I am sorry I have been absent from the blog for a week, but with guests in town and my attempt at some deep thought about French culture, I have been otherwise occupied. That, and I was drinking wine and could not focus very well.
Science with Steph: My Scientific Analysis of French Culture
I am not a scientist and therefore my skills for proper analysis are shabby, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. I like to think of this as science for the everyman/woman.
I should not admit that I attempted to create a chart in Excel to give you some legitimate visual evidence with my analysis of French culture, but when I could not make Excel be simple enough, I chose to hand draw it instead. Be prepared to be impressed. Either that, or be prepared to feel bad for me that I actually spent some time on this.
Here is my analysis in a nutshell, proving that I am neither a scientist nor very good at art (I even Instagramed it to make it look more like art):
To consider modern-day France, you must first conjure of memories of the US in the 1970s. Close your eyes and try to remember life before seatbelts and lawsuits…………………
Hypothesis: When it comes to personal health and welfare in France, the motto is “You’re on Your Own, Bub.”
Supporting Evidence #1:
Remember those merry-go-rounds on the playgrounds of our youth on which a kid broke his/her arm on an annual basis? The kind where, it you weren’t careful, you could actually get barfed on if your recess was after lunch? Yes, they are still the hot playground accessory on all of the very few French playgrounds. And the kids still gravitate to them like flies on shit.
Case in point:
And the merry-go-round is just the tip of the iceberg on a French playground. Metal slides perfect for sliding fast while ripping your skin off in the heat? Got ’em. Hammock-style swings with big wood bars on the ends perfect for noggin damage (as seen in the background behind the merry-go-round)? Yep. See saw perfect for breaking your tailbone or your leg? Oh yes and the list goes on………………
Supporting Evidence #2:
Walk on to any cultural landmark in France and there is no disclaimer in sight. Not one: “Enter at Your Own Risk,” or “The Owners of this Property Cannot Be Held Liable for Any Type of Accident,” sign in view. Rather, there are sheer cliffs without guard rails, almost tempting you to jump off or at least go close enough to the edge to look over it and subsequently fall off. I think that if you were to actually fall off, they would automatically check the box that says “American Tourist” on your death certificate because only a person who lives in the US, in a culture of fear/lawsuits, would be so fascinated by the lax safety rules of France to walk to the edge of a sheer cliff. I know this for a fact.
Supporting Evidence #3:
Pools? I have never seen a “No Running Around the Edge of the Pool” sign. Nor a “No Diving” sign. In fact, I’ve never even seen a sign of rules at a pool here. You must wear a speedo and swim cap, but other than that, you’re on your own.
Supporting Evidence #4:
Raw meat. Tim gets steak tartare on a regular basis at the cafeteria at work. It is truly a pile of raw hamburger on a plate with a raw egg cracked on top of it. Can you say “botulism lawsuit” or at least “severe abdominal distress?”
The hypothesis is correct. The French attitude toward health & welfare is, “You’re on your own, Bub.” This could also be called, the “We can’t save you from yourself,” style of living, popularized in the US in the 1970s.