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It's only rock 'n roll, n'est pas?
by Mad Dog

 

A French friend of mine once translated the song's moanings for me, including one that says, "Come. Come between by kidneys." It's no wonder the English version of the song was never popular.

     The French have done it again. No, they haven't posthumously re-elected Charles de Gaulle as President, though judging by the current state of affairs over there it wouldn't be surprising. Or a bad idea. Rather, in their quest to maintain that much admired Gaulish purity and thigh-quivering sexy accent, the government has moved to eliminate non-French music from the airwaves. Okay, they haven't banned it completely, but they did declare that from now on 40 percent of the music played on the radio must be in French.

     This won't be easy. It's a bit like the NBA declaring that 40 percent of the starting basketball players have to be Oriental. Face it, the French haven't turned out a major recording artist since 1963 when the Singing Nun (not to be confused with the Flying Nun) recorded "Dominique" a swingy little tune that took the world by storm because everyone could sing along in French and feel worldly, wise and incredibly urbane in a way they hadn't since "Frere Jacques" supplanted "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" as their group sing-along of choice.

     Okay, there was another. There was a song in 1969 called "Je T'aime" which, like all good French songs, was a sing-along, and a popular one at that, since the lyrics largely consisted of orgasmic moaning, a mode of expression which was just coming into its own in the United States thanks to the burgeoning sexual revolution. (In an interesting etymological sidelight, a French friend of mine once translated the song's moanings for me, including one that says, "Come. Come between by kidneys." It's no wonder the English version of the song was never popular. Who wants to be sitting in the Sheep Large With Man's Child pub drinking a pint of stout and eating a steak and kidney pie and be subjected to lyrics like that?)



The recently striking transport workers were joined by postal and utility employees and, just so they wouldn't have to recite "La plume de ma tante" one more time, university students walked out too.
     "Of course the French are rejecting our music," you're probably saying right now, startling the homeless guy next to you who's using his copy of this newspaper for a blanket. "Don't they continually try to purge everything English from their language?" Yes they do. As anyone who's seen "Pulp Fiction" knows--not to mention those who haven't seen it but have been subjected to the repetition of this scene ad nauseam whenever their friends have had more than three beers--in France a Quarter Pounder with Cheese is known as a "Royale With Cheese", a Big Mac is called "Le Big Mac" and since John Travolta didn't go into a Burger King no one in this country has any idea what they call a Whopper.

     Do we go and ban French from our language? Of course not. This is America, the fondue pot of the world. That's why Miss Piggy is free to say moi whenever she chooses, yuppies say "I'm tres busy" without fear of reprisal and we all say croissant, safe in the knowledge that not only do we feel stupid trying to say the word, but that it's constitutionally guaranteed that not one of us is pronouncing it correctly.

     Maybe we should retaliate by boycotting anything French. Don't order french fries for a week. Put ranch dressing on your salad instead of bleu cheese or french dressing. And this summer Just Say No to french cut bathing suits. Okay, maybe that's going a little too far.

     The French would appreciate our boycott, since they've been known to go out on strike at the drop of a beret. The recently striking transport workers were joined by postal and utility employees and, just so they wouldn't have to recite "La plume de ma tante" one more time, university students walked out too. This points out another important difference between France and the United States: their government gets shuts down by the workers, ours is shut down by the politicians.



The French parliament is struggling with the question of whether "Michelle" by the Beatles should be allowed to be played, since although part of it's in French, it was sung by Englishmen .
     So now the French have been hit with a double whammy. Not only is no one working, but they now have to listen to Charles Boyer singing "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" 24-hours a day. While this doesn't seem quite Cordon Kosher Bleu because the lyrics are in English, the fact is it's sung by a Frenchman, which is easier for them to digest than another Coq au Vin avec Coquilles St. Frere Jacques. But it gets messier. Right this minute the French parliament is struggling with the question of whether "Michelle" by the Beatles should be allowed to be played, since although part of it's in French, it was sung by Englishmen with funny haircuts who recently reunited in spite of the fact that one of them has been dead for years.

     There's a simple solution to this problem, other than to take away their baguettes (French for "too big to fit in a bag") until they learn to behave, listen to other people's music, do their homework and clean their rooms. The French love Jerry Lewis, right? And Jim Carrey think's he's Jerry Lewis, right? So what do you say we give them Jim Carrey as long as they agree to play Mariah Carey?

     Henry Kissenger would be proud of me. N'est pas?

   

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