Molly Ivins, fast approaching the “whatever happened to Molly Ivins?” stage of her career chastizes me in her latest column . In a sense this is progress since last time she wrote about me she pretended she hadn’t heard of me. She called me “some juvenile jerk attacking Canadians as a bunch of wimpy wimps.” I doubt she hadn’t heard of me, but her schtick is to sound more important than she is, so fair’s fair. Anyway, she mentions me by name today, and is less snarky about it, so I guess that’s even more progress. As for the gist of her article, she likes France and she thinks they are very brave. She cites the 100,000 French soldiers who died defending France and she is surely right to call them brave. But what about the 37 divisions which surrendered en masse? She mentions the Foreign Legion at Dien Bien Phu — and the Foreign Legion is most assuredly very, very brave. Alas, the Foreign Legion, historically speaking, was also mostly made up of foreigners. King Louis Philippe founded the Legion as a way to deal with poor immigrants and keep casualties among actual French soldiers to a minimum. I like the Foreign Legion and have long believed the US should have a version of it if we are going to use the military for humanitarian missions. But, citing Dien Bien Phu as a huge French sacrifice when many of the grunts were actually Germans and Brits isn’t exactly a great point.
Anyway, I’m hardly shocked that Molly’s sticking up for the French. That seems to be the enlightened liberal position these days. What’s so funny about it is that the French remain colonialists in many respects and they have policies on such things as race that folks like Ms Ivins consider outrageously right-wing when proposed here. I wonder if she reveres the French policy of zero affirmative action and a complete ban on collecting racial data — policies championed by Ward Connerly & Co. But that’s a subject for another time. I’m just so delighted to have been mentioned by name by Ms. Ivins before she slips completely into the “whatever happened to…” category.