Fellow blogstress and regular letter-writer Bookworm about my post yesterday on the French, les world-class snobs when it comes to les americains–at a time when French civilization is slowly dying and is unable or unwilling to defend itself against mayhem-makers within its own borders (see “The French Disconnection,” Nov.9):
“I enjoyed your rant about the French, especially your point about French waiters, etc., who happily took your money, but refused to listen to your classroom French.”
“It reminded me of a trip I took to France some 20 years ago. As part of the trip, I took a tour of an ancient building, along with a group of about 20 other tourists. Not a single person in the group spoke French, although all of them, regardless of nationality, spoke some English. The tour guide, a young woman, gave the entire hour-long tour in rapid French. As the tour ended, someone came up to her and, in English, asked for directions, to which she replied in perfect English! She then had the audacity to stand there with her hand out, seeking tips. Most of the tourists, horribly cowed by her attitude, gave her healthy tips, but I’m still pleased 20 years later to say that I stiffed her.
“In defense of some of the French, though, I must say that the very next day I toured a castle, where I was the only non-French speaker in the bunch, and the tour guide spoke only French. He was a sweet old man and, every time he knew an English word for something, he’d turn to me and repeat it several times to make sure I got it. He got quite a nice tip.”
Way to go Bookworm! And Bookworm also has some thoughts about another world-class snob, feminista Naomi Wolf, whom The Other Charlotte nicely dissected yesterday (see “Naomi Wolf Strikes Again,” Nov. 9):
“I had the dubious pleasure of attending high school with her, and can assure you that she always gave the appearance of coming from another planet: highly intelligent, beautiful, arrogant, condescending, artsy-tartsy, hostile to all outside her clique of like-minded girls, intense 1960s ethos — basically everything you still see in her now.”
You’ve got her nailed, Bookworm. There were a lot of that type, not in my high school, but at my college. The cliquish and insufferable boho types who considered the rest of us their intellectual inferiors.ortunately I don’t have to run into any of them now that I’ve graduated.
And E.B adds her voice to our ongoing outrage at “third-wave feminist” Julie Shiller’s insistence that college-educated women who want to be stay-at-home moms aren’t just wasting their degrees; they’re “selfish” (see “You Want to Be a Full-Time Mother? How Selfish!,” Nov. 7, and the Mailbag for Nov. 9):
“I, too, found Julie Shiller’s column a bit of an eye roller. But I found I couldn’t get too exercised because she was, as an Irish friend of mine would say, ‘speaking out of her arse.’…
“Ms. Shiller, it is noted, is a 20-year-old [college] junior majoring in sociology. I’d bet she has little, if any, real-world work experience. She probably has few friends who are balancing careers and children. She is writing from the perspective of someone living in the wonderfully insular world of the theoretical.
“Why, though, is there this attitude that the only contribution to society that matters is one made through a career or by drawing a paycheck? One woman I know has four children. She is a full-time mother and one of the founders of a pregnancy center in New York City. She has done more to impact and help women than most people I know. Write the column again, Ms. Shiller, in about 15 years. After you have experience in some demanding, highly competitive, high-energy, long-hours profession. And.only if you also have children.”
Another excellent perspective. Thanks, E.B.