One of the topics of conversation at dinner with Bill and Judy was the provenance of the phrase “cheese-eating surrender monkeys”. I made two claims about it that were wrong.

First, it came to prominence during the “diplomatic” row about Iraq not because it was used by a member of the US administration (as I misremembered), but because it was used in a humorous piece about the French by a writer at the National Review.

Second, it didn’t appear in this episode of The Simpsons, nor this episode (which I conflated with a third), but this episode.

The point I want to make now is that there is an excellent piece in the current London Review of Books which (unusually for the LRB) picks enormous holes in popular French anti-globalization, anti-American, anti-McDonalds attitudes by pointing out that France’s national cheese is in fact:

…industrialised, homogenised, delocalised and, finally, pasteurised—and all without the assistance of American multinational corporations. It’s almost wholly an indigenous French story: the Camembert producers made it into the national cheese—the most popular and best-selling of any cheese in France—and then into an internationally recognised and traded commodity.

For the full dirt you can read this book which the article reviews.

You can’t, unfortunately, read the LRB article. Despite being subsidised by the Arts Council of England out of your taxes (well, the taxes paid by the two PooterGeek readers who are English anyway), the LRB doesn’t make its content available to subjects of this isle unless they are rich enough to be able to afford a subscription. Ah, state-sponsored culture. Which brings me back to dinner with Bill and Judy 😉 …