[from January 2004--this one was inspired by endless scholarly "What's the matter with France" articles reprinted in Arts & Letters Daily]
A new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology provides the strongest evidence yet that the corrupt, venal nature of the French is caused by the prevalence of cheese in the spineless cretins’ diet, researchers say.
The comprehensive analysis of French dietary patterns is described by head MIT researcher Professor Jim Twain as demonstrating a "compelling" link between the backward, decaying French culture and the high quantities of cheese consumed by the devious little slimeballs.
"Funnily enough, The Simpsons hit the nail on the head when they called them cheese-eating surrender monkeys" says Professor Twain. "Those surrender monkeys really do eat a lot of cheese".
The MIT team believe their study will set a new benchmark in the long-running academic debate on the causes of the envy, ingratitude and poor personal hygiene characteristic of the veto-happy Gallic race.
The researchers are confident they have "buried" rival theories, most notably propounded by Princeton-based Professor Ernest Rickman, that French duplicity and lack of moral fibre is linked to consumption of foie gras, a delicacy made from goose liver. Dr Janet Stevens, who headed the MIT investigation into historical dietary patterns, says Rickman’s theory is "dubious, to say the least".
She argues that foie gras could not possibly have a causal connection with the craven and arrogant French nature, since it is a regional delicacy traditionally available only in aristocratic circles. Its restricted consumption up until recent times would not explain how an entire society ended up with an overinflated sense of self-importance and a really gay-sounding language, she claims.
"It’s not like the slimy frogs have suddenly become cowardly and two-faced in the last forty years" says Dr Stevens. "Where, for example, was foie gras when French forces were routed by badly outnumbered Panzer divisions in 1940? Where was foie gras when Baudelaire and his communist buddies were writing their godawful so-called poetry and poisoning themselves with absinthe in the 1890s?".
"Yet we have historical records showing that rations for frontline infantry during the disastrous Franco-Prussian war included a daily chunk of ripe brie. As far back as medieval times we find manuscript mentions of the revolting French peasants having access to rudimentary cheeses."
"In fact, archeological excavations around the Lascaux area have uncovered evidence which suggests that neolithic Gallic tribes may have consumed a cheese-like paste made from goat’s milk".
While disagreeing about the exact culinary agent responsible for the intellectually bankrupt and stagnant French culture, most academics are at least in agreement that there is a dietary explanation for the freedom-hating Gallic nature. Few give credence to the radical theories propounded by University of California at Los Angeles professor J. Elton Gould, who has proposed a socio-cultural rationale for endemic French spitefulness and avarice.
Gould argues that the petty grandstanding and double-dealing of the Saddam-loving turds is a product of seething resentment at their failed dreams of imperial glory, while their bureaucratic complacency owes much to the ongoing dominance of Catholicism, and the lack of a Puritan work ethic to instill self-discipline.
In light of his groundbreaking new study, Professor Twain hardly considers the arguments coming out of UCLA worth rebutting. "Those Californians - always coming up with wacko theories" he laughs. "No, seriously. It’s the cheese".