July 14 is Bastille Day (search) in France, or as they call it there — national day.
This is the day a couple centuries ago that the French stormed the famous prison known as the Bastille... the hated monarchy then fell, some heads were removed for the betterment of society and the French were free. That's the very short version.
Now even though the French sent Lafayette to help George Washington in the revolution against the British, and even though they sent us that nice Statue of Liberty for New York harbor, relations have been dicey ever since.
The basis of it is the Americans' apparent disloyalty by cozying up to the hated British, the Anglo-Saxons, "les Rosbifs." The French have never really gotten over that.
There's also a bunch of other stuff they don't like about us, from our form of capitalism (we tend to think the government shouldn't be as involved as it is in France) to our military, which they have been shocked to find out is used for more than parades on days like Bastille Day.
But they keep telling us they are our best friends. We don't believe it as much as we used to, after they demonstrated how capable friends could be at backstabbing.
The latest thing, by the way, is Jacques Chirac (search) telling the International AIDS Conference (search) in Thailand that the U.S. is blackmailing developing countries... holding out cheap AIDS drugs until those countries cave on trade deals.
It's all so absurd, but it is Bastille Day so it would be impolite to not say something nice.
So here it is: Hello, France. Have a nice day.
That's My Word.
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