France-Enamored Americans: Love or Lust?

I have finally arrived in France after a long time traveling across Asia and Eastern/Central Europe. The last bits of my trip brought me through Venice and some other extremely touristy cities in Europe. As I sat back in some cafes, I observed the behavior of many tourists. The ones who stand out the most are always the photogenic Asians, the loud Brits, and ignorant Americans.

This isn’t my first time in France, but I am again dumbfounded by the cults of young women who flood the south of France, Paris, and fashion capitols across Europe, dying to “experience the culture” and indulge…but in what? In clothes, food, and boys. I’m not saying that my student group in IES is full of people like this; in fact, I’ve been quite impressed by the mix of people genuinely exploring the area for diligent work and culture experience. No, I’m referring to past experiences and current observations outside of my group.

Did you know there are H&M stores all across Europe? That many European youth in fact strive to be American-dressed, American-fed, and American-serenaded? Yes, while young women and other adults across America are dying to “experience France”, the youth over here are having quite the opposite desire. But what is the draw to France? Why do so many young women I know at home take French lessons, study journalism and fashion, read silly magazines, and eat at fancy restaurants so they can show off how to pronounce the names of foreign foods? It’s NOT a LOVE of FRANCE. They don’t care about the culture, about the politics, about the dirty facts about poverty and immigration and daily life in the not-so-fancy corners of the country. Not at all.

These are today’s youth who LUST over the IDEA of France, the images you see in those glossy magazines, the zombie-like models totting clothes that look absolutely ridiculous but that we are TOLD looks “fashionable” (ha!), the wine and the cheese… They want to lay in the sun and bask in what THEY view to be life in France. They turn their noses up at the most pungent of the cheeses and instead settle for things within their comfort zones. They avoid foie gras or pieds de cochons, or anything mildly ambitious that goes outside of their comfort zone.

These people, my friends, are the future generations and the people who spoil the image of American tourists for the rest of us. This ignorance plagues me and the vanity makes me nauseous as I sit at a cafe and juxtapose life here to my days passed at Luna Cafe at school. I dress to fit in, to respect, to not stand out. I don’t dress to make a scene, to become the new “It Girl”, or whatever it is these silly girls lust over these days. I have had quite enough of friends who come here for the boys, for shopping, for not speaking the language, and for picking through McDonald’s and other American treats. For shouting and being obnoxious and getting attention. For staring at themselves in the mirrors and taking photos of themselves to plaster online so everyone can tell them how adorable and “French” they are.

Please, indulge in the Love of France and not the Lust.

What Really Matters to Americans Anyway?

Today, the top headline in Google News is in regards to what appears to be a genocidal act against an innocent group of people amongst those stereotypically associated with terrorism in America.  As described by AP, “An ex-Army man who was reduced in rank before his discharge, Wade Michael Page, carried out the shootings at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin that claimed six lives, a federal official said Monday.”  Judging by the name Wade, I would venture to guess that this man had no association to the Sikh Temple apart from some grudge he held against the culture as an ex-Army man.

What is wrong with people these days?  And how must it feel to be part of a targeted group where, realistically, you should be concerned about your safety at any given moment?  At least while these lunatics are still running around.  It particularly frustrates me because I am a strong advocate of the 2nd Amendment, but these whack jobs keep sacrificing our constitutional rights to bear arms.

Of course, while these people are suffering and I am busy judging the kinds of people who commit such horrible hate crimes, I can’t help but notice what’s captivating American’s today in the news.  It’s not the shooting, that’s for sure.  It’s not Syria, it’s not even National debt, it’s just a lump of irrelevant topics.  Maybe most people get the “important” information from the TV or newspaper?  I really highly doubt it.  But, either way, here is what Americans, according to Yahoo! trending topics, care about today amongst all the global tragedies:

Celebrities.  The Olympics.  Gossip.  Oh, when we detonated a city years ago.  And diet pills.  Yes, looking skinny per means that reflect America’s shear laziness whilst the world self-destructs.  Perfect strategy, US of A.

Maybe I’m a little too bitter, but I’m simply not impressed.