America on Their Minds

The subject of Franco-American relations is "vast," in the Gaullian usage of the word, and for most Americans vastly boring.

Issue: Spring 1991

The subject of Franco-American relations is "vast," in the Gaullian usage of the word, and for most Americans vastly boring.  When the interminable General said "vast," pointing his huge beak downward at his interlocutor and dropping his voice an octave to produce his famous gouaille, or mocking tone, he meant that the subject or problem in question was insoluble, or long since dismissed from his august consideration, which came to the same thing; and that in any event it was idiotic of you to bring the matter up.  On this issue (and it was by no means the only one) the allegedly anti-American French leader and the American people were profoundly attuned to each other.

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