no god could bless this

I've gotten used to the fact that the government of my country wants to control the world and thinks it is fully prepared to do whatever it will take to do so, but I just cannot understand how my fellow citizens (subjects?) can actually be so stupid and infantile. Since I totally accept the fact that this is not a democratice republic, I guess I still want to be surprised to find that many Americans actually go along with the policies and attitudes of the junta, that accounts of this support are apparently not just misinformation from the authorities themselves.

Many Americans now seem to regard France as our most important enemy. Huh? For too long I've thought this was really just a joke, but these people are serious, and they aren't letting go. Are our narrow little minds unable to accept that anyone could honestly disagree with our incredibly stupid and insanely selfish and destructive foreign policy, one which threatens the entire world? Yes, apparently so, just as the radical fundamentalists now running the country treat any suggestion of opposition here at home as virtual treason.

Joyce Purnick describes a telling event which took place in a Manhattan restaurant very recently.

Last week on a crowded night at La Mirabelle, a French restaurant on West 86th Street in Manhattan, the woman some know as the singing waitress, Danielle Luperti, stood at a couple's table and — as she is sometimes wont to do — belted out a few lines of "La Vie en Rose." It was as if Edith Piaf had returned, and the crowd loved it. Well, most of the crowd did.

Ms. Luperti was applauded, there was a pause, people went back to their dinners, and then, lo, another voice — most decidedly in English this time. A patron began singing an emotional rendition of "God Bless America." It was Piaf vs. Smith (Kate).

There's more about that evening's incident in her column, including evidence that the rude patron may have been alone in chosing to reconfigure a dinner experience as a chauvinist [French word!] demonstration, and Purnick writes that she herself files the story in "the happy endings file."

My own reaction to her telling was one of absolute horror, and shame for my countrymen. Oh, I know, France doesn't really care, and in fact in the past we've given the French plenty of reasons not to be surprised by our infantilism, so I imagine it's not really such a shock, but I care, very much. I care about us, and I care about an entire world, one which should expect more from a nation and a people as advantaged as ours.

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Published on May 2, 2003 12:30 AM.

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