The French Like Us More Than We Like Them
This LA Times article discussed a Pew Research Center poll about European, Turkish, and Canadian attitudes toward American foreign policy initiatives (tsunami assistance and Iraq), but also asked people from these same nations a few questions about Americans' character.
What I found most interesting was that, despite the strong anti-French sentiment that continues to boil over in America, the French seem to be the most positive regarding Americans compared to Canada, Turkey, and the rest of Europe. Most sad was that the folks who know us best, Canada, really don't like us much at all.
But let's lead with the findings of the French!
Did you know that 89% of the French people polled in this study thought Americans were "hard working," compared to 85% of Americans, 77% of Canadians, and...64% Poles?
I was surprised by the Poles feeling that way. But then I realized that maybe the Poles don't think we're so hard working because some wealthy Americans hire Poles to be live-in maids who are then paid "under the table." Just a hunch.
Now this is where it gets interesting: Only 31% of the French people polled said Americans were "greedy." Maybe you think that's a lot. But, then what about this: 70% of our fellow Americans polled think we are "greedy." Pogo anyone? Oh, and Canadians? 62% thought we were greedy. Ouch.
When it comes to being "rude," 35% of the French thought we were "rude." I bet most of those work in gift shops in Paris and Nice--so when you think about it that way, very few French folks think we're rude. In this category--"rude"--the French overall barely beat the Americans. 35% of us said we were "rude." And the Canadians? Whoa! 53% of Canadians said we were "rude." Why those $*#!@($)^$&. Ooops. Sorry. Guess I was...rude.
Last character trait listed: "honesty." 57% of the French people polled thought we Americans are an honest people. And what do we Americans think of ourselves? 63% think we are an honest people. How about the Canadians? What percentage of them think we're honest? 36%. Man! Can't the Canadians trust us? Just a bit? Well, I guess that's what they're saying, isn't it? Just a bit--and no more.
Want to feel a bit better, mah fellow 'mericans? Only 32% of Russians think we are an honest people. I'm still laughing at that one. Must be some of that anti-capitalist propaganda left from the Cold War. Or is it they're just meeting too many American criminals cavorting with their criminals--you know, Haliburton, Enron, oil and cigarette company executives, White House advance teams, Condi Rice, you know. Those kinds of "down home" folks.
Anyway, next time you hear someone bash the French, remember this poll. And remember too that the French were deeply supportive of the US in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 (I recall that French doctors and engineers came to NY to help), continue to support (and have consistently supported) us--with its own troops--in Afghanistan, and by the way, helped us win our independence from England in our Revolutionary War.
And anyway, in my experience, people in America who scream epithets against the French or say they hate the "Frogs," tend to be assholes.