Even without Hitler getting away with Poland, with France, Germans still tramped around the world, trampling all over everybody: and thinking it was a virtue! Americans joined the arrogance parade but instantly led it! I recently commented on loud Cubans, impossible Japanese … and today see an article reporting that the French are themselves getting sick of the rudeness of waiters and cab drivers in Paris …
I want to comment further on all of these things, and comment specifically on the subway ads the later article illustrated, but there’s also a story I gotta highlight from my days in grad school.
Oh, first get the subway propaganda out of the way: the Paris subway displayed a poster of a guy bulling people aside as he exited the subway. The poster pictured him with a bull’s head and horns. No, no: sloppy manners correction:
A guy getting off a conveyance of limited capacity — a subway, an elevator — has every right to push people aside if they’re trying to get on before letting him off. The people he’s pushing are the one being rude and thoughtless. Same with a crowded store: let the people out, then go in. Of course with a store like Macy’s you could wait for eight hours letting people out, and never get in. In that case, civilization applies: it’s every man for himself.
In grad school, after the army, I had the world’s cutest girl friend: but also made friends with some pretty hot females from class. One gal had hips not to be believed, an ass like a race horse: terrific face too, blond: everything, zowie!
I’m an ordinary enough guy, not at all physically intimidating, people always assume they can step on me, and, usually, they can; but, for some reason, women have always liked me: I let guys push me aside, the girl will wait till he goes away, waiting for me! Exactly that happened to me with this class mate again and again. We’d exit to University Place, stand there, talking, face to face, and some guy would wedge himself between me and her to flirt with her, utterly ignoring me, discounting me.
One such time the guy’s spiel went, “Ooo, you look French,” said with a French accent thick enough to smear on bread. She smiled at me, embarrassed as the guy finally left. “You know what I wish you dynamite girls would say to a come on like that? Say, ‘If you insult me again, I’ll smack you!'”
The Nazi, the ugly American, the French chauvinist can’t conceive of his identity not being the world’s envy. Insult him for exactly that identity!
PS I gotta update that statement about seeming to be a pushover physically: these days I’m not sure that that description still applies. It certainly was true in the 1950s, 1960s. Now I’m 73, have a middle, am more than half deaf and blind … tore my shoulder and right biceps a few years ago, couldn’t fight my way out of a paper bag, but people seem to lay back, lay off, as though I were a tough guy. In jail people called me “Tough Guy”! One “mugger” in Manhattan, 1976, once hailed me, “Hey, General Patton!”
I think it’s my being a veteran walker of New York Streets: scares people in CA, in FL. Walk like you’re just itching for the gang to attack you, and just maybe the gang won’t attack you.