Thursday, September 18, 2003

Q: What's the difference between a Frenchman and a piece of toast?
A: You can make a soldier out of a piece of toast.

Poor Frogs. I really do feel bad for them. Before the second world war, it would've been ridiculous to tell that joke. The French were always soldiers; among the nastiest of soldiers, too. My great-great-uncles, George and Louis Sherwood, were American-French. When Louis heard about the outbreak of WWI and the danger to mother France, he ran away to Canada to join the war. When the US finally entered WWI, he deserted, came back, and joined the American Navy. George once single-handledly liberated a town in the Phillipines (a very small town, as you might well imagine). And George and Louis' father, Adolph Sherbouttete, from Alsace-Lorraine as you can tell from his name and worldview, moved to America because he was convinced that France and Germany could never get along for very long, and he wanted to spare his children the suffering of constant war.

When I was in France, I talked to these two French girls about politics. Jody said that I gave them a pat answer; but I was genuine enough in it. They asked how I felt about President Bush and the War on Iraq and I said that I didn't like the president much, but he was better than our alternative in the election. And I didn't know about the war; all of the early signs led us to believe that it was necessary. But history will reveal all. It may well be that the president was wrong, intentionally or not, and the war was unjust. But it may well be that the president was right, and it was cerainly just to depose Saddam Hussein. Only time will tell. They laughed at me, and said: "What do you mean time will tell? How can you wait?" I laughed too, and said I didn't have a choice. They agreed with me, and said that they didn't have a choice about Chiraq either. No one liked him, but the other option was LePen, a racist, and veritable fascist. It's interesting that so many of the world's elections are ruled by choosing the lesser evil.

I have to go to a meeting now with the professor who's class I'll be teaching next week. I really don't want to go. I really don't want to teach that class. Irritating.