Jewish World Review March 11, 2002/ 7 Adar II, 5763

Wesley Pruden

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Chirac's girlie game, revealed at last | George S. Patton, one of the last of our warrior generals in the tradition of Stonewall Jackson, Pat Cleburne and Phil Sheridan, understood the differences between friend and foe. "I would rather have a German division in front of me," he once exclaimed, "than a French one behind me."

Mark Twain, the original innocent abroad, tried to put his finger on what went wrong with the spawn of Napoleon: "France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks, it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes."

Hannibal Lecter, who famously silenced the lambs, had an entirely different perspective: "I just love the French. They taste just like chicken."

Well, we've all had a lot of fun with French jokes, and anyone who has surfed the Web over the past few weeks has discovered the Internet awash in frogs' legs and other less-appetizing French body parts. M. Chirac's men find it easier to suck up to the enemy and shoot their friends, and a lot less dangerous, and yesterday it looked as if M. Chirac is well on his way to destroying the United Nations as we know it (which may or may not be a bad thing).

But all joking aside, the French themselves may have discovered what it is that makes Frenchmen run at the first sound of an enemy's guns. All the men have become women, but without any of the female glories and graces (and none of the instinctive female courage).

"Men of all generations are suffering," the French magazine Elle reports, extracting the juice from a study by a Paris think tank called the Centre de Communication Avancee. "Men feel diminished, devalued in a society where things feminine are perceived as positive and all-powerful values.

"They think women have gone too far, too quickly, without setting any limit to their demands or ever questioning themselves."

Modern French men, the magazine asserts, see their women as "castrating, vengeful, power-hungry and obsessed by men's sexual performance."

Castrating or not, French women, being women as well as French, naturally feel cheated. They're still getting paid on average 30 percent less than men and they still have to perform most of whatever cleaning is done in a French household, and it's a Frenchwoman's bad luck that if a French man ever feels in a fighting mood, he only feels safe in trying (and occasionally succeeding) to beat up a woman.

The study is based on focus groups, which as any terrified CEO could tell you, are infallible, or at least effective cover in explaining to stockholders why and how management bollixed up the factory. So we can take all this without even a grain de sel. The researchers interviewed four 12-man panels of urban professionals and their findings, presented by Elle to mark International Women's Day, are said to echo the whining and complaining - not to say nagging - of French men over the past decade or so.

French men, the researchers say, are driven to distraction by women, but not in the way of a red-blooded male being driven to distraction by, say, the image of Catherine Zeta-Jones. They're encouraged to adopt feminine traits - sensitivity, compassion, compromise, tenderness - while retaining some of the virile traits of men.

"Masculinity is in crisis," the magazine reports in a dispatch from the front of a war that seems to no longer hang in the balance. "Man no longer exists. Being a male today is a nightmare. The male identity feels battered by the paradoxical demands of women ... and a society that is going their way, from law, morality to advertising and techniques of reproduction ... . One gets the impression that a new war of the sexes is emerging, with the former dominated becoming the dominatrixes." Men, in a word, are becoming the sexual toys of women.

This may sound like the stuff of every teenage boy's fevered fantasies, but girlie boys aren't likely to make very good soldiers, and is behind M. Chirac's bizarre reasoning that the way to resist Saddam Hussein is to embrace him with a permanent bureaucracy of weapons inspectors. (Hans Blix would become the madam of the whorehouse.)

By making America the villain of the piece, M. Chirac hopes to gather the resentful of the world around him to create a bipolar globe. Whenever he needs soldiers, he can use rented thugs from Africa, which explains his sloppy-kiss courtship of the likes of Robert Mugabe. When the United Nations slips into history, he can enlist Kofi Annan as his sergeant major.

George W. Bush and Tony Blair appear to be on to all the nuances of French conniving. Hence the new resolution, which they know will fail, but will expose the ultimate goal of the axis of weasels, which is not to force Saddam to disarm, but to enable him to reveal the United States as an atrophied giant, George W. as Gulliver tied down by the pygmies. Nice work if he could get it, but George W., it is coming clear, has been on to M. Chirac's little girlie game from the beginning.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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