Cultural Preservation, American Style
PARIS—The French government is considering a new tax on smartphones and broadening existing taxes to apply to foreign video-streaming companies, as it looks for ways to keep financing its cinema, music and literature in the digital age. – Wall Street Journal
Once again, those haughty French are mocking us. They refused us flyover rights when we needed to bomb Libya in 1986. In their Paris bistros and brasseries they still arrogantly refuse us ketchup for our American fries. And perhaps most galling, they repeatedly made us look at Nicolas Sarkozy shirtless.
Now their tax-and-spend crats d’bureau are on a path to increasing subsidies for plotless films and Poulenc festivals and other so-called French “culture.”
Maybe even poetry. I wouldn’t put it past them. What’s the French word for “chauvinism?”
That infuriating country’s obsession with French stuff, of course, is mainly aimed at its own people, lest they be sapped of their precious bodily Frenchness by McDonald’s, Disney, Ford and Lady Gaga. It’s futile to begin with. I mean, seriously, choose a flick: Amour (dying old people) or The Expendables 3 (explosions and gunfire). Right? At some point, the well-intentioned policy of cultural preservation morphs into cruelty, like waterboarding or pantomime. Despite their stubborn refusal to speak English, the French are people too, and shouldn’t be forced to eat bird liver when Hot Pockets are readily available.
But what makes this especially wicked is the financing. To fund its anti-imperial campaign of terror, the French government is greedily eyeing the coffers of our very own Google, our Netflix -- merciful heavens -- our Apple. Yes -- your iPhone will be more expensive so the world can have the next Marcel Proust, as if the world weren’t already overstocked.
That, my friend, is a pont too far. That is war -- a French government-hatched insurgency against the American Cultural Empire. What Algeria did to them, they’re doing to us. Avec fromage (pardon my French), it’s an outrage!
Well, if war is what they want, war it should be. And here is how it should be waged: Congress should reverse two decades of domestic cultural indifference by quadrupling funding for the National Endowment For the Arts. But this time nothing “provocative.” This time, our treasures -- as measured by how much they can fill the treasury.
Maybe, for instance, a tax credit to Rockstar Games for a sequel to the uniquely American "Grand Theft Auto V." Perhaps it could be titled "Grand Theft Auto 6" (not that I’d presume to intrude on the creative process). Our Rebecca Black has scarcely been shared with the “outside world” and could benefit with the little Kongressional Kickstarter. Just blue-skying here: Real Housewives of Toulouse.
And here’s the beauty part: The French want to target our industries? We’ll return the favor. The NEA revenue would not be plucked from the pockets of hardworking Americans, it’ll come from taxes on the whole Franco Industrial Complex: their dressing, their manicures, their drains, their braids and even their onion soup.
Turnabout is fair play, mes amis. You want to cultivate some more Renoirs? Try taxing cheese. Because we’re flying over whether you like it or not, and we have your toast in our bomb sights.