Monday, March 2, 2009

Virgin on the ridiculous

Bereft as I am of gainful employment, M. Sarkozy having had other ideas about us wicked foreigners stealing the jobs of real French people, and having reduced the housekeeping to a minimum by tying the offspring to the sofa each evening in front of some suitably intellectually stimulating output from the BBC, I'm often reduced to posting on various forums in search of a bit of light entertainment.

I'm a regular poster on the education section of one forum where I frequently get my head shot off for daring to suggest that the French education system is actually not perfect (note to self: put new tin helmet on Christmas list). I was even asked to become a sort of junior moderator thingy which was probably just their futile attempt at shutting me up. Needless to say it didn't work.

Recently, there's been an interesting discussion on the documentary that was shown on TV called 'The Virgin Daughters' about the purity movement in the US. People were outraged at the idea that a young girl's virginity should become some sort of prize, paedophilia was mentioned, patriarchal religion was lambasted and the Muslims were blamed.

What? But they don't have anything to do with it. No matter, when indignation is righteous, common sense flies out of the window. One of the best comments I saw recently was 'not all Muslims are terrorists but all Islamic fundamentalists are Muslims'. Well DUH!!

I suggested that, really as they weren't affecting my life, I was happy to let them get on with it. If they want to go to the altar as virgins, why not. At least they wouldn't be accompanied by those little 21st Century friends, Chlamydia and Herpes. I of course also went to the altar a virgin..... virgin on middle age, virgin on a bus pass.

It seems that that wasn't the right answer. I'm supposed to be righteously indignant too apparently, even if what was being said was incorrect and borderline racist, I'm supposed to expound the virtues of our Western way of life, which as we all know leaves much to be desired.

They are funny places, these internet forums. I know people that live out some sort of bizarre fantasy life on them, no doubt because their own is so mundane, otherwise calm and gentle people who turn into ranting lunatics, some people even have more than one username and argue with themselves!

While they can be a mine of useful information, all too often they become the domain of the armchair experts and people who seem to have far too much time on their hands but still manage to fit in hours on the computer telling everyone how THEY are the only ones who 'integrated' (my least favourite word), that THEY are the only ones who moved for the lifestyle and love of France, everyone else just wanted a bigger house, that THEY have such a wonderful, full life here that they just don't have time for anything else. Well, a quick look at their posting history reveals that they logged on at 8am and were still there at 11pm. So much for a full life, eh?

But the thing that gets my back up most is the constant UK-bashing -or yUK as they have so cleverly renamed it. Sometimes I wonder if they aren't just trying to convince themselves that they made the right decision such is the vitriol they reserve for their home country. The worst offenders clearly never read French newspapers or watch the news and have only a vague grasp of what is happening here while their view of UK life is clearly modelled on the worst rantings of the Daily Mail. Everyone under 21 carries a knife (in France, it's more likely to be a gun), everyone under 21 binge drinks (the government here has recently introduced measures to combat the growing problem with binge drinking), it's full of immigrants (immigrants make up over 10% of the French population, compared to around 7% in the UK). This is actually one of my favourites as they are immigrants themselves - no sorry, they're expats aren't they? Well actually no, not in any sense of the word. The NHS is rarely spared. 'Filthy and riddled with MRSA' they shout (France has a similar MRSA rate to the UK) and the healthcare is so much better (well, if you can afford to pay for it). Get them going on education and you hear that discipline is so much better (wrong again. Discipline is fairly appalling), the students respect the teachers (the number being stabbed by their pupils seem to belie that), the teachers know how to control their class (seeing as they have no actual training on how to be a teacher, this is as hollow a claim as all the others).

But I always wonder why they feel the need to be so negative about the UK, while at the same time being so uninformed about France.

As far as I can see it's the same shit, just different shaped bread.


Anonymous said...

Good points. I have to say that if the entire readership of the Daily Mail moved to France the UK would be a far better place! Years ago I stayed at the villa of a friend of a friend in an ex pat community in Spain and I was surprised to find that some of the people had lived there for up to 10 years without learning a word of Spanish. I suspect they would be among the first to criticise immigrants here for not being able to speak English.

KatduGers said...

There are so many people in France who never bother to learn French - some of them even seem prud of it. I'm not sure if they are worse than the ones who claim to always speak french and only have french friends - you know, the ones who have "integrated".

Bunch of hypocrites - especialy when the UK is still paying for most of them to live here, as most of them are on pensions.

We must have had a similar day VLiF - too coincidental that we posted on more or less the same topic!!

KatduGers said...

Hello again - have nominated you for an award on my blog!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I'm with those other two above - They've said exactly what I would have wished to say...

My only addition would be that the British adore moaning, and have made it something of an art-form.

As for the NHS, my most recent experience of it was very, very positive - I could not rate the staff more highly...

Love the blog! Are you moving back to the UK, I am sure I read that somewhere, and I do realise your lovely house is for sale - I wish you all the best with it!

(Very) Lost in France said...

CA - I couldn't agree more. My greatest achievement in the past few years was to wean my parents off years of DM readership. They are much happier for it! But - I shall shortly be blogging about my own starring role in the DM, media whore that I am! VLiF

Kat - I'm starting to think that so many of the British in France are just living, breathing cliches. They profess to be delighted to escape 'class-ridden' Britain then form their very own class structure here, the We've been here for 20 years brigade being better than the lets only speak French brigade who in turn are better than the nouvelles arrivees who in turn are better than those that only moved to get a bigger house!! VLiF

(Very) Lost in France said...

Kat - thanks for the award. You are too too kind! VLiF

AWONI - yes, and it now looks like it will be sooner rather than later. Yikes! VLiF

screamish said...

yep, forums are scary scary places. It's too easy to sit in your home and pontificate, far too easy. Everyone should be compelled to post with real names then we'd get a bit more mature debate about the world...

The expats I know in fact tend to moan a lot about France...and the UK too...but they don't seem happy either way. No wonder they're a bit miserable, caught between two worlds.

there was a theory as to why the Australian tv soapie Home and Away was so popular in the UK, ran along the lines of Home and Away represents a dream of what England might be with sun and not so many immigrants.