Monday, November 28, 2005

Paris - City of Advanced Culture

People walk past as a homeless person takes cover from the cold on a Paris sidewalk November 28, 2005, as six homeless have died in France since the arrival of winter temperatures. French authorities have raised their weather alert in 31 departments and asked for increased vigilance to the homeless in Paris. REUTERS/Franck Prevel

I read the short story above with the related photo at Yahoo News today.

It’s a tragic thing when anyone dies needlessly no matter what the cause. But I can’t help but think about the many Western Europeans I have met who have demonstrated a holier than thou, self righteous, attitude towards America, Americans, and our culture. I was told once by a young woman from France that America breeds a culture of death through ultra conservative, ultra religious Americanism. She also said we are a jingoistic country. She said that in a nation as rich as America, homelessness should not exist.

I responded by asking her to explain and define her description of Americanism, and what led her to believe that Americans are jingoistic. She was not able to explain or define either in a satisfactory way. She just used generalizations and what seemed to be random quotations from the likes of Gabriel García Márquez and Che Guevara. The more I questioned her and asked for explanations, the more flustered she became. I then asked her why she was taking college classes here in America if we are such a backward thinking nation. She wasn’t really able to answer that question in a coherent manner either. I asked her to give me an example of an advanced culture. She immediately pointed to her native France.

What amounts to an insurrection has recently swept through France in the form of violent rioting and arson resulting in murder and large scale destruction. And now, we know that France has homeless people, some of them dying from the cold. I guess France isn’t quite the advanced Utopia that some folks would have us believe.


Post a Comment

<< Home