Most of all, though, France has allowed Americans who are that way inclined to say something intelligible about who they are, or at any rate who they wish to be. So for every American simmering with gee-whiz nativist contempt for all the things France might be seen to symbolise — which is to say, intellectualism, sensuality, frivolity and decadence, as opposed to the classic American virtues of practicality, decency, earnestness and healthy New World vigour — there's another American who wonders, with varying degrees of guilt, whether an old Chateau Latour and a volume of Collette's more feline stories might somehow have the edge on Garrison Keillor and a super-size helping of Liberty fries. Whisper it quietly, but — well, isn't there something about those cheese-eating surrender monkeys that's actually, when you come to think about it, pretty darned séduisant?
The French just made Jerry Lewis a Legion Commander. The crowd was raucous. I will now look the other way while you slink off in embarrassed silence.