To remain polite, I can only say, what poppycock ! How can anyone read this sort of writing and be gullible enough to agree with this guy ??Marcel Pagnol, a French author having spent his childhood in Provence, and the producer Claude Berri magnificently demonstrate the Provence character in the double-feature films Jean de Florette I and II, also named respectively "La source en Provence" and "Manon des sources". While showing the natural, splendid nature of Provence at the superficial level better than any tourist film could possibly do it, the film also has a parallel, very sombre story to tell about the cruel selfishness that makes some people in Provence do everything for money and gain, whatever the damage to others, in extreme cases as far as murder. It is a movie one can watch many times and discover new details every time. At the first viewing, many would mainly be charmed by the beautiful nature. At the following viewings, the devious scheming becomes increasingly clear. It's nothing less than a masterpiece.
Thank you Bev for your clear and honest Insight. I agree, he hasn't lived in France long enough to understand the local culture or game. It will be interesting to see what his opinion will be in a decade if he manages to stay in "frustrating" France for that long.OK, finally had a chance to do a closer skim of the article. It's almost funny to see that the author has many of the same complaints I had my first few years here.
France is a perplexing, frustrating country when you're an outsider and it's clear that he is still fighting the old fight to show how "wrong" they are in their attitudes. Well, the French aren't going to change because some foreigner doesn't like the way things are here. And most of the complaints in the article stem from the same source: this guy has no clue what the rules are and, as a foreigner, manages to break all the rules so makes himself fair game to the "perfidious French."
No matter where you go in the world, as a foreigner you're always going to be wrong - because you don't know the local laws or rules or customs. The French are probably better at pointing this out to the errant foreigner than many other cultures. Once you get familiar with the rules (or probably more accurately, "the game as she is played") you start to make fewer errors and stick out a bit less.
I'm really tempted to go through on a point by point basis and show what the author has either totally misunderstood or misinterpreted, complete with parallels in the Anglo-Saxon world, but I don't really have the time nor the ambition to do so. The one quick example I'd offer is his rant about how the French are out to cheat foreigners because they are too trusting. Hey, wash up on the shores in the US without a proper appreciation of the notion that "money talks" and try to work your way through any legal situation - where the Golden Rule has become "he who has gold rules" and I think you could get a similar rant about the US.
Chances are he won't stick around long enough to be disabused of his ideas. Besides, it looks like he makes a reasonable living off being a grumpy critic of other countries.It will be interesting to see what his opinion will be in a decade if he manages to stay in "frustrating" France for that long.