What’s going on with all the French bashing at the moment about them being gloomy, miserable and less happy than the British? I know that it is not just non-French propagating these opinions but I have to wonder about the real intention behind it. In my humble simplistic opinion, all the recent articles pamper to the Anglo-American view of how society should be – fully of happy-clapping individuals seeking the peak of Maslow’s heirarchy of needs whilst ignoring the base levels and any emphasis on working together – competition at the expense of cooperation.
Maybe the French are just more realistic (and more intelligent?) than most and refuse to “kid themselves happy”. Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World” reflects this perfectly and Jimmy Reid’s Glasgow address from 1972 about alienation is still as relevant today as it ever was – “It is my sincere contention that anyone who can be totally adjusted to our society is in greater need of psychiatric analysis and treatment than anyone else.”