being at the top of the pile: London is a truly global city, one of the few in the world, and not for small-minded people like her. In short, the article seems like a case of "raisins aigres" :-)

Betty C. said...

Paul,

As I said, apparently the "true" writer is actually a Brit herself...but it is taking self-depracating humo(u)r pretty far!

My Inner French Girl said...

Bonjour,

The writer is Brit, and I gather that it's really a satire of what the French think of their British counterparts across the Channel. I would be interested in knowing what fellow Brits think of the piece. I've a few English friends who can be very dry and cutting in their use of irony.

Salut,
Marjorie

Betty C. said...

I had learned that and I do think part of the object of satire is the French...but the British too...I still think it is a little "OTT," as the Brits would put it!