Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Anti-American?

Yesterday I did the same lesson with two groups of students. It is about the "Slow Food" movement, which was created in the '80s to oppose fast food. The phrase "to counter the American invasion" appears in one of the documents.

In the first class, a middle-aged man read aloud about the philosophy of slow food, breaking off to add editorial comments. For example, after he read, "the traditional image of the family eating together around a table is disappearing," he looked up at me and said, "I am agree." He did this a few times, and was quite interested in trying to provoke me. "Yes, what is the traditional American foods? It's just hamburgers, eh?" However, he loves debating in class, and enjoyed answering me. At the end of class he thanked me for the interesting material.

The other lesson is an individual course with a young man in his 20s. He loves to talk, and unlike many of my students, loves to ask me questions. As he read the offending phrase about Americans, his voice trailed off and he glanced up at me, as though afraid he had offended me. I couldn't help but laugh, and he assured me that he didn't feel that there was any American invasion going on--"I like action films, but there are no French action films, so I have to see American ones--but that is not America's fault." Wonderful!

Of all of my students, none of them has exhibited the "anti-American" sentiments supposedly exhibited by the French. They all love to tease me about McDonald's, though . . .

5 comments:

Jube said...

Don't worry. The French may say they hate fast food, but Mcdonalds restaurants are always packed in France.

Karina said...

its funny timing, i havn't gotten that flack in a long time but i met a new group of kids at the lycee technique where i teach and they totally thought they knew it all and could solve our country's problems... lol cracked me up that they so didn't get it, can't just fix things like that. and plus france seeming to be moving in that direction... oh well.
got another kid asking me "are you proud of your country's bloody past?" as if france has a wonderfully clean past! plus what are you supposed to answer to that? funny.
i like constructive debate but when the kids don't listen to what you have to say then its no fun :)

Jay said...

The next time they will tease you about Coca Cola...
;)

Gem said...

When I worked in a lycee as an assistant last year, one teacher had me explain American eating habits. They were most shocked by the fact that in high school the drink served with lunch is milk, and that Americans don't eat cheese after their meals. One girl told me that we don't eat cheese to affront the French--she seriously believed it, and probably still does, because I couldn't convince her that it just wasn't an American habit!!

Blogger said...

Anybody here wants a FREE MC DONALD'S GIFT CARD?