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French hate Armstrong bla, bla, bla (+ bonus Picture!)(19 posts)

French hate Armstrong bla, bla, bla (+ bonus Picture!)philippec
Aug 5, 2002 5:08 AM
Okay, I am taking advantage of a dull moment here at work to roll up my sleeves for a long overdue rant about how much "the French hate Armstrong". See yet another assertion of this in the post below:

spyderman "Newsweek's Jaded Starr" 8/5/02 1:04am)

"Nor do I want to be lumped with the French, whose antipathy to and resentment of Armstrong is borne largely of base anti-Americanism. The French cling to the notion that they are superior to Americans in so many things: cooking, winemaking, love, soccer and cycling --when about all they remain superior at these days is smoking. (bla, bla, bla )"

Okay, I am French (well 1/2 French), have lived here for half my life, have followed the Tour since I was 5 yrs old when my recently departed grandfather first shared his love of cycling w/me, and have seen many, many, many French spectators out on the roadsides of July.

For the past 4 years, I have attended a total of 13 stages and have watched Armstrong ride by in every one of these -- I have yet to see a single spectator (of any nationality) not cheer their lungs out as he road by. I have also spent much time talking about riders in the peleton w/ team-mates, friends, family and the occasional stranger and let me tell you that the overwhelming majority of what I hear about L.Armstrong is positive (well perhaps that is a rather unfortunate choice of word -- I mean it only in the good sense of that word!). I hear no more questions about Armstrong's performances than I do for Merckx, Indurain, Botero, etc... it is just par for the course when you are a top level athlete.

Yes, some jerks booed him in the Ventoux (at least they didn't punch him like they did Merckx in the Puy-de-Dome) but those fools represent such an infinitesimal proportion of the fans that only a journalist with a hang-over and a deadline would have made an issue of it. Even Armstrong said that

Yes Le Monde wrote a series of articles raising the possibility of doping w/in the Postal Squad -- but they sell papers this way and what you in the US perhaps don't know is that every cyclist suspected of doping gets the same treatment from Le Monde (and most other French and non-French papers). But Le Monde does not represent France any more than the New York Times represents the United States (oh, and Le Monde has run a few very nice articles on cycling as well -- whatever it takes to sell the papers!).

Yes, Armstrong has been the target of a protracted, bungled and unnecessary judicial proceeding following the taping of some Postal staffers getting rid of unmarked medical waste. Folks, there is no conspiracy here, it's just that the French judicial system is, how shall I put it, folklorique. The length of the inquiry has everything to do with the idiosyncrasies and ineptitude of the judiciary in dealing with certain matters rather than a concerted attack on Armstrong.

And what about the unholy pact J.M. LeBlanc has with the devil to conspire to make Armstrong lose the Tour -- or at the very least ensure that the deck is stacked in favour of perennially underperforming French Teams? Puhlease, let it rest already. LeBlanc is in the business of using the Tour to sell stuff (as it has always been). He and his team don't design the race to favour one or another rider, he designs the race to ensure good racing! Mountains now, mountains later, etc. it's not about Lance, it is about the race. Lance wins, great! Lance loses, someone else wins, its still great for Amaury Sports. Too many French teams in the Tour? -- not nearly as many as Italian Teams in the Giro or Spanish teams in the Vuelta or US teams in the USPRO championships. France is still the main market for the Tour's sponsors and advertisers (in the caravan) and is it not normal for there to be as many French teams as possible?

(deep breath) Okay, rant finished.

I'm back from a week of great riding and Tour watching in the
VERY nice picture!I Love Shimano
Aug 5, 2002 5:28 AM
got any more of those?
VERY nice picture!philippec
Aug 5, 2002 5:52 AM
I have got a few but I am going to have the negatives scanned -- I'll post them in 3 wks when I get back from holidays..

re:Thanks for post and picture...snuz
Aug 5, 2002 5:40 AM
Before I visited Switzerland and France last month I regularly participated on the Fodors travel message boards. All I heard about was how anti-american Europe has become and perhaps I should consider going elsewhere. Well I went anyway and had a wonderful time. The people there could not have been any more cordial. Sometimes if we hear someone from a certain group say something, we assume the whole group feels the same way. Not so.
Not anti-Americanfiltersweep
Aug 5, 2002 3:07 PM
First of all, the US press is a bunch of wusses. Read the European news and then the US news- online even... the Euro press actually recounted that woman's "sex-toy" debacle on a plane with considerably more detail, and referred to the toy by name. There is frequently "nudity" on major news outlets online and in print. There is way more ink given to an issue that cannot be boiled down into a US "sound bite."

The TDF was staged in France. I'd expect they'd cover it with a bit more detail... controversial or not.

I spent a week in Paris and had a blast
Thanks for the perspective. Sadly Lance is probably has a lothrs
Aug 5, 2002 5:49 AM
more French fans than American fans.
"The French cling to the notion that they are superiorAllisonHayes
Aug 5, 2002 5:52 AM
to Americans in so many things..."

They have a point here, after all, our founding fathers, who learned the concept of freedom and liberty from the French came back and started a revolution. It only took us one time.

Now the French, who are so superior, decided that to outclass the Americans they should have at least five revolutions. They must have really liked that guillotine.

Allison (You gots to agree with 'em on that one.)
A serious and (i'm sorry) lengthy & pedantic reply:morrison
Aug 5, 2002 6:32 AM
French political theorists were responsible for no more of the U.S. revolution than their peers in Britain, the Colonies, and their historical roots in ancient Greece and Rome.

Of course, trying to compare (or rather, contrast) political stability in the United States with political stability in France is a task that has ensured the tenure of countless comparative government theorists at universities throughout the United States and Europe. There are so many different theories as to why the political cultures in these two countries differ so dramatically that it is hard to keep them straight.

I like to think that the real difference stems from the monarchy. In the United States, democracy rebelled against a monarchy that was imposed from the 'outside.' Yes, Americans were 'British,' but by the time the revolution rolled around, they had a separate national identity nonetheless. At the conclusion of the revolutionary war, the loyalists split for England, leaving behind a populace that was beholden to nothing but the idea of self government. Over time, the Constitution assumed the role of primacy, as an institutional power, that the monarchy played in Britain.

In contrast, in France, after the first revolution, there still were a tremendous number of people who were loyal to the monarchy. They had no where to go. There was no home-land to run to because it was the home-land that revolted. As a result, the institution of the monarchy never entirely was supplanted by the institution of the constitution. Rather, the French viewed their constitution more as a simple tool to be used to obtain democracy; not as the embodyment of democracy itself.

Americans have amended their constitution some 25 (I should know the exact number, but I don't) times. The core of the document remains the same. The French have scrapped their constitution and started over from scratch on five separate occasions.

That's not to say that one way is preferred. There are parts, at least, of the U.S. constitution that ought to be excised from the document in whole, rather than merely 'repealed' through amendment or action of the Supreme Court. (Example: 3/5 rule, etc.)

As for the guillotine, I don't know how it compares with the 'chair,' the 'gas chamber,' the 'firing squad,' and 'lethal injection,' but they all seem fairly barbaric to me. Here, the French have beat us hands down . . . they outlawed execution in (I believe) the 1970s.

A serious and (i'm sorry) lengthy & pedantic reply:AllisonHayes
Aug 5, 2002 7:55 AM
At the time of the French revolution, Paris was a city of contrasts. The monarchy was fascinated by hot air balloons, science and decadence. The industrial revolution was in full swing. Paris was overpopulated and there was discontent against both the church and the monarchy by the masses.

The French revolutions were as much against the Catholic church as the monarchy. A wealthy middle class was born overnight out of the pillage from the church. This new middleclass was particularly ruthless.

People who didn't denounce their faith were executed. Anyone could be charged and there was literally no defense. Trials were held in the morning and executions took place later the same day. Less than 1% were pardoned. When the prisons were overrun, they tied people onto barges and then sank them in the Seine. Tens of thousands died this way.

(superior indeed)
Sins of the past offend me less than sins of the present. nmmorrison
Aug 5, 2002 8:02 AM
agreed. We tend to forget that France went throughAllisonHayes
Aug 5, 2002 8:21 AM
nearly two hundred years of strife (1750-1945) after nearly 1200 years of relative peace (monarchy & church).

I greatly admire the French and their creativity, their elan and their joie de vivre. I just like to poke fun at the stereotype of superiority.

Allison (Speaking of sins of the present, I wonder how long it will take the middle east to find accord?)
1200 years? how about The Hundred Years' War?cyclopathic
Aug 5, 2002 9:37 AM
THAT was the peaceful time Allison?
ignorance is a bless
1200 years? how about The Hundred Years' War?AllisonHayes
Aug 5, 2002 10:19 AM
Sorry, what meant to have said was that there was 1200 years of stability within France itself. France was always fighting with other countries.

i Q. Ever hear of the French Paradox? This is how the French can eat such rich foods and drink wine like water and still be slim and healthy.

i A. Spend some time on their subway system.

Allison (Theeze Frenchies, zey are always arguing--eeet eeeze zoo verrry, how you say, French. N'est pas?)
Aug 5, 2002 12:55 PM
not really.

At high points 2/3 of territory was occupied. Think of Orlean virgin and look where Orlean is. With a bunch of marauders roaming around countryside raping 9 year old girls, killing, burning, cutting off tits and male bits situation can hardly be called "stable", more like an action stage for Liberty.

Of cause Liberty may decide that cheese, french bread, wine and ride in zee Paris subway more risky or entertaining
too many French teams it the Tour? I think too fewcyclopathic
Aug 5, 2002 6:58 AM
not being pro-French but those little french div 2 teams were the only ones who cared to race. Maybe if LeBlanc would invite more of them Tour would be more interesting and unpredictable just like Giro.
A positive view of the French
Aug 5, 2002 7:54 AM
I have been to France three times and only on the first trip (1979) did I have any negative experiences with the French. Given that I was a scruffy college student with a backpack, the negative experiences may have had as much or more to do with my status in life than my nationality (US).

This year I was in France from July 16 to 30. I visited French friends, rode the Etape du Tour (in a US Postal jersey) and viewed Stages 17 and 20. Everywhere I went I heard positive things about Armstrong -- no where did I hear any of the negative things that have been reported in the press.

If you like cycling and try to speak a few words in French (and there are very few words in my French vocabulary), you, like Armstrong, will be welcomed by most people in France. An example: On July 16, my family and I landed in Geneva and rented a car. As we left the parking lot, my daughter said that the car was smoking. I paid little attention. After about 15 km (and our entering France) the clutch would not work and I pulled to the side of the road -- the bottom of the car was on fire. Several passing motorists helped put out the fire with extinguishers and the Pompiers finished off the job. The police who arrived on the scene stayed with us for two hours until a car was sent from Geneva to pick us up. When the police saw my bike case, they asked where I was going, what I was doing, etc. They gave me information on several good rides near where I was staying and wished me luck for Armstrong and US Postal.
I get a better reception in France than my home town of Phillyishmael
Aug 5, 2002 7:55 AM
Someone just asked me if I liked Philadelphia and having grown up around here I never thought to ask that question. It's hot, smelly, and half the people disgust me they are so rude. I'm planning on moving to France as soon as I learn how to speak French. The only bias between France and the US Ive ever experience is the US thinking that the French are snobs. Even if they do look down on us for being uncultured and arrogant(although I've never experienced it) I wouldnt hold it against them, I agree.
French hate Americans but copy Americans all the timeMaartin
Aug 5, 2002 11:51 AM
and this bugs them. Really, I think the French are convinced they have a superior culture and it bugs the shit out of them when they are influenced by us. I am 1/2 French, work with the French and deal with it all the time. That is my take on it !
Good reply - but I have a questionMe Dot Org
Aug 6, 2002 7:17 AM
First of all, good points. No question that the French are probably more magnanamous in victory than many other places.

But there is one point that seems odd, and that is Lance's tax problems with the French Government. My understanding is that the Government is asking him to pay taxes on 100% of his 1999 winnings, even though he divided it up among his teamates. Indeed, I don't even think the original check from the TDF is made out to Armstrong.

Do you know if other TDF winners paid taxes on all of their winnings, and if not, why the Government is asking Armstrong to do so?