Day By Day

Sunday, February 21, 2010

France Embraces the Baconburger

The Times reports:

After the burka, France is now grappling with the bacon burger. The culinary import that was once anathema for Gallic patriots is at the heart of the latest bout of anguish over the rise of Islam in France.

Politicians, media and Paris penseurs have been piling in against Quick, a Franco-Belgian fast-food chain, over its policy of serving only halal meat in 8 of its 362 burger outlets. Smoked turkey has replaced bacon at the Islamically correct restaurants at Roubaix, on the Belgian frontier, and in Muslim-dominated suburbs of Paris and other cities.

Read it here.

Don't get me wrong, the French have wonderful food, but to at least some extent their snobbishness on the matter is a reflection of national defensiveness. The same chauvinism that led France to reject the "Anglo-Saxon" baconburger as a culinary atrocity, now leads them to embrace it. As a bacon lover, I can only see this as progress.

The article rightly points out that there is an ideological component to this. The French are no devotees of "pluralism". They are relatively intolerant of cultural or intellectual diversity that undermines the ideal of the unitary state. I would argue, though [contra the Times], that this long antedates the French Revolution and has its origins in the trend toward royal absolutism that affected all of the major European states in the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries.

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