What the French really think about Anglos according to Google
Want to know what the French really think about us Anglos but were always too shy to ask? Well who better to tell us than Google. The internet search engine auto-fill function gives an insightful, albeit unscientific, view into what French people really think about the English, Americans, the Scottish, the Irish etc. It works like this. When you type in the first words of a question into Google the search engine offers to complete the sentence with guesses based on what other people searched for as well as your online profiles. So in order to see what the French think about us Anglos we went to Google France and typed in "Pourquoi les Americains...", "Pourquoi les Anglais...", or "Pourquoi les Ecossais" etc. Google offered up some interesting answers. See the results below. Are they myths or reality?
Why do Americans hate the French? Funnily enough, Americans pose this same question to Google about the French. There is clearly some mutual distrust here. But, any actual friction seems to be related to government actions, wars or foreign policy, rather than some fundamental dislike between the two nationalities. The French are often confused and hurt by the regular outbreaks of French-bashing, by US media organisations. Both CNN and Newsweek have had a dig at France in recent months.
Why are Americans fat? Given that Anglos ask Google "Why are the French so thin?" it's perhaps not a surprise that the stereotypically health-conscious French ask the opposite question about their American cousins. And it's a fair question to ask as more than a third of adult Americans are considered obese. The explanation is simple: a high-calorie diet combined with a sedentary lifestyle has left many Americans dangerously overweight.
Why are Americans so uncultured? The French are famously proud of their own cultural heritage, but it appears they don't hold American culture in high regard. Perhaps the influx of US reality TV shows, such as Jersey Shore in France has shaped their opinion of Americans somewhat. Also the French remember well George W Bush and his famous gaffes.
Why are the English jealous of the French? Perhaps this question gives an insight into what the French believe is the reason for all the French-bashing coming from across the English Channel. On the other hand there is good reason for Anglos to be jealous. French women have some of the longest life expectancy on earth, the cuisine is world-renowned and there is so much cultural and natural beauty in France that it attracts over 83 million foreign tourists per year.
Why do the British drive on the left? Given that most of the world drives on the right, this seems a fairly natural question for the French to ask of their neighbours across the Channel. The answer goes back to Roman times and is primarily due to most people being right-handed. Travelers wanted to protect themselves, so they kept left in order to only cross other travelers on the right side, which was their stronger hand for sword fighting.
Why are the Irish redheaded? Redheads are seemingly not that common in France, hence the need for the French to ask why so many Irish and indeed Scottish are ginger-haired. Perhaps the film Braveheart has skewed the French view of the Scots and the Celts. But in truth Ireland and the UK are home to the majority of Europe's redheads which is often attributed to the lack of sunshine. People with red hair can only be produced by two parents who carry a certain gene.
Why do the Irish emigrate? The French are building their own reputation for emigrating in recent years so perhaps it's no surprise they want to know what forced millions of Irish to move abroad over the years. The first great wave of emigration from Ireland in the 1840s was sparked by the great potato famine, though later generations left for better economic opportunities. However, starting in the mid-1990s as the Irish economy boomed it became a magnet for immigrants.
Why do Canadians speak French? Perhaps it still seems strange to the French that part of Anglo North America is still speaking the language of Molière. But they obviously want to know why. Well, after the French left their colonies, in what later became Canada, to the British, many of the locals chose not to learn the language of their new masters. The deep roots of the French language led to it being named in the 1970s the only official language of the Canadian province of Quebec.
Why are Canadians so nice? Canadians have clearly had a positive impression on the French, who have a reputation among Anglos for being rude and well, not nice. But they have clearly not met Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Although he said he was sorry after a video surfaced of him smoking crack. But he never apologized after a separate video, this one depicting him ranting about murder while intoxicated, became public.
Why are Australians racist? This question might be explained by the recent story of an Australian man abusing two French tourists on a bus in Melbourne. In his vile, racist rant he even tells them to "speak English or die". A video of the incident went viral around the world. Or perhaps the French have heard of the ‘White Australia Policy’, a now defunct collection of anti-Asian immigration policies from the turn of the 20th century.
Why do the Scottish wear kilts? Again perhaps the film Braveheart has skewed the French view of Scottish dress sense. If the French go to Edinburgh or Glasgow now, they're only likely to see them worn if there's a wedding or another special occasion. Kilts originated in the 16th century as a garment designed specifically to deal with the cold, wet weather of the Scottish highlands. The original kilt is long enough to be used like a hood or cape to protect against cold weather.
Why do Indians shake their heads? The French are not the only people asking Google this question. The renowned Indian head wobble can actually mean a variety of things from ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘maybe’, ‘what’s up?’ and ‘carry on’. Just how Americans or Brits might use certain hand gestures, the head wobble is a non-verbal communication.
New Zealand - When it came to New Zealand the French have only one thing in mind, according to Google and that's visiting it. It appears the country's reputation as the ultimate travel destination appeals to the adventurous French. And for South Africans, well the French want to know Why are they white. In fact only around 9 percent of the population is white (like the Cape Town cyclists above), but that's still far higher than in any other African country.
This week’s Sunday Croissant is all about cheese. Why I hear you ask? Well…