US vs. France
During several days in Paris spanning this past holiday weekend, I couldn’t help but compare the United States to France. And like most comparisons, this quickly morphed into a competition. Witness:
Category One: Celine Dion
One of my first sights out of the airport was a billboard the size of a small European country featuring Ms. Dion. Apparently, my visit was timed to her nine-show appearance in Paris. (No, I did attend any of her performances.)
I know she’s not French, but—at least for now—her reign in Vegas in over and France is stuck with her.
Category Two: Lunch
Americans are always in a hurry. Much of the time, we’re pissed off if we have to wait more than a minute between our appetizers and our main courses—and often we ask for the check before we’re even done stuffing our faces.
Lunchtime in Paris is different. Hours can go by, and time passes while watching passers-by and drinking a glass of wine. Or three.
Category Three: Cars
With gas prices still rising, you’d think I’d bemoan our big American cars and the SUV culture that costs us billions of extra dollars—and makes parallel parking a real bitch.
There’s an argument there, yes. But it’s easily overwhelmed by how ridiculous all those French dudes looked cruising around in the SmartCars—putting themselves in danger of severe physical injury if they got into an accident with a small poodle:
Category Four: Pastimes
In their free time, the French focus on romance. They seduce, they woo, and they canoodle on benches and in alleys everywhere.
In America, by contrast, we collectively obsess about time-wasters like American Idol.
Two points each. We seem to be in a quandary; both countries have things going for them. So it comes down to a tiebreaker:
As much as I hated it growing up, the French language just flows. Sure, the French annoyingly fail to pronounce a few letters at the end of many words … but at least you know it’s coming because the language is well ordered and easy to follow once you know the rules.
English, by contrast, must be a real pain in the ass to learn as a non-native speaker. With borrowed words from dozens of languages and inconsistent rules, it’s tough. But so are the American people. And we don’t need all those silly accents that often get garbled in print.
Voilà! We have a winner.
Point and match: US