Wednesday, January 05, 2005

But what are the French doing?

So for Christmas my sister gave me a CD of a group named "Paris Combo," specifically their album "Attraction." I really like this CD, the music is fun, memorable, jazzy, and interesting. Unfortunately, all the songs are sung in French. I used to speak French, but years of not using it, and learning Esperanto, have resulted in my almost complete inability to understand this CD. At one point I thought the singer was talking about "A story of Africa," but she was actually talking about "Prehistoric."

The first song on the CD I believe I understand well enough, and it is the one that causes me a bit of ire. It is titled "Mais, que fait la NASA?" (But, what is NASA doing?) It describes (in a light-hearted, silly way) a black hole on an errant course consuming our beautiful universe. It then asks "but, what is NASA doing?"

Now, I realize that Paris Combo is just being a little fun and silly, and is not trying to make political statements, but for some reason this particular song really got up my dander. Why should these French people in Paris be expecting NASA to solve their problems? Shouldn't they be asking "What is ESA (the European Space Agency) doing?" Or better yet, "What is Arianne (the French space company) doing?" From this side of the Atlantic, this seems like just another example of where Europeans who would otherwise complain about U.S. unilateralism naturally would turn to the U.S. to solve their problems, and think nothing of it.

When Kofi Anan criticized "wealthy countries" for not doing enough to help the tsunami victims, who didn't realize he was criticizing the U.S. primarily. "Please America, do more, do more!" When America does more, we get criticized for being in everyone's business.

I hope the international community will see why Americans are puzzled and offended by their actions.

(By the way, I really like the CD.)


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