THE GUARDIAN (UK), REUTERS
PARIS – The CEO of a U.S. tire company sent an open letter this week to France's Industry Minister that was little more than your basic anti-French rant.
Maurice “Morry” Taylor Jr, the head of the Titan International tire company and 1996 U.S. Republican presidential candidate, wrote his scathing letter after French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg suggested he might like to take over an embattled Goodyear tire factory in the north of France, reports the Guardian.
Taylor wrote: "The French workers are paid high wages but only work three hours. They have one hour for their lunch, they talk for three hours and they work for three hours. I said this directly to their union leaders; they replied that's the way it is in France.”
He laid out his alternative: "Titan is going to buy Chinese or Indian tires, pay less than one euro an hour to workers and export all the tires that France needs," Taylor said. "You can keep your so-called workers. Titan is not interested in the factory.”
French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg wrote back, saying “Can I remind you that Titan, the business you run, is 20 times smaller than Michelin, the French tire technology leader with international influence, and 35 times less profitable,” reports Reuters. Montebourg’s letter said Taylor’s comments were “as extremist as they were insulting.”
But French bashing isn’t a new sport -- in fact, it's been around for about as long as American-bashing has existed in France.
Here are some examples of tumultuous French-American relations:
DE GAULLE VS LYNDON JOHNSON – on nuclear proliferation:
Photo German Federal Archives
De Gaulle: “I like Johnson. He doesn’t even take the trouble to pretend he’s thinking.”
From Schwartz' Lyndon Johnson and Europe.
CHIRAC VS BUSH JR – on Turkey being part of the EU:
Photo White House
Chirac: “It is not his purpose and his goal to give any advice to the EU, and in this area it was a bit as if I were to tell Americans how they should handle their relationship with Mexico."
CUBBIE'S VS FRENCH FRIES – after France's opposition to the invasion of Iraq:
MARK TWAIN ON PARISIANS:
Mark Twain: “In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language."
THE SIMPSONS – and then National Review's Jonah Goldberg – VS EVERY FRENCH PERSON:
Fortunately, there are still Americans who believe France can be a valuable source of inspiration. Here's Bill Maher: