The French Just Don't Get It
This was fun. Good writing is supposed to provoke debate. Unfortunately the debate wasn’t so much about wine as about poor use of “irony”. I will continue to enjoy your articles, Steve, and I respect you for acknowledging that you were out of line with some of your comments. For Kelly, I discovered that HDF Kitto was from Cornwall, England, where I believe all Kitto’s originated, so he probably was related in some way. French wine, to me, will continue to be the hallmark to which all wines should be compared. I am currently living in China – you should try the Great Wall Cabernet Sauvignon. Actually, no you shouldn’t.
The French make wine?
I am not French either, so not insulted by your “irony”. But since you seem to agree with Erwin (the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite), can you tell me what is the opposite of stupid frogs in your context?
And if we stick to the wine, Sandy MacDonald comments “The French seem to be stuck with terroirs that don’t allow them to make the richer, fuller wines that California can make”. Well my anwser to that is you obviously didn’t drink enough french wine lately. That was probably true 10 years ago but let me tell you some french wines are now made with the new world taste. I won’t give my opinion if it is good or bad but ever heard of Michel Rolland? The Frenchman who (some say, including Robert Parker) influences the making of the best wines (Fuller and Richer) in the new world.
I’m not French, and like many others, I find the comments offensive. It’s very easy to explain it all away using ‘irony’ as an excuse. For me, irony involves some form of subtlety or intelligent humour. The words used in the article were ill-chosen and in poor taste. It’s very easy to resort to ‘surrender monkey’ for instance, whilst forgetting that thousands upon thousands of French people lost their lives in the world wars. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of the thousands of American lives lost in a recent terrorist atrocity; if an ironic ‘joke’ was made about this a mere 60 years from now, I’m sure the reaction wouldn’t be quite so warm. Keep up the excellent standards of your wine writing, but please, be more subtle next time, and no doubt you will provoke less of a response.
An interseting debate, and one which will no doubt go on for a while. A couple of points to contribute; there’s no doubting the quality of the wine writing, and indeed, that is what we should be discussing. However, some of the opinions I feel need a little toning down. Some people are clearly unsettled by the above-mentioned irony and perhaps they have ‘thrown the rattle out of the pram’ to use a common phrase. But after living in France for a considerable time, I think some of the opinions are valid. Some French friends of mine were not too pleased when I showed them the article (I’m afraid that the surrender monkeys line has been around in Europe longer than Mr Frank thinks it has), and you can forgive them for being a little upset. I can also understand how some people may have taken the comments in the light in which they were meant. John (also Ohio) has a fair point. I’ve fallen in to the trap of not talking about the wine now, suffice to say, I have and always will enjoy French wine, even after years of enjoying it, I still come across new grapes/blends and winemaking styles that still amaze me.
My God, what is the matter with some of you?
First, congratulations to Steve on a thoughtful, funny piece. I’m stunned that some of you failed to appreciate that this was an unabashed paean to the French. The surrender monkey line, for those of you removed enough from the realm of common discourse not to have recognized, was an insane rant from the far right in response to the France’s (rational and wise) refusal to join the “Coalition of the Willing” in our foolhardy conquest of Iraq.
That any of you could fail to see that comments like these were meant to be sarcastic (for those of you quibbling with the definition of “irony” and it’s application above), makes me concerned that you have a driver’s license.
WOW!!! I second the first John. I enjoyed the article and am constantly amazed at how literally people take things. Who does not know that the French lost over 1.5 million people in WWI and “Lafayette, We Are Here” was said for good reason? This was a paean to France. Many say Irony died with 9-11, I guess it is true for some. I like your article and the French!
Keep up the good work Steve!
From the get-go I enjoyed your article. A couple of days later and I decide to look at it again and see all these comments. Amazing what all the fuss is about. I, along with a few others, am in synch with your wit, humor, opinion and tastes. Seems to me like some others are wound just a little too tight.
I always enjoy your writing and would like to see more of it, and even more frequently.
You’ve got my support!
I’m very distressed about whatever has happened to Rene Junot red table wine. After drinking it for decades it has suddenly changed. It is now watery, flat, lifeless.Does anybody know what’s going on with this simple wine? Michael Sell
Just back from Italy. They still know how to enjoy wine at lunch, in the evening at dinner.