Stereotypes on Parade

As a long-time Francophile married to a Brit I am of course appalled at this display of European stereotypes that is making the rounds by email. But it's funny anyway.

Terrorism Alert!

The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent bombings and have raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” Londoners have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940, when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been recategorized from “Tiresome” to a “Bloody Nuisance.”

The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was during the great fire of 1666.

Also, the French Government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Surrender” and “Collaborate.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralysing the country's military capability.

It's not only the English and French that are on a heightened level of alert. Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans also increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday, as usual, and the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

Actually, I'm only publishing this because I believe in affirmative action for pan-European jokes that include smaller countries.

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3 Responses to Stereotypes on Parade

  1. aidan says:


    Monty Python managed to capture that peculiar tension in the Brit psyche between the polite-mask-presented and seething-demons-within. When Cleese allowed the madness to vent forth the laughs were never better. Ministry of Silly Walks still ranks for me as the best example of latent Brit insanity on the loose.

    As for stereotyping – there is truth in it. The French can indeed be pompous intellectual bast… err I mean poseurs … who love to bitch and complain. The recent national carping about Sarko’s jogging habit was bloody absurd. Hey, I even have two French associates who would be the first to admit this. One of them even loves to tell jokes at the expense of his fellow Quebeckers. So they can laugh at themselves, well … with wine added.

    But lay off the Irish stereotypes okay !

  2. paperwight says:

    [Hey, I even have two French associates who would be the first to admit this. One of them even loves to tell jokes at the expense of his fellow Quebeckers.]

    Um, is that a French guy making fun of the Quebecois? Because the French and the Quebecois aren’t “fellows”, except in the very loose francophone sense (where Quebecois is French, but different from modern French). Now, if you’ve got a Quebecois making fun of other Quebecois, that would be something to see.

  3. aidan says:

    Too true. In fact there is little love lost between the Quebecois and Euro French.

    My friend Yves is actually a bona fide Quebecker but has also lived and taught in Europe. Being a Liberal and pro-federal, he has an axe to grind with Quebec nationalists.

    Talking about stereotypes … there is a view of small town Quebec as xenophobic, homophobic etc. So you think, okay … it’s a stereotype and hope it only refers to a minority in any given community. But in the last Quebec election the ADQ leader, Mario Dumant, made headlines with an attack on inclusive “Montreal values” and said that “reasonable accommodation” of un-Christian religions had gone too far. Apparently many in small town Quebec liked his message because ADQ representation soared from 5 seats to 41.

    Recently I posted an article on my blog about the persecution of a gay couple who live in a suburban neighborhood in Quebec. It adds credence to the stereotype unfortunately.

    As for the Eurozone French, I like to tease them but I love the culture and the way of life. The first time I visited France on holiday I was a young teen, and it was like entering paradise. This was back in the early 70’s and I went with a small group of N. Irish Sunday school kids by rail to Lyons. The light, the sheer beauty of nature, the lightly attired females with bronzed bodies made a huge impression on us sheltered Irish lads. We were accustomed to “Ulster fries” with tea and toast. But breakfasts in camp consisted on huge bowls of steaming coffee, baguettes that you dunked, dark CHOCOLATE and STRAWBERRIES!!

    There were many wine enhanced escapades in what the French counselor referred to with a wink as “the strawberry fields”. We were amazed by the laissez faire ways because as Ulster Prods we were accustomed to living regimented lives.

    I love the French, but they are also fun to tease because really the stereotypes are sometimes true to form.

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