An open letter to the french bashers,
Dear guys, my name is Rémy, and i’m a bloody french frog who eat snails and who is very smelly. Of course, I work only 3 hours a day (which represents the best GDP per hour ever, I’m very talented!).
Who i really am ?
Rémy Bigot, the French frog (Linkedin profile)
I’m a webmarketer and an entrepreneur since 2003, my objective is simple : to help small businesses to grow thanks to marketing.
I also worked for eBay as affiliate account manager in London last year. Contact me here.
Right now, i’m working for a great french startup called Wimi (a productivity tool for small businesses)
Why am I « upset » ?
Because of the tons of « great » articles about « France is bad because…. » or « The french are not good because of xyz… » and so on… (like this one or that one)
Let’s talk about it…
The « french bashing », something that seems to be an English and American pastime, I need to understand why…
First of all, i just want to make something clear: I love Britain and America.
I lived in London for 8 months last year (A very enriching work experience for me at eBay / ROEYE ) , and I really love English language, culture and business style (the same for America).
The French are arrogant…are you not all insular?
I just want to understand something. Some of you usually says that we are arrogant and agressive, but, who is arrogant in reality ?
Some examples :
- Some people claim that the English language and the American culture are THE best.
- Some of you claim that French language needs to leave the olympics forever (and the planet if it’s possible). I just ask this who re-invented the Olympics? why french is an official language?
- Some of you claim that France is an old country with nothing interesting (just wines and old buildings, and smelly cheeses that the foreigners seem to love?)
- Some of you claim that we are a Communist country (This is really funny to be honest!). We just have workforce unions who are a bit like this, but they are not representative! Would you want us to judge you by a section of society…footballers, bankers, politicians?
In reality, France is more « right-wing » than socialist or communist. François Hollande was elected because the french hate Nicolas Sarkozy rather than they love Hollande. Look at this interesting graphic. It shows that right-wing (in blue) was a lot more present than left-wing at power since the beginning of the 5th republic in France (in 1958).
In my opinion, France is between right and left (close to the middle), it depends the situation.
- A lot of you think that we are lazy because we work only 35 hours a week. First of all, it’s untrue for a lot of us (the real average working week is 39.5 hours). Secondly, it’s not about how long we work, but how well we work (productivity and efficiency : $57.7 of gross domestic product per hour).
- Some of you claim that France is a bad environment for entrepreneurship and wealthy people (it’s not always true but I can accept this one to be fair with you)
- Some of you pretend that we are not in a good shape (maybe you’re right). But, don’t forget that we are still the 5th more powerful country in the world (by GDP).
A « private » message to Boris Johnson (mayor of London)
Hi Boris, hope you are well in London. I have a message for you :
Before trying to welcome some french entrepreneurs to move to the UK, can you just try to solve some real problems Londoners faces ? One great example : The tube.
I lived 8 months in london and I can really see the nightmare it is for a lot of londoners…
It can be reasonable for you to look at yourself and try to fix real problems before talking about France. (A good example here)
« Give me a reason to love you ! »
Can you just take 5 minutes to try to better understand our country and culture before bashing us ?
It’s not because we are really bad in english (which is a disaster I have to admit) and sometimes too much proud of ourselves that we are bad and arrogant people.
Maybe we are just a little bit different, with another point of view…
Britain and US versus France
Again, the English language is great, American and British entrepreneurship too. It’s definitely true and I love it (for example, i’m a great fan of the ABC show called « Shark tank« , I really hope that Kevin O’leary or Robert Herjavec will read this post one day : Thanks guys for your great show, kiss Barbara, Lori, Diamond and Mark for me please!)
3 hours a day, are you kidding me ?
If it’s true, we are definitely the most productive people ever! Look at the numbers a little, and you will understand that it’s simply IMPOSSIBLE.
We are not robots! We can’t achieve this GDP per hour, it’s nonsense.
Maurice Taylor is just plain wrong in this situation. I respect his entrepreneurship but not his accusations, sorry…
A lot of « clichés » (90% are wrong, do you know which ones?)
France is a beautiful woman
France is just different, a woman with a lot of strenghts and weaknesses (like every country I think)
She has many problems to solve (especially concerning money and business) but she also has other great things and is one of the best in terms of quality of life (world-class research and development capabilities, landcapes, quality of life, culture, food, science, solidarity*, the best health care system…and many more). You can find some great things about France on my Pinterest board here.
She’s trying to solve a massive cultural problem : balancing between rich and poor and austerity versus investment.
She’s always trying to do the good thing, the thing who doesn’t hurts a lot of people, it’s her real « problem ». She doesn’t want to let a lot of people down because of business for example…
Maybe too idealistic ?
It’s maybe not the solution in this difficult situation (eurozone in trouble), you’re right. But it’s the way we work, we believe to the famous (at least in France) « Liberté, égalité, fraternité » like a religion.
We believe in equality, such a thing is very difficult in this world, I know.
We prefer to help the famous 99% « poorer » rather than the 1% wealthier.
Maybe it’s right, maybe wrong, we’ll see what’s happens.
But, please, just try to understand who we are really before bashing us.
As Mr Gallois said : “People have to understand that France is a special animal, We could be more business-oriented, but only if we ensure justice and fairness for everybody.”.
Can we discuss together around a glass of Bordeaux ?
Thanks a lot guys, i’d love to exchange with you on this post, don’t hesitate to bash me in comments (not too hard please, it can be interesting to have a real debate not insults or racism…), I love it (debates, not racism…) !
PS : Heal the world, and « Vive la France » !
And yes, we are one of the most productive people in the world… (for arrogance and Mr Taylor ^^)
A message to UK and US borders
Please, let me go travel to your country sometimes without lock me in jail in seconds (because of this article), I have still a lot of things to do in your great countries ! Thanks.
* (As an aside about charity, don’t forget to help Chuckroast, a great US developer who is in big trouble with his medical expenses)
Rémy… j’apprécie ton énergie et certaines infos intéressantes que tu publies, même si parfois cela frise le ridicule/manque d’humilité comme ce billet. La partie sur le tube en mode donneur de leçon nan mais sérieux quoi… aucun rapport ! Sans parler du « teasing » et du dernier paragraphe. LOL. Mieux vaut parler peu mais toujours de qualité que trop parler. Enfin ‘ce n’est que mon avis’
I’m really sorry, but I don’t speak french!
The real funny thing about your comment is maybe the first sentence… And of course, the fact that you post it with a fake identity (too unknown to be true).
Being a french man and working for US companies for the last 10 years – I recognize myself alot in that blog article. I love the US and british entrepreneurship but there’s no doubt that the global package that France offers between quality of life and business opportunities beats everything I’ve lived in the UK and US including California (not by far I admit).
thank you, interesting to read people who really know both sides of the « situation » !
Of course, it can be different, it depends the situation and the people I think.
Well … this is a very very very sensitive subject here and i am not sure i agree with many things even though i do not disagree either. I am french and I lived for almost 4 years in London, 4 years in Texas and i am now living in Vancouver, Canada (english speaking part of the country).
To be perfectly honnest since i have spent so much time away my vision of France has evolved quite a bit, I understand sometimes the reasons feeding the clichés and at the same time every time i am seeing someone bashing french about those clichés it drives me crazy.
Le’s talk about Maurice M. Taylor – this guys is a dumbass – period – he may be the CEO of a big company, he clearly is some sort of redneck who does not know the difference between a coke and a fine Bordeau – probably had no passport for most of his life and never traveled much. By the way Mr Taylor, Michelin tires are superior to yours and the company will outlive yours.
A per the mayor of London, let’s be serious even Brittons are joking about him.
As per the bashing itself, well i may be lucky but all the people i have met including in the most remote part of Texas had very good opinions of France and the french the only real issue I had was during the South Africa World Cup – when the french soccer team went « on strike » – the concept of strike is already difficult to apprehend for many Texans but going on strike while being in the National team is something that is simply impossible.
That brings me on the topic on which my vision changed – and the thing that irritates me the most about french – French ALWAYS complain, always… they benefit from one of the most comprehensive social system in the world, they have more holidays than most of the people and many other advantages and STILL they complain about things that the rest of the world will just suck up and get on with – i am 35 and i have to save my own money to get a retirement – I just suck it up. If I lose my job I will have NO money, I’ll just suck it up and and i am moving my ass not to be unemployed even if this means moving away, changing, city, country etc…
So yes i am now more critical about France even though i will still defend it against people like Maurice Taylor or people that are bashing french, because we are lazy, arrogant, we smell etc… but sometimes I would love french to also be able to take a few lessons. The most recent – i am following the all « gay Marriage » thing in France well look at the video in the following link.
You know what it hurts me, it really hurts me to get a lesson of tolerance by a bunch of Texans
Thanks Julien for your comment, very interesting.
I’m completely agree about the « complain », it’s one of the biggest problem in France, probably.
It’s so strange that we are one of the most pessimistic people in the world, absolute nonsense !
Thanks for sharing the video, very interesting. I really want to see if it is different in France.
Yes, we have a lot of intolerance but we are also a majority to vote for the gay marriage !
Ohh ma France, ma douce et belle France, un verre de vin rouge et une tartine de cancoillotte. Ohh La France tu me manque.
je ne peux te comparer au pays des rosbif ou des yankee, tu vaux bien mieux que cela! En plus tu es la cinquième puissance mondiale en terme du produit intérieur brut! Bravo ma France!
I Rémy, now let me French bashing you as you requested.
I am Yannick and live in London for the last 10 years, I am French like you (just have a chocolate skin:)), I moved to the UK after 2002 French election, where my countrymen choose to bring in Mr Le Pen to second round with more than 17% vote in the first round.
Maybe i was too idealistic about my loved country, liberté, égalité, fraternité was indeed a famous dream, I mean at least in France. but helas…
France is extreme on either side of political spectrum. Are you saying that the workforce unions are not representative of France’s social classes. I just hope you are kidding, this is the country who love « faire la grève » and halt economical activities for days even weeks.
Oki I agree Boris is an euroseptic and would throw words here and there but be honest with yourself Rémy, did you take the Parisian’s metro? It’s smelly Rémy, it’s smell badly and a nightmare to travel my dear. We Londoners don’t have this problem, our mayor put the right resources in place to clean it up! Ok ok ok compare Gare du Nord and St Pancras International. Pas photo.
Of course la France is a beautiful woman, the most beautiful of all woman in the world. I loved her and I will always love her.
thank you for your comment.
Maybe you’re right about the political situation, even if I think that Lepen was much more an « accident » (horrible of course) rather than a real political view.
About the tubes, it was just an example, they need also to stop bullshitting about the city for example (too much protection).
All the same arguments could be made about the US – people like to fit countries and entire groups of people into categories and when there’s an anomaly, they jump at the chance to use it as leverage for critique. Much of what is said about France is unfair but then again we must remember it’s about perspective and unfounded judgements. You just have to remember it’s ridiculous 🙂
thanks for your comment.
It’s true, but sometimes, it’s difficult to remain silent (Especially with guys like Mr. Taylor!)
Je ne suis pas d’accord notamment sur la coloration bleue de nos représentants qui expliquerait que nous ne sommes pas socialistes. La droite française est aussi interventionniste et étatiste que la gauche, aussi irresponsable avec les budgets qu’avec l’avenir du pays. Ne sommes nous pas socialiste voire communiste dans beaucoup d’aspects ? Je te livre là une compilation très incomplète car faite en 3 minutes :
* 57% du PIB est fait de dépense publique
* nous avons des radios et télévisions d’état
* nous financons a coup de subventions une presse ecrite qui n’a pas a chercher la legitimité de ses lecteurs, c’est le contribuable qui régale
* meme constatation pour le cinéma où même nos navets sont produits avec des budgets délirants, merci le contribuable
* nous avons des monopoles d’assurance maladie et vieillesse
* nous allons payer les jeunes (RSA jeunes) autant que des paysans retraités
* nous avons des syndicats ui bloquent le pays, qui ne représentent plus les salariés, mais qui n’ont pas besoin de le faire puisque c’est le salarié qui les fait fonctionner sans son consentement et sans qu’ils n’aient à publier de comptes
* nous avons des systèmes de retraites spéciaux votés par des fonctionnaires pour des fonctionnaires dont l’équilibre (!) se fait sur les cotisations des non fonctionnaires
* nous avons un fond souverain qui investit l’argent des francais en tant qu’etat-stratege-clienteliste-politique plutot que de laisser l’argent dans les poches des contribuables et les laisser decider ce qu’ils veulent financer
* les medecins liberaux deviennent des fonctionnaires : numerus clausus, fixation des tarifs par l’etat, suppression de l’acte de paiement (tiers payant généralisé)
* notre etat sur-intervient dans l’économie (Dailymotion, prix des place de cinéma Pathé+, Frais de livraison Amazon, fixation des loyers, …)
* …/… to be continued
dommage de commenter en français un article en anglais, mais pas grave.
Dans l’article, je dis bien que nous essayons d’être égalitaire dans notre façon de voir les choses, c’est justement le fond du problème (mais aussi de certaines réussites!).
Non, je ne pense pas que nous soyons communistes, loin de là…