What? yes, it seems it is true. According to British ex-pat blogger, Michael Fraser, the French broadcast regulatory agency has ruled that French broadcasters can no longer say things like " for more on this story follow us on Facebook" or " to share your opinion send us a Tweet" The ostensible reason is not to give Facebook and Twitter unfair advantage over other social networks-- hmmmm not so fast. According to Fraser the real reason could be the traditional anti Anglo-Saxon bias. Here's a quote :
Facebook and Twitter are, of course, American social networks. In France, they are regarded, at least implicitly, as symbols of Anglo-Saxon global dominance — along with Apple, MTV, McDonald’s, Hollywood, Disneyland, and other cultural juggernauts. That there is a deeply-rooted animosity in the French psyche towards Anglo-Saxon cultural domination cannot be disputed; indeed, it has been documented and analysed for decades. Sometimes this cultural resentment finds expression in French regulations and laws, frequently described, and often denounced, by foreigners as protectionism.Am I the only one who remembers when the Académie française put the brakes on creeping English-isms that were sullying the French language such as " le week-end" by banning their usage? The current ban on Twitter and Facebook by France's Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel is singing a similar tune.
It all puts me in mind of Art Buchwald, the American ex-pat journalist whose famous column explaining American Thanksgiving to the French appeared annually in the International edition of the Herald-Tribune for years, and always gave native English speakers a laugh and always left the French a bit mystified and not really amused.
The column was a wonderful tongue in cheek translation of the American cultural tradition into French in which " Miles Standish" becomes " Kilometres Deboutish" and Thanksgiving is translated literally as " Le Jour de Merci- Donnant" and it reflects more than just the linguistic differences between the Gallic and Anglo-Saxon mind sets. For those of you who don't know the column, here's a snippet:
Le Jour de Merci Donnant was first started by a group of pilgrims (Pelerins) who fled from l'Angleterre before the McCarran Act to found a colony in the New World (le Nouveau Monde), where they could shoot Indians (les Peaux-Rouges) and eat turkey (dinde) to their hearts' content.
They landed at a place called Plymouth (now a famous voiture Americaine) in a wooden sailing ship named the Mayflower, or Fleur de Mai, in 1620. But while the Pelerins were killing the dindes, the Peaux-Rouges were killing the Pelerins, and there were several hard winters ahead for both of them. The only way the Peaux-Rouges helped the Pelerins was when they taught them how to grow corn (mais). They did this because they liked corn with their Pelerins.
In 1623, after another harsh year, the Pelerins' crops were so good they decided to have a celebration and because more mais was raised by the Pelerins than Pelerins were killed by the Peaux-Rouges.
Every year on le Jour de Merci Donnant, parents tell their children an amusing story about the first celebration.
It concerns a brave capitaine named Miles Standish (known in France as Kilometres Deboutish ) and a shy young lieutenant named Jean Alden. Both of them were in love with a flower of Plymouth called Priscilla Mullens (no translation).
Maybe if they referred to Facebook as " visage-livre" on French TV all would be well-- but how to translate Twitter? Whatever-- Vive Facebook, vive la France and vive la difference:-)