A non-French reader now based in France has concluded that I am a Francophobe. Pas du tout! On opportunity-cost grounds, I may mildly regret the years I spent loading French, Latin, etc into my schoolboy brain (as opposed to Arabic, Chinese, etc), but that is hardly France's fault. Least of all is it the fault of the French singer whose box office appeal was established by the time I was learning the language and has spanned more decades than Bruce Springsteen's: the immortal Johnny Hallyday, shown in a previous post in folkloric (if unintentionally comic) outfit, thus:
The reason I had involved Hallyday in the first place was to argue that Arizona's "show me your papers" immigration law seemed fundamentally Gallic/Napoleonic (or Chinese) in its inspiration, rather than American. That doesn't make me either anti-French or anti-Chinese. I like both places, as I like "the Elvis of France," Johnny H himself. But I do stand solidly with James Thurber, as previously quoted in saying that "je vais demander ses cartes d'identité!" is a French import we don't need. Here's the reader's complaint:
I've been sitting here, a casual francophile, in Sète, south of France, for a couple or three weeks steaming about your no-comment-necessary take-down of Johnny for dressing up as a cowboy, complete with wool Stetson, medallion, Rolex, and super-bowl ring.
What you may not understand is that Johnny never had a choice in the matter, not after Elvis first turned out for, what was it, Love Me Tender? If Elvis had played mostly carnival barkers or seal trainers Johnny would have had to dress up as one of those, no fault of his own. It was the career choice.