Tuesday, July 12, 2005

French arrogance

Anyone knows the reason for that? If anyone knows me well enough, then they'll know that the one thing that I hate the most in people is arrogance. From the little I know about the French people I find them more than fine. Cultured, sophisticated, and so on. There is a general stereotype about them however that they are arrogant, which I never particularly found that obvious, but I don't know that many French to be able to judge.

Well, I saw it a few times with that Marketing guy at one of my previous companies maybe. Overall, my relationship with him was fine, but there were those moments that he'd piss me off with his atittude and I'd have to give it to him with my sharp responses. The guy finally convinced the CEO that the Egypt site was no good, and spun-off the business and took control of it.

I did know a French girl a long time ago who was extremely nice and sweet, and one of my friends really adored her for her light atittude. She insisted that we pronounce Charles de Gaulle properly though. She and my friend once were acting like complete drunks in the Opera house once, so maybe she's not that French afterall.

Now, this guy from the French embassy in Cairo sends me an email asking me questions about myself and my blog to help him in this study he's doing for the embassy. Lots of questions, personal stuff, facts about me, political stuff, religious stuff, everything. So I'm not really comfortable doing all the work for him, but I provide some answers, refuse to answer the factual questions about me, and ask him to send me the study when he's done to know what he's written about me.

The guy responds back with this email:

Thank you for your answers. Unfortunately, I don't think I will be able to give you a copy of my paper, for French diplomacy is not accustomed to circulate its confidential documents. I have personnal information about some bloggers they would not like to be known.

About the questions you did not want to answer to, this is a little bit problematic, since the sociological profile of bloggers is one of the most important part of my study. Knowing the bloggers is as much important as knowing their blogs. Perhaps you could just tell me if you are born into a middle-class or upper middle-class family, if you studied, and the domain of your job?

I don't like his response. So I reply back:
If my answers are not sufficient, then you should take me out of your study.

Actually, I'd like you to take me out of your study. If French diplomacy doesn't want to tell me what the study says about me, then my diplomacy doesn't want me to be included in that study.

I think you should do your homework and go read the blogs instead of looking for direct answers from bloggers. Read the blogs and deduce what you can about the social profile or whatever else you're looking for.

I'm starting to worry about my next job now since it involves alot of interaction with the French. Any advise on how to deal with these guys?


Milad said...

OK OK, I understand quite well what you are talking about. I live in France since about 3 years and I know how arrogant some French seem in the first glance. I discovered that a big part of this arrogance is fake. Some French use it only to keep a certain space; I mean to preserve their privacy. With those ones you just need to be patient and wait till you can find enough mutual trust, then they will seem much less arrogant. Others seem arrogant to hide some ignorance; so you have just to respect their attitude because if you try to show them their ignorance, they will reply by being more arrogant. If with time you can become friends, you will discover that most of them are not that complex. Then some are just arrogant for no reason that I could understand. Those are few and I didn’t yet find any idea about how to deal with them.

silent.scream said...

I understand what you mean. In fact, I'm presently hosting a french boy at my house for three weeks as part of an immersion programme. He has been accomodating and not the least bit arrogant, except for the fact that he is able to pick out all the errors in my cloze passage with utmost ease! =)

The Sandmonkey said...

I've met him, Big Pharaoh has met him, Josh from the Arabist has met him.
You have almost nothing to worry about, well, besides maybe a slight developing case of french-hate.

It's all good though, they don't really care if you like them or not, part of them being "French" and all. U know?

Me,Myself and I said...

Well, SM..it is not a matter of worrying the attitude in and by itself is rotten..and Mo, it is not a matter of french arrogance here, even though i think z french are sterotyped for this even though my encounters with french people was lovely..it is diplomatic "arrogance"...if i could use the word or the culture that governs diplomatic missions here and culture of classification of their documents...surprisingly enough the guy told you that he is doing a confidential document that involves u and he is not able to share...i will give him credit at least for being straightforward and not coming up with a different story or promising you something and then not delivering..seems that some are following up z culture of blogging in Egypt trying to assess if it could be considered a credible "opposition" to be supported or what..how does it play out in the scheme of the many "movements" that we are witnessing..so rest assured, french are wierd for eating frog legs but in this instance, it does not highlight their arrogance.

Mohamed said...

SandMonkey, well I'm not meeting with him and I'm glad he agreed to take me out of his study.

I really don't give a shit what he's doing. He's just a 19 year old college student who think he's doing me a favor by sending me those questions and wants me to summarize my blog for him. What is that? an exam chit sheet!

Twosret said...


praktike said...

Sacre Bleu!

Karim Elsahy said...

I actually had an hour long conversation with this guy. I told him about my plan (I emailed it to a bunch of bloggers a while ago I’m not sure if you got a copy) and had agreed to supply him with a copy. Then he tells me that I can’t get a copy, it’s not for publication just a report for the French Government. Here, I’ve attached our last correspondence.

Good talking to you Jean,

I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a bit for the plan I mentioned. You see I was initially under the impression that this was for a publication. I’m not sure I see the benefit of informing your government before I even release it to my people. Please accept my apologies as I only reconsidered after our conversation. I will email you once it is published if you are still interested. Have a good day and enjoy Egypt my friend.

Karim Elsahy


Do as you want, it is no problem. But I'm still interested in this plan, so don't forget to send it to me when it is released!



Karim Elsahy

Twosret said...


I would get full information about Jean-Baptiste, and see an official request in writing from the Gov. of France through their embassy before I would give him my first name lol!

Seriously, I have done a lot of research and worked with many leading research companies in the world and never heard about a research conducted in such manner.

Mon Dieu!

Boadicea said...

Hello, I found your blog interesting for two reasons. I used to live and work in Cairo. I also met my French husband there. We now live in France.
I can assure you that the French are without a doubt the most arrogant nation in Europe. This belief stems from the outrageous behaviour of their govt officials whether they lean right or left. The French have joined Europe to cream off many (financial) benefits but as soon as they have to consider recognising foreign nationals and their profesional qualifications - no way. If it's not French then it's inferior.
This is nothing other than national prefernce which equals protectionism which does not equal fraternité which puts them in the same camp as the odious FN.
It is time thy ate some humble pie.

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