June 28, 2011 by Dan Patton
I’m shocked, shocked to find that snubbing is going on in France!
In a ruling on May 27th, the Republic of Jerry Lewis Worshiping Slug Eaters issued a ban prohibiting French radio and television from mentioning “Facebook” or “Twitter” in news reports that do not specifically cover issues related to Facebook or Twitter. In other words, newscasters can only refer to generic “social networks” when urging listeners and viewers to follow a story. As a result, the words “Facebook” and “Twitter” appeared more often in the French media than ever humanly thought possible.
Atheistic defenders of European-style Socialism embraced the order as a nod to their vague delusions about fairness, while God-fearing lovers of American-style Capitalism took it as a slap in the face to their unregulated dreams of profit.
The decision is based upon a French Decree - No. 92-280, from 27 March 1992 - which adopted certain portions of a previous law - Articles 27 and 33 of Law No 86-1067, from 30 September 1986 - that plainly states, “advertising must not use subliminal techniques.” Spokeswoman Christine Kelly breaks the highfallutin’ legislative gibberish down to something a normal person can understand by asking, “Why give preference to Facebook?” And then answering, “This would be a distortion of competition... other networks will complain.”
Although her logic seems to follow a path of communal benevolence, many interpret it as a self-indulgent Q&A designed to mask typical French opposition to Anglo-Saxon cultural influence. When scrutinized through this warped metaphorical nationalistic magnifying glass, those charges appear justified.
First of all, Mademoiselle Kelly represents the Counseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel, a name that most Americans find impossible to pronounce. Secondly, her notion of “competition” rejects the winner-take-all cage match mentality that fueled the rise of the world’s largest economy. Thirdly, her comments sidestep the Amercian tradition of sensationalism. Most likely the result of French libel laws, which are much stricter than their American counterparts, this reflects another important difference between the two nations.
In France, newscasters are required to stick to the substance of a story. But in America, pundits are allowed to wrap all kinds of idiotic one-sided blathering in the cloak of freedom. For example, there is nothing to prevent me from insinuating that Mademoiselle Kelly wore leapord print lingerie and smoked a Gitanes when she made her outrageous statement. Ooh, la, la.
But most importantly, La Résistance Française might be a delayed retaliation against “Freedom Fries,” the name given to a menu item sold in the Congressional Cafeteria that The Chairman of the Committee on House Administration created during the controversy surrounding the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. At the time, Americans found this pop cultural sublimination of impulsive patriotic animosity to be a coup d’grace against sensible French diplomacy, served up on the greasy formica of our highly-saturated, quick-serve national resolve.
But French embassy spokeswoman Nathalie Loisau responded to the maneuver by remarking, “We are at a very serious moment dealing with very serious issues and we are not focusing on the name you give to potatoes.” In hindsight, it was merely the first shot in another war that we should stay out of.