Friday, August 01, 2008
Je ne parle pas français
My family tree's roots - on my dad's side - are deep-down in French soil. My dad's forebears were Huguenots, you see, and they first put down stakes in South Carolina before moving into Tennessee.
Nary a day goes by during which I don't reflect on some French thing of one kind or another. Back during my undergraduate career, I studied la langue et la littérature française à l'université cause of the same, ahem, affliction.
I'm currently reading a book 'bout John Adams (Founding Father and Second President of the United States). Whilst reading earlier this evening, I came across this quote from President Adams:
"[The French] consider nobody but themselves. Their apparent respect and real contempt for all men and all nations but Frenchmen, are proverbial among themselves. They think it is in their power to give characters and destroy characters as they please, and they have no other rule but to give reputation to their tools, and to destroy the reputation of all who will not be their tools. ... To a Frenchman the most important man in the world is himself, and the most important nation is France. He thinks that France ought to govern all nations, and that he ought to govern France. Every man and nation that agrees to this, he is willing to ’populariser’; every man or nation that disputes or doubts it, he will ’depopulariser,’ if he can."
I appreciate the hell out of my French heritage. But I know for a fact that Frenchmen, as a general rule, are arrogant, rude, and quite full of themselves. President Adams knew it for a fact, too. I guess that's why he's my second-favorite Founding Father ... after George Washington, of course.