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French resolution

Faced with an ally's possible veto in the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. must consider taking steps to erase the linguistic contributions of France.

March 14, 2003|Adam Tschorn | Special to The Times

Will the "freedom fry" fly? If the term championed by Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) moves beyond congressional cafeterias into the mainstream and things on the international scene get even more divided, what can we expect next? With Russian President Vladimir Putin threatening a U.N. Security Council veto, is Russian dressing in danger of being exiled to a culinary Siberia?

"Our culture is cobbled together from so many others," said Robert Thompson, a professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University. "If we go to war with the entire world, all we'll have left by its original name is corn chowder, wild turkey and venison."

According to Thompson, the French fry issue fits right into America's pop culture landscape. "Making fun of the French is one of the few places ethnic jokes are still acceptable," he said. "We've always made fun of the French, and now there seems to be a real excuse for French-bashing." So for now, your chicken Kiev is safe but your chicken cordon bleu is on the endangered species list.

Thompson said this type of humor is one of our culture's ways of dealing with stressful times. "There's a sense of great frustration with this slow countdown to war," he said. "One way to express frustration is for people to tell jokes about it."

Doing our part to relieve the nation's stress, we've taken the liberty of drafting a House resolution that could be subtitled the French Disconnection Act of 2003:

Article 1-1. The French kiss

This sloppy, open-mouth kiss, in which one party's tongue quickly and unexpectedly enters the other's mouth -- much as Germany entered France in World War II -- shall henceforth be known as the "liberty lip lock." Public displays of affection in this manner are to be considered acts of patriotic zeal.

Article 1-2. French dressing

The lifeblood of the U.S. corporate and school cafeteria system for years, this sweet red-orange salad dressing deserves a name of greater dignity. It is to be immediately renamed "superpower sauce" and its use reserved for real global superpowers only. Its recipe shall immediately become a matter of classified national security known only to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, who will no longer be allowed to travel together.

Article 1-3. French doors

Doors and windows in this architectural style (which open on neither the left nor the right but square in the middle) shall be known from this date forward by the name "patriot portals." Americans shall also be urged to gaze out their respective patriot portals and admire this great nation of ours.

Article 1-4. The French maid's outfit

A fine American Halloween tradition that pays homage to hard-working domestics everywhere consists of a little black skirt, high heels, fishnet stockings and a frilly white apron. It is often accessorized with a feather duster. It shall henceforth be known as a "freedom frock."

1-5. The French horn

The valved, brass wind instrument that Prokofiev masterfully cast as the wolf in his symphony "Peter and the Wolf" will, from this day forth, be known in the United States as the "victory trumpet." In addition, a deal reached with the Broadway members of the musicians union stipulates that all future live performances of the national anthem must be accompanied by a soloist on said instrument.

1-6. The French pastry

In honor of our guiding principles and the good people of Denmark (provisionally, unless or until they vote against us at the U.N.), the French pastry will now be dubbed the "defense of democracy Danish." Note: This article passed only after the threat of a Republican filibuster resulted in a small "d" for democracy.

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