Having recently published a book about Paris, France, Rosecrans Baldwin visited a number of towns named Paris around the US to see how Americans perceive the French here in 2012. Here’s part one of his report.
The survey has eight questions ranging from general opinions to particular trivia. For example, “Whose side was France on during the American Revolutionary War?”
Sixty-six percent of respondents get it right: our side. Twenty percent are wrong. Incorrect answers include “the British,” “England,” “the opposite side,” and, oddly, “the French.” Other responses: “History was not my class in school — I hate it,” and “I am averse.” My favorite comes from a gas station attendant in Lexington, Ky., who writes: “I refuse to answer the rest of this survey. I love the French language. I have had many French friends.”
One guy in a parking lot outside a Dallas strip club says, “This has got to be a trick question.” And there’s another person, at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, who will ask me, “You mean our American Revolutionary War?” Which appears to be a general concern — of the 55 people, at least 10 ask me to which American Revolution I am referring. Two people say, “But we didn’t have a revolution.”
The Morning News is serializing the other parts of this story all this month but you can get the whole thing right now on the Kindle.