Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys

A few years ago, when the French refused to participate in one of our fun foreign wars,

the comedian, Dennis Miller took to calling them :

“Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys”.

I really hate that phrase because it belittles an entire culture.

Clearly, he is missing the point of the French Way of Life.

In America, we just want to get through life.

In France (and most of Europe, as well)

the goal is to savor life.

Let’s do a simple comparison and see how the French

live in comparison to Americans.

In America we love efficiency

The French love beauty.


We communicate with e-mail

the French chat over espresso at a cafe


We gobble our food at fast food places.

The French savor a meal over several hours


We like bargains

the French love quality


We worship celebrity

the French worship art


We believe more is more

The French believe less is more


We buy fake flowers

The French visit markets every day for fresh flowers


We like new and shiny

the French prefer old with patina


We like our desserts BIG.

The French love theirs, small, beautiful and delicious


On Sundays, we go to malls….

 The French stand in line to get into the Louvre


We work 40-60-80 hours per week

They rest each afternoon


We get a couple of weeks vacation

They vacation for the entire month of August


At lunch we run errands

they read a book  or picnic by the Seine


In Summer, we drive hours to get to the beach.

They bring the beach to Paris


Paris Plages..

they bring sand to make a beach every summer on the Seine

These are just a few of our differences.

I know it’s fashionable to dismiss the French and many other cultures,

because they are not us!

But honestly, there are so many wonderful things about the way other people live.

I can only assume people who dismiss them are either jealous or grossly misinformed.

There is a lot about life in our country that is good.

Our freedom alone makes everything worthwhile.

But life here is frenzied.

We didn’t get this far in 240 years by being lazy slackers.

We are movers and shakers.

We zip through our lives at “mach 2 with our hair on fire”.

But, in doing so, we have sacrificed many things that disappear at high speed…

Including the view all around us

It wouldn’t hurt to slow down a bit, enjoy our lives and all the beauty .

It wouldn’t hurt to take a page from someone else’s book and learn how to “savor” life.

We could learn a lot from other cultures.

Maybe then we could have the best of every thing life has to offer.

It’s just a thought.

Take a little time to consider it.

One thought on “Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys

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