La Douleur de la Mitaine

Nate Silver says Mittens may have gotten a teenie little bounce of maybe two or three percentage points — more of a bouncette — out of the GOP convention. He really needed better than that to change momentum in his favor.

And on to Charlotte.

Via Digby — GLoria Borger actually said this —

“In 1968, France was a dangerous place to be for a 21-year-old American, but Mitt Romney was right in the middle of it.”

I immediately envisioned a comic book cover showing Young Mitten (“La Mitaine Jeune”) running through the streets of Paris, dodging a barrage of stale croissants and irate taunts, armed with nothing but the Book of Mormon. I so wish I could draw. This would be perfect for Mad Magazine.

The quote comes from Tommy Christopher at Mediaite, and you should just read the whole thing. La Mitaine Jeune was in France avoiding military service the same year 16,592 Americans died in Vietnam. La Mitaine got four deferments, no doubt made possible by money and family connections.

Borger says the French were très désagréable to La Mitaine because of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. French attitudes toward the U.S. war were complicated, as I remember. Vietnam had been part of French Indochina, and there was a lingering attitude that if France had gotten some help from the U.S. they might not have lost at Dien Bien Phu. So, yeah, he may have gotten some attitude. Poor baby.

21 thoughts on “La Douleur de la Mitaine

    Ok, we know you came to bail out our sorry asses again – this time in Vietnam.

    And so we accepted Jerry Lewis and McDonalds, and acted like we liked them.

    But sending us the Mormon son of one of your Governor’s was more than we could take.
    How could you send someone who was dodging the draft to France, who doesn’t drink wine or coffee?
    Canada was right across the frickin’ lake! Couldn’t he have done his missionary position in Montreal?
    Let us take that last sentence back – we meant “missionary WORK!”, ok?
    The missionary position might be the only position Mitt wouldn’t be lying about.
    Let’s drop this line of reasoning…

    Moving on – to Mr. Romney’s credit – not ONE MIG fighter jet crossed our airspace, and there were no Viet Cong in the vineyards, so if you fools in America elect this tea-totalling decaffeinated idiot, we’ll act like we like him too. Just don’t let him make any movies.

  2. As a translator from French, I just loved the title of your post and in particular, the fact that you got the genders right. Both douleur and mitaine are feminine. Just one detail, though, and then I will be happy all day: although the adjective usually does come after the noun in French, in this case “young mitten” is “la jeune mitaine” rather than “la mitaine jeune”. (See: Les Douleurs du jeune Werther, the French version of Goethe’s Die Leiden des jungen Werthers, or, as we call it in English, The Sorrows of Young Werther.)

    Therein endeth the pedantic rant. Great post, as usual. Un grand merci.

  3. Through an improbable set of circumstances, the main one being the least competitive scholarship award in history, I also found myself in France in 1968. At my tender age, I was at best, just a proto-hippie. When we arrived at the dormitory for the Ecole des Mines, the real students unfurled banners against the war in Vietnam. We leaned out of a window and sang “I Feel Like I’m Fixing’ to Die” by Country Joe and the Fish, to a particularly alluring French student. She smiled at us. That was the beginning of my short lived and uneventful musical career, my love affair with France and my first feeble attempts at the French language, all of which seem to be reemerging in my later years.

    Contrary to what I had been told, the French people I tried to interact with were very friendly to us. They invited us to dinner at their homes and rewarded the few French words we knew. They were almost entirely working class, so that may have had something to do with it.

    I have just begun to try my hand at learning a little French. I always wind up starting in French, but Spanish keeps flooding in. So I end in a grand confusion.

    Well, sorry for the self indulgence, we codgers like to share memories.

  4. “In 1968, France was a dangerous place to be for a 21-year-old American”

    Had he been laid bay a nice French woman, he might not be such a soul-less pr*ck. Then again, more remediation, in his case, would surely be required….

  5. When I die, bury me face down, so the whole world can kiss my ass. I have served my time in France. 1968

    • Come to think of it, my grandfather was in France, too, exactly 50 years earlier, in 1918. On the Western Front. I’m sure he had it almost as rough as poor Mitt.

  6. Maha- That’s where the expression “he bought the farm”( to be killed) came from. The death benefit paid to the families of servicemen killed in action in WWI was approximately the same cost of an average family farm at the time.

  7. Although I remain francophonically challenged, if I could move our farm to Langue d’oc Rousillon and lose a few goats in the bargain, I’d be gone, driving an old 2CV and practicing for Samois, by next Saturday.

  8. Great title for this post, Maha. It is a perfect phrase for someone who
    tries to pass off his “tithe” as a tax equivalent. Wonder how many lawyers it takes to compute the amount?

  9. A word to the wise is sufficient… Don’t ever put your trust in a person who you know lies and deceives.

  10. BTW, Dien Bien Phu was in a valley, ringed with mountains. The position was indefensible. Actually, as the US proved in the 1970s, the whole concept of the US “winning in Viet Nam was folly. So while some of the French may have felt we let them down, actually we left them off the hook.

  11. What’s with google? I was going to comment about Vietnam and the My Lai massacre. I wasn’t sure on the proper spelling of My Lai, so I typed into google search the phonetic spelling ( my lie). Google returned 10,000,00 hits in .003 seconds of Paul Ryans convention speech. What gives?

  12. Some men cower behind their God,while other men stand before their God.

    “The United States was calling up young men to fight in the Vietnam War. Since Muhammad Ali was a famous boxer, he could have requested special treatment and just entertained the troops. However, Ali’s deep religious beliefs forbade killing, even in war, and so Ali refused to go.

    In June 1967, Muhammad Ali was tried and found guilty of draft evasion. Although he was fined $10,000 and sentenced to five years in jail, he remained out on bail while he appealed. However, in response to public outrage, Muhammad Ali was banned from boxing and stripped of his heavyweight title.”

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