April 16, 2003

Today's WaPost article about the effect of a consumer boycott of French wine has had in the last two months is a perfect example of how various forms of bigotry develop and are nourished within a society. Since there are perfectly acceptable substitutes for the products most affected, wine and cheese, that are sold by other countries, it's a painless statement (although some are starting to drink Australian wine, which gives me hope that Francophobia may be a temporary fad). Tourism, which isn't as fungible (unless you count Paris Paris in Las Vegas), has barely been affected: American tourism to France is down, but not as much as tourism to Great Britain, or for that matter, tourism to every other part of the world. There is no evidence yet that Bic lighters, Dannon Yogurt, or Universal Studios has been forced into bankruptcy. Even though Russia's opposition to Gulf War II was more pivotal to Bush's decision to bypass international law, no one has called for a boycott of Russian vodka (incl. VodkaPundit, from whence the above link came), since the available substitutes aren't as good. Same deal with German beer. Francophobia is now the hatred-of-choice in Deliverance Country, USA.

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