How the French do it worse

How the French do it worse

News

norman lebrecht

July 10, 2021

Reader’s Comment of the Day comes from Albert, a French historian, provoked by the way some French musicians have reacted to bank sponsorship.

While I think that I understand what this group of advisors to the Société Générale ‘Musical Mécénat’ are trying to say, this is, sadly, and yet again, a very typically silly and absurd French story that would make no sense in more collaborative cultures where people maintain and show professional and human respect towards others and disagreements are usually resolved internally, instead of always ending up with a public conflict, as is the usual case in France.

The French way of managing business, culture, politics and simple human or civil relations is nearly always based on confrontation, often violent, both physical and verbal and in the end little if anything is ever achieved. This is not the sign of a sophisticated nor a refined society, even though the French would tell you the exact opposite. Constant arguing, shouting, insults, constant internal strife and conflict, constant long written diatribes against other collaborators and going on endless strikes are France’s speciality and what has made it a place to be professionally avoided.

Fortunately for the world, other cultures do not live in a permanent state of conflict and outrage. Other cultures do not live in a permanent state of social tension, with strikes and violent protests a permanent part of daily life. Other cultures also don’t consume the highest quantities of psychotropic drugs in the world to calm down the frayed nerves and anxious inhabitants, all victims of this underdeveloped culture of communication. It all comes down to respect of others and finding common ground. Respect of others, respect for their opinions, for their differences is what makes a society successful and capable of resolving conflicts and developing. The French think that because they say ‘bonjour’ and still call people ‘Madame’ and ‘Monsieur’ that their culture shows the highest respect towards others! That is all a facade and of no social value whatsoever. Watch any “debate” on French television and you will be shocked and horrified by the lack of manners and lack of respect towards others, with people shouting over each other, never listening to what the other person has to say, never acknowledging that the other may have an idea or opinion of value, but instead demolishing everything and anybody who crosses in front of them. This is the most primitive human communication that one can witness. It is no wonder then that we have here, yet again, another French drama, of one group against another, unable to resolve their problems together and requiring them to write public letters denouncing and insulting the very people that they should be working together with. Nothing new here. It is daily life in France. It is so pathetic and so uncivilised and primitive.

Comments

  • sam says:

    “‘from Albert, a French historian”

    Really?

    Judging from his sophomorish dyspeptic diatribe, he’s neither French nor an historian, or if he is, he’s very bad at being either.

    NL has started this bad habit of posting anonymous “comments of the day” that offer neither insight nor wit.

    Like reading the equivalent of verbal diarrhea.

    Please find a cure for this.

  • Steve says:

    “…. other cultures do not live in a permanent state of conflict and outrage.” The writer obviously hasn’t visited the UK recently. Or many other places for that matter.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It’s because in France, everybody reads Proust, from elementary school onwards. This produces a deep resentment about the beautiful, sophisticated life that has been denied to them, so they ventilate their spiritual frustration into their surroundings which have become so primitive and trivial.

    • Hornbill says:

      Every now and again I get so tired of a lot of the nonsense on SD that I wonder why I bother to keep reading it. Then along comes John Borstlap with another of his gems. That makes it all worthwhile.

    • Ashu says:

      [This produces a deep resentment about the beautiful, sophisticated life that has been denied to them]

      It’s worth reflecting on how it came to denied to them, and not to others. Don’t flatter yourself.

  • Novagerio says:

    “The French think that because they say ‘bonjour’ and still call people ‘Madame’ and ‘Monsieur’ that their culture shows the highest respect towards others! That is all a facade and of no social value whatsoever. Watch any “debate” on French television and you will be shocked and horrified by the lack of manners and lack of respect towards others” (…)
    Ever seen the House of Commons in Westminster? And the massive fights, insults, public humiliation, booing and hissing, all begining with “the Honourable Gentleman”?…
    I wouldn’t think the Brits do it any better.

  • Ernest says:

    C’est la vie

  • John Salter says:

    Who is this “Albert”?

  • Mock Mahler says:

    I’m not surprised that Albert’s surname is suppressed here. Definitely a pot whining about kettles.

  • E says:

    This is so true, alas.

  • GUEST says:

    Isn’t great to see that some groups are still able to be pilloried with abandon? No cancel culture here. Replace “France” and “French” here with, say, “Israel”. Then sit back and watch the outcry!

    • Ashu says:

      [Replace “France” and “French” here with, say, “Israel”. Then sit back and watch the outcry!]

      Can you think of any reasons why this might be a problematic comparison? I can.

  • The French musicians have a valid concern. Public arts funding is generally distributed relatively evenly throughout a country’s regions, while private funding is generally concentrated in a few large urban financial centers where wealthy donors live. The wealthy often use their funding to enhance their own status by associating themselves with expensive celebrity musicians instead of more reasonable spending that would help to create access for all people in all regions of a country.

    The Met and the USA’s big six orchestras are examples of what happens. We have a few luxury institutions that serve as cultural country clubs for the wealthy while our regional orchestras and opera houses can barely even survive. The average salary of a ROPA orchestra, for example, is less than one tenth the salaries of the NYP, CSO, or BSO.

    We also pay top administrators such huge salaries that it would be half or more of the entire budget of many of our regional orchestras.

    The consequences of all of this are obvious. Germany, which uses public funding, has 83 opera houses spread around the country that pay full time salaries to the orchestra musicians, while the USA has only one house that pays a full time salary. And even though the USA has four times the population. All Germans, and most continental Europeans (all of whom live in social democracies with public arts funding,) have convenient access to opera, while in the USA many would have to travel hundreds of miles to experience a fully professional opera production.

    I wish our esteemed French colleagues all good fortune with their struggle.

    • John Borstlap says:

      For Europe all of this is true except for the Netherlands, where classical music is seen as a silly entertainment far inferior to football matches. The Netherlands are, of course, not a truly European country.

    • Nijinsky says:

      Yes that’s true, and a very reasonable comment.
      Sorry, I couldn’t take this “report” up there, regarding “France” seriously, because it sounded so much like someone who lives in an area, and having to deal with the “circumlocution” office called a government, and then social patterns, and probably religions, and who then just lets it rip spouting everything he might think or say were he allowed to, but probably only sees as toxins he got rid of afterwards. Although this guy his a historian, and I don’t know whether he lives, there….

      What Mr. Borstlap now displays regarding the country he lives in.

      I regularly think such stuff about the country I reside in, as well.

  • Anonymous says:

    Being Israeli, I suffer from the exact same things written in this comment here in Israel (I think we have worse politicians than in France though). I have a feeling it is rather common for people of a given nation to observe their own people as crude. I might be wrong.

    • Saxon says:

      “we have worse politicians”

      The nice thing about living in a democracy is that you get the politicians you vote for. If you don’t like the currrent choice, then vote for someone more congenial. If enough people agree with you then the politicians will be replaced.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    French committees and administrators are reliably unreliable.

  • Nijinsky says:

    And next week, “What’s Wrong with the Middle East,” from a space alien who has fortunately been invisible during the whole time. Comment is guaranteed to show up, since it has the potential to remain [invisible].

  • Nijinsky says:

    Um….

    Whether a historian of, or someone who lives in a (just about any) country, it is sublimely natural to give such an eloquent portrayal. If everyone frequenting this blog was given such liberties, it truly would amount to something.

    Blessings of immense volume would ensue…..

  • Ben G. says:

    Charles de Gaulle’s famous comment below would be a fitting addition to Albert’s article:

    “How can you govern a country in which there are 246 kinds of cheese?”

  • Nijinsky says:

    Wondering who understands that the “above” synopsis of the “French,” could only be a caricature that isn’t made to be taken seriously, if it applies at all in its exaggeration, mostly regarding mob mentality, which one could transpose to any other “mob” or country or what have you (“political” glue) and do the same.

    Lighten up….

    Get over yourselves…..

  • Nijinsky says:

    And come on you guys, the French can’t be that bad, they almost had THIS as a depiction of their new face, already in 1848!

    You know, a prodigy country:

    https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/painting.html?no_cache=1&zoom=1&tx_damzoom_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=1840

    Napoléon the THIRD mind you: On 2 December 1848, Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoléon III) was elected president of the Second Republic,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Revolution_of_1848

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