I’m an Australian male of British descent with a father who, god bless him, is a bit of a racist, and whose life was defined by the Americanisation of global culture. This means that my main association with France was watching people mocking them for surrendering, which I thought was hilarious when I was seven, and kind of obnoxious about the time I looked into it and realised just how terrifying things like The Terror were. Plus, they had Andre the Giant, invented lingerie, and up until recently, had Gérard Depardieu (who is now a Russian). This has made my natural posture when discussing the French to be lightly defensive, to ensure that the conversation involving France does not default back to massively racist ‘cheese-eating surrender monkey’ territory. After all, while the French are probably kind of racist against (say) Australians, and Parisians are apparently massively racist against anyone who isn’t a Parisian, I think there’s more to be said for a country than its hardest decision on its worst day.
Consider then my emotional posture when I learned that as of yesterday, women in Paris have permission to wear trousers. Or rather, it’s not legal to arrest women just for wearing trousers. I like the spirit of it, I’m in favour of the idea of repealing a law that was at best ornamental, but on the other hand…
What the hell, France? Seriously? It’s 2013. Seriously?