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It happens here

The other day, I was debating the legality of entering my apartment without prior notice with my landlord when my neighbor got home. My neighbor is French; I don’t know the first thing about him other than that. He’s quiet. My landlord gave up on our conversation, and started haranguing my neighbor about speaking French. “Don’t go speaking French around here! I don’t like what France has been doing!”

I wimped out; I didn’t tell him that my neighbor had every right to speak French if he wanted.

I live about a mile and a half from Harvard; about the same from Tufts, and maybe three miles from MIT. It doesn’t get much more liberal college town than this. Still, my landlord was yelling at my neighbor, because he is French.


  1. It’s too bad you don’t have some sort of landlord-brain-scan device – I’m still really curious to know what the man-in-the-street-who-hates-France thinks “France has been doing”, exactly.

    As an aside – apparently, this is why the death penalty is so popular in the U.S. – not in spite of international opposition, but because of it.

  2. It occurs to me to wonder… Is Canada’s behavior at this point that much different? Are Canadians avoiding this sort of reaction simply because they don’t have veto power?

  3. Hm. I dunno. There’s been some longstanding friction between Canada and Francophones anyhow… then again, Canada is pretty happy to be not involved in the war. Chretien is a Chirac supporter.

  4. No, I meant, “Why isn’t anyone threatening to send back some hockey teams along with the Statue of Liberty?” It seems to me that, apart from the veto issue, any U.S. Citizen who hates France should also hate Canada. Moreso, I’d imagine – France is offering conditional support at this point.

  5. Oh! I hadn’t even thought of that.

    Canada hasn’t made itself the focus of the dissent against the war on Iraq.

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