On boycotting French products

This morning, I heard on the radio that the Slovaks have decided to boycott French products for some obscure reason that I didn’t quite catch. The only thing I thought then was… “Oh no, here we go again!”

Part 1: How a boycott throws you out of the embassy.

As you know, a few years ago, some people in Florida decided to boycott anything that was French e.g. cheese, wine, even French fries had to be renamed freedom fries, etc… (since it’s ok to not boycott the product as long as you boycott its name).
I wasn’t too surprised as it wasn’t the first time it had happened. Australians, New Zealanders, Brits and many more have boycotted French products throughout the years.

I moved to Sweden in 1995 to teach French. I got there right when our dear president decided to show off with France’s nuclear power skills for one last time in the Pacific Ocean. You probably remember that this brilliant idea created a gigantic anti-French wave across the planet and suddenly EVERYONE had to boycott France and French products. It got totally out of control when my Swedish students decided to boycott my French lessons and potential lovers boycotted me as soon as they heard about my nationality (that’s the reason they gave anyway). Despite my being boycotted, I was in favor of a drastic action against the French government’s useless and dangerous practices. (after my communist phase, I had just entered my environmentalist phase, both lasted a couple of weeks but still…)

That same year, Majken, a Swedish friend of mine and I went to the French Embassy in Stockholm to celebrate France’s national day with my fellow-citizens. Indeed, I had heard that rivers of free Champagne were flowing there on that day, hence the little trip to the embassy with Majken who was to play my wife in order to be allowed to enter the fancy and glitzily- decorated official building.

But when we arrived, a huge demonstration against nuclear tests had been organized by the Swedes in front of the embassy (the Swedes never demonstrate, so when they do, you can tell they’re really angry) and demonstrators were preventing French guests from entering the place unless they accepted to wear a badge that said “Fuck Chirac” (pardon my French!).

So we did wear the badge, drank liters of champagne, pigged out on the delicious finger food and started to sing dirty songs. I gradually collapsed on a Louis XV armchair at the foot of a majestic Empire-style golden mirror. Later, I woke up with a banging headache and realized that Majken was standing on the piano, lifting up one arm in the air, resembling a Eurovision Song Contestant, singing her last verse. She looked great! Majken and the piano were in the main hall, singing the Swedish national anthem with a French accent under a classy crystal chandelier while an 85 year-old man was playing the piano whispering to Majken how much he was in love with her.
I decided to join Majken on the piano and as I was attempting to escalate the instrument, two big guards appeared, grabbed us by the belt and threw us out of the embassy like old garbage onto the sidewalk, and a man behind them said what a shame we were for our country, showing up with rude badges and confirming all the clichés Swedes had about the French being alcoholic!
Instead, the Swedes welcomed us outside the embassy in a wave of applause and Majken and I left the place feeling like national heroes coming back from the battlefield. There must have been about 20 demonstrators left on the street by the time we left the embassy, but in my drunken haze, it really looked like a whole stadium filled with fans. I loved it.

Part 2: How a boycott throws you out of the country

Inspired by our embarrassing but rather dashing intervention at the French embassy in Stockholm, I thought repeating this experience somewhere else would be extremely entertaining.
I went to the US 2 years ago, right when the war in Iraq was going on and right when francophobia had reached its peak, anything or anybody that was French was not popular, especially not fries. I landed at JFK, went through customs and ended up in front of the very intimidating custom agent who grabbed my passport and said:

Agent (threatening look, bad breath): Hm… So you’re a French citizen…
Me (cheerful eyes, great tan): No, Sir, I’m a FREEDOM citizen!


So no one really knows what’s going on through these Slovaks’ minds, but if this boycott thing spreads, and I’m sure it will, please boycott anything but not my blog? Ok? Actually if you’re running out of inspiration, you’ll find great boycott ideas on this lovely site, that must have been created by a very bored person: www.i-hate-france.com . So anything, freedom fries, freedom toasts, freedom letters, freedom kiss, boycott anything but not my blog!


20 Responses

  1. If you were chucked out of the Great Satan, are you allowed back in again?

  2. Micke! I love your stories!

    I haven’t laughed so hard in days!

    I love that French irreverance 🙂

  3. c’est ça, c’est ça, mon brave, là tu dérapes un peu – faudrait quand même rajouter une grande pincée de sel, as we say… but very funny nevertheless!!

  4. oh Rhino!
    What Rhino just wrote above in cryptic but correct French is that he basically doesn’t believe my stories! Ok, he knows me and knows that I’m neither super brave nor irreverent, (I am actually quite a sweet and innocent boy *blink-blink* but alcohol does wonders on me, and you for one should know that…
    Petit con, va! 😉

  5. awww Micke, I haven’t even started on the list of your qualities yet, m’dear – I’m saving that for 2006. Kicking off with the fact that you are the most fabulous host, a brilliant cook and terrific fun to boot!! xxxx

  6. thank you, … but still you think that I’m a liar… *sad*

  7. Not a liar, a teller of tales, a weaver of dreams, like a wise old man in an African village (that’s for Nomad), a singer of songs, a dreamer of dreams (I could keep this up all day..)

  8. …hm…well, one thing is sure is that obviously you are as full of shit as I am. That’s why we like each other, I guess…

  9. you two are indulging in a bit of a love-fest there!

    Mickelino is a good cook and fabulous host? Mmmmm….I wonder how much a ticket to Paris costs?

    rhino: less of the old please!

  10. EXACTLY! Thank you Nomad!

    A ticket to Paris is much cheaper than the ticket to Cape Town that you couldn’t afford, Nomie darling.

    PS: Is anybody actually working today? Seems that we are all writing from work… i suppose that’s the pre-Christmas spirit knocking…

  11. I never work – I’m to fabulous for that dahling!

    I haven’t been to Paris since 1984!

  12. Well, not much has changed since 1984. Except that now, I live here!

  13. And are you kind to strangers?

  14. no, I’m French so I’m arrogant and obnoxious, I also never wash. I do pout and moan a lot too in spite of my being an easy slut.

  15. In that case, I’ll have three of you!

  16. Rhino’s words remind me of a song.

    Son of a Son, of a sailer. By Jimmy Buffet.

    As the son of a son of a sailor,
    I went out on the sea foradventure,
    Expanding their view of the captain and crew Like a man just released from indenture.

    As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man,I have chalked up many a mile. Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks, And I’ve learned much from both of their styles.

    Son of a son, son of a son, son of a son of a sailor. Son of a gun; load the last ton One step ahead of the jailer.

    Now away in the near future, southeast of disorder, You can shake the hand of the mango man As he greets you at the border.

    And the lady she hails from Trinidad, Island of the spices.
    Salt for your meat and cinnamon sweet, And the rum is for all your good vices.

    Haul the sheet in as we ride on the wind that our Forefathers harnessed before us. Hear the bells ring as the tide rigging sings. It’s a son of a gun of a chorus.

    Where it all ends I can’t fathom, my friends. If I knew, I might toss out my anchor. So I’ll cruise along always searchin’ for songs, Not a lawyer, a thief or a banker.

    But a son of a son, son of a son, son of a son of a sailor. Son of a gun, load the last ton One step ahead of the jailer I’m just a son of a son, son of a son, son of a son of a sailor The sea’s in my veins, my tradition remains. I’m just glad I don’t live in a trailer.

    You are the Son of a Son of a Sailor Micke 🙂

  17. Micke seems at a loss for words after that, Rob

  18. OH Rob, it’s beautiful! But seriously, was this person on crack when he/she wrote this song?

  19. I always thought Buffet’s music (while not full crackhead material) is certainly “crack-ish” 🙂

    It’s a he. He also wrote that song, Margarettaville. Download it! Son of a son is a purty song.

  20. ihr ficker ich leck all eure mütter redet ma was mer a versteht!!! ich kack euch ins gsicht und schneid euch n schwanz ab

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