Bulletin N°64

25 March 2003
Grenoble, France
Subject: Radical Humor.

Dear Colleagues and Friends

The War Resistance Movement is growing, and the use of humor as an organizing tool is alive and well. The Grenoble Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements received, some time ago, the two items on French and American humor, which our research associate Professor Richard B.Du Boff sent us.

A third Item we just received from Professor James Stevenson, our research associate at Dalton, Georgia, on a behind a scenes view of America's oligarchy.

These jokes are still relevant today, and we invite you to read, laugh and organize against the current international criminal activities led by the United States government and its puppet states.


F. Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research

From: Professor Richard B. Du Boff
Philadelphia Inquirer Thu, Feb. 13, 2003
Subject: Americans discuss foreign policy...

Amid Iraq debate, jokesters fry the French
by Beth Gillin

On a recent Tonight Show, comedian Dennis Miller told host Jay Leno, "The
only way the French are going in is if we tell them we found truffles in Iraq."

On Late Show Friday, David Letterman observed, "France wants more
evidence.... The last time France wanted more evidence it rolled right
through France with a German flag."

Such jibes at America's oldest ally aren't coming solely from late-night

Two weeks ago Jed Babbin, a former deputy undersecretary of defense, told
Hardball's Chris Matthews that "going to war without France is like going
deer hunting without an accordion. You just leave a lot of useless, noisy
baggage behind."

Call it, as the French daily newspaper Liberation did Saturday, "le

Annoyed that France is back-pedaling from earlier support of a U.N.
resolution to disarm Iraq, entertainers and commentators here are
channeling their frustration into sarcasm.

Consider satirist Andy Borowitz, a contributor to CNN's American Morning.
Last week he capped off a discussion of Michael Jackson's plastic surgery
by quipping, "The French, of course, don't believe it and are demanding
further inspections."
The French appear to be reacting with their usual shrug of disdain, even as
they puzzle over the meaning of the Yankee insult "cheese-eating surrender
monkeys." "It's a little tiresome," an unidentified French diplomat told
the Times of London Saturday. "The Americans always throw tantrums like
this when they don't get their way."

Indeed, such jokes as "What do you call 100,000 Frenchmen with their hands
up? The Army" and "Why are there no fireworks at EuroDisney? Because every
time they went off, France tried to surrender" accurately reflect the
growing displeasure with France here, as measured by a Gallup poll taken
Feb. 3 through 6.

France's image among Americans is at its lowest point in a decade, the
Gallup Organization found. France's net favorable rating fell from 63
percent last year to 26 percent this month.

Germany and North Korea aren't winning any popularity contests either. But
France's image "has undergone the most significant change of any of the
countries tested," said Gallup.

This explains why, when the subject is France, callers to Glenn Beck's
Philadelphia-based national radio talk show jam the lines.

Beck, heard here from 9 to noon weekdays on WPHT-AM (1210), said, "The
French haven't done a thing for us since they gave us the Statue of
Liberty. Well, OK, let's box it up and send it back. As long as they'll pay
for shipping, I'm fine with that."
London Grill co-owner Terry McNally, who founded Philadelphia's Bastille
Day celebration, and who dresses up as Marie Antoinette every July,
struggled Tuesday to find something nice to say about France, and ended up
defending Marie. "She wasn't French," McNally said. "You have to remember
that Marie wanted to leave. She was from Vienna. She wanted to get out of

Asked to comment on French-American relations, Philadelphia's French
consul, Daniele Thomas Easton, diplomatically declined, saying, "I think it
would put some oil on the fire, so I can't speak."

All this is nothing new, of course. As the French are fond of saying, au

"A Frenchman's home is where another man's wife is," Mark Twain jotted in
his 1878-79 journal. "There is nothing lower than the human race except the
French," he said.

And in an age when ethnic stereotypes are frowned upon, it seems we'll
always have Paris.

Following in Twain's footsteps comes Homer Simpson, who, in The Simpsons
retelling of the Joan of Arc story, plays a soldier to daughter Lisa's Maid
of Orleans. "God wants you to lead us to victory?" says Homer. "But we're
French, we don't even have a word for that."

Creator Matt Groening has been skewering Gallic mores since the show's
first season. In the 1990 episode "The Crepes of Wrath," Bart goes to
France as an exchange student, only to be exploited by unscrupulous wine

But it was an episode eight years ago that spawned an insult for the ages.
Groundskeeper Willie, forced by budget cuts to teach French at
Springfield's elementary school, bellows to the class in his rich Scottish
burr, "BONJOURRRRRR, ye cheese-eatin' surrender monkeys."

The phrase, kept alive ever since by Internet bloggers and columnist Jonah
Goldberg, has caused puzzlement in France. On Saturday, conservative
newspaper Le Figaro translated it as "primates capitulards et toujours en
quete de fromages," or, roughly, "capitulating primates always questing for

Le Figaro went on to suggest Americans are being whipped into a frenzy by
"pen-wielding warmongers" in the White House led by "le cowboy Bush," who
are enraged at France over "the affront which it has inflicted on the
muscular diplomacy of Uncle Sam."

Mais non.

It was the great philosopher Voltaire who observed, in the obscure manner
of all great French philosophers, "God is a comedian playing to an audience
too afraid to laugh."
Not here. Fox News Channel commentator Fred Barnes observed cheerfully last
weekend: "These days, the quickest way to get a laugh if you're a public
speaker is to start with a French joke."

From: Professor Richard B. Du Boff
Subject: Others discuss America ...

What do you call someone who speaks three languages? --"Multilingual".
What do you call someone who speaks two languages? --"Bilingual".
What do you call someone who speaks one language? --"An American".
In America, what do you call a worker who can fit a round peg in a round hole?
An American was telling one of his favorite jokes to a group of friends.
"Hell is a place where the cooks are British, the waiters are French, the
policemen are Germans, and the trains are run by Italians."
The lone European in the group pondered all this for a second and
responded, "I can't say about the police and the trains, but you're
probably right about going out to eat. A restaurant in Hell would be one
where the cooks are British and the waiters are French -- and the customers
are all Americans."
What do you call a county that lacks a modern telecommunications system?
--"Technologically backward"
What do you call a county that lacks a fully integrated banking system?
--"Economically underdeveloped."
What do you call a country that lacks a basic public transportation system?
A Canadian couple was strolling through a park in London and sat down on a
bench next to an elderly Briton. The Brit noticed their lapel pins sporting
the Canadian flag and, to make conversation, said "Judging by your pins,
you must be Canadians".
"Indeed we are", replied the Canadian gentleman.
"I hope you won't mind my asking," said the Brit, "but what do the two red
bars on your flag represent?"
"Well," replied the Canadian gentleman, "one of the bars stands for the
courage and hardiness of our people in settling the cold expanses and broad
prairies of our country. The other is for the honesty and integrity for
which Canadians are known."
The Brit mulled this over and nodded. Having poor eyesight at his advanced
age, and not being familiar with maple leaves, he then asked, "And what's
that six-pointed item in the middle of your flag?"
"Oh, that's to remind us of the six words of our national motto," the
Canadian lady piped up.
The Brit asked, "And what are those six words?"
The Canadian smiled and replied: "Don't blame us: we're not Americans."
How many American tourists does it take to change a light bulb?
Fifteen: Five to figure out how much the bulb costs in the local currency,
four to comment on "how funny-looking" local lightbulbs are, three to hire
a local person to change the bulb, two to take pictures, and one to buy
postcards in case the pictures don't come out.
Q: What's the difference between an American and an American bomb?
A: The bomb is smart enough to know where to find Iraq
It is said that Mohandas Ghandi was asked, "What is your opinion of
American civilization?"
His reply: "I think it would be an excellent idea."
Noteworthy dates in 20th-Century American history:
1917 -- When World War I began.
1918 -- When the U.S. won World War I.
1941 -- When World War II began.
1945 -- When the U.S. won World War II.
While on vacation in a foreign land, an American happened to chance upon a
curious store. The sign outside read: "Brains for Sale". Intrigued, he went
inside and began to wander about its premises.
On the shelves he found a variety of brains. A Chinese brain was priced at
$0.95/lb.; a Russian brain at $1.49/lb.; an English at $2.89/lb.; and a
French at $4.99/lb. However, he did not see an American brain. After a
while of searching he found one. He was amazed by its price: $89.99/lb!
Filled with pride, the American exclaimed to the store attendant: "I see
that the American brain is the most valuable!" To this the attendant
replied: "Sir, do you have any idea how many Americans it takes to produce
a pound of brains?"
The following is allegedly the transcript of a radio conversation of a US
naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in
October 1995, as released by the Chief of Naval Operations:
Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees the South to avoid a collision.
Americans: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees the North to avoid a
Canadians: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the
South to avoid a collision.
Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR
Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.
Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.
What do you call a person who professionally generates maps of the world?
--A cartographer.
What do you call an academician who studies the global distribution of
resources? --A geographer.
What do you call a person doesn't know what geography is? --An American.
On the sixth day God turned to the Archangel Gabriel and said: "Today I am
going to create a land called Canada. It will be a land of outstanding
natural beauty. It shall have tall majestic mountains full of bears and
eagles, beautifully sparkling lakes bountiful with trout, forests full of
elk and moose, high cliffs overlooking sandy beaches with an abundance of
sea life, and rivers stocked with salmon." God continued, "I shall make the
land rich in oil so that the inhabitants will prosper. I shall call these
inhabitants "Canadians", and they shall be known as the most friendly
people on the earth."
"But Lord," asked Gabriel, "don't you think you are being too generous to
these Canadians?"
"Not really," replied God. "Just wait and see the neighbors I'm going to
give them.
What's the difference between Americans and the engines of the jets on
which they travel abroad?
After they land, the engines of the jets quit whining.

From Professor James A. Stevenson
March 23, 2003

I found this on BuzzFlash.com, the UnDrudge Report - "Bush's Groom and Gloom" - BuzzFlash News Analysis. You can see this interesting BuzzFlash page at: http://www.buzzflash.com/analysis/03/03/21_groom.html


Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research at CEIMSA
Center for the Advanced Study of American
Institutions and Social Movements
University of Grenoble-3