What on Earth is going on on SFN?

I believe, but stand corrected if I am wrong, that Catharine and James named this site SURVIVE France Network somewhat tongue in cheek. I believe we would all hope that nobody literally needs to survive this country. However, it strikes me that it is suffering the malaise other sites suffer.

There are various groups of people using SFN. Firstly there are those who like to engage by exchanging views and occasionally debating. On the latter point it seems to be a natural human ‘sport’. Watch any parliamentary session anywhere and one sees that there is much of this in the cut and thrust of debating chamber politics. There are even the less than polite exchanges. Those of us who have been part of debating societies are perhaps accustomed to that and rise to the occasion. We should either know when to stop or be able to do so when asked to stop. One step beyond is fine, but continue and somebody has to throw in the ‘yellow or red card’.

What is problematic, I think (which means me and not anybody else’s opinion) is that like other sites we are now getting people with positions that do not help. We have those who are so pro-French and pro-European that the pro-British get angry with them. Why? If you are in France perhaps it helps to quietly see all sides of any question. But that goes for the other side too. The UK haters really put a nasty nest of hornets in sometimes. There are those who live here but appear to reject French values, language, culture and all else. Sorry folk, this is not where cricket on village greens and tea and cakes is found normally so perhaps wake up and see where you are. Even those of us who appear very pro-France also have enough of our other country past within us to carry a pleasant drop of nostalgia and loyalty but without showing it in anger about what we cannot get because French people do not speak English (or other languages too)! Then we have a few people who seem to be anywhere in the world but here and probably just like chat sites and sometimes miss key points… I am not sure why they use SFN and what they actually contribute.

There are conspiracy theorists, those who are predicting wars, Armageddon and who knows what else who go right off the topic to make their point. Perhaps they are on the wrong site. Certainly much of what they add does not belong in the places they introduce it. They put people who have something to say right off. Then, but of course and to be expected , there are the whingers and whiners. All sites have them and I shall admit to have having left sites because they eventually outnumbered people who wanted to discuss and sometimes debate issues. Too many of them lack humour and when others retort in a ‘funny’ manner get very cross.

Of course, this is only some of it. The Higginsons are clearly not in this for entirely altruistic reasons but want to beat the same economic malaise as the rest of us by earning a bob or two. Fair enough, don’t we all? However, they are usually tolerant beyond what sometimes seems reasonable to some people and James acts when lines are crossed too often and too far very consequently. Sure, I cross the line and get cross, so perhaps this is the pot calling the kettle black, but when asked I pull back. I suspect many of us wish others could do the same instead of persisting against clear opinion and gentle warnings. It takes those of us who blog to make and break sites, please let this one continue by not destroying it with what too often comes across as anger, insult, fantasy or whatever else is perhaps not best placed here. My pontificating ends here and now you may return to whatever gives you greater pleasure, unless you are intolerably grumpy or busy watching invading aliens that is!

For the best selection of luxury homes for sale throughout the entire South of France, Paris and the French Alps

I don't suppose a change of name might help? Whether intended to be tongue-in-cheek or not, the name of the site may suggest a certain attitude. "Survive France" could possibly suggest it's some sort of a trial to live in France, an "us-against-them" mentality. Just a thought.

Errr, perhaps Mr Harrod of Knightsbridge... hohohoho....

Yes Brian suggested it this morning :)

I'm hoping someone will start some good discussions. Maybe now I can get Mohammed Al Fayed to sign up to SFN....

Yes please do move your links over there- thanks!

I have the Chomsky and know of the Fisk, reckon both would be worth a read.

Hayley, to quote Catharine below: Maybe it should have been posted in the new group Conspiracy Corner.....

celeste :)

like that one Celeste ;-)

made me smile too :-D

Brilliant Celeste, thank you!

Thank you Celeste - that has just put a smile on my face! Maybe it should have been posted in the new group Conspiracy Corner.....

Buona domenica...

Well said Nick, I fell in love with Italy - that set me on the linguistics path and ended up in France but I still adore Italy and there are parts of the UK that still do it for me too, I just prefer to live in France because it ticks more boxes for me than anywhere else. Pro european too as I think it's the best, if not the only way forward and because I feel more European than British/English. I usually need proof or a very good explanation before believing something which upset my OH every time she came out with "les anciens disent que..." and I replied why? and then more often than not we both realised that the saying was utter nonsense as there was another equally valid which said the complete opposite! Back to work now, bon dimanche les amis ;-)

@ Nick "you just have to greet them with the scientific method..." FACT: The Bank of England, the Bank of France, as well as the Federal Reserve of America are for profit, privately owned central banks. This is an indisputable truth. Every centieme you pay in taxes goes directly to the private pocket that lent the government the money. It's a scam not a conspiracy :-D

@ Brian "Discourse should not disturb others?" I think they call that singing...lol

As long as we are on the subject of facts...

FACT: This is a painting I did in my Atelier in Bastille. It is a contemporary tribute to a Rubens study of Issac and Abraham. I'm very proud of it. I call it "Dying All Alone".

FACT:This method is called French Tonal Impressionism. It was invented here by artist Max Meldrum 100 years ago.

FACT: If you would like to learn to paint like this, I'm giving lessons. :-D It's all about learning how to see...

In fact, 'll give a free lesson to any SFN-ista who has the courage to drop me a line. How's that for contributing? :-D Painting avec moi in my atelier in Bastille, I dare anyone to be more Frencher than me!!! LOL...


Good post Brian. I think a few of your points have been gathering in my mind for a while and you have crystalized them wonderfully.

You get conspiracy theorists everywhere, and you just have to greet them with the scientific method. As Christopher Hitchens so aptly said "That which can be asserted without proof, can just as easily be dismissed without proof". Having ones entire belief structure based on one book or a single video is bizarre but not uncommon.

I also find it very strange that people who live in other countries visit the site to offer completely negative spins on our chosen country, it is as if they need to prove to themselves they made the right decision. I'm very pro European, and make no secret of the fact, as this has been my feeling since youth. I happen to live in France, but could just as happily live in Spain or Italy, I love change and I embrace the different.

You also touch on a topic which to be honest has bemused me for a while, and that is the concept of the UK haters. I was born in Wales , in a little town called Crickhowell, where family still live, and I love the place. It is quite stunningly beautiful, and I recommend everyone to go visit. I however was born with a character to go and explore , and also fell in love with France. These are not mutually exclusive, it is possible to do both. I would say the highlands of Scotland are one of my favourite places on Earth, and I'm looking forward to going back there this summer. I

I would recommend anyone who is currently living in France because they hate the UK, to take a long hard look at exactly what it is they are running away from, as I can guarantee you can find similar if not the same problems in any country you might attempt to live in. If life has taught me any valuable lessons, it is that moving to something because you hate something else, is a very negative and destructive thing to do, and is never successful.

PS Reposted due to iPad/butter fingers issue ;-)

Thanks Nick. Know the Brecons quite well from the gentle hillwalking in the area. Stayed at a couple of inns in Crickhowell in my time too, yes very beautiful in the Usk Valley... We are a family of Europeans, our children are dual nationals, we chose between France, Italy, Portugal or Spain and would have prefered one of the others had we had enough filthy lucre. But we both like the French language, culture and people. So I tend to agree with you. Hitchens, who I generally dislike intensely, is so right. Anyway, your post cut short when you were just reaching the interesting bit about running away! Which we are not, we chose...

Haha, without my nation the Scots France may not have won as often as they did, so some of us feel closer to France than you belive. No, sure I do not decide anything, but have a point of view for right or wrong. You are wrong about theories, they are something to be given substance or disproven rather than having no substance. But OK, there we differ. I still say that discourse of this kind should not disturb others and for my part I shall end it here.

My point? None. It's a social network... That's the point :-) Whatever I say has value if I think it has value, whether you think so or not. You don't get to decide what does or does not contribute to the people living in France. The Modern Tyranny theory bit is a world view of America. The French don't live on planet earth? France is America's oldest alliance. Without France America would not have beaten the British. And by the way I think you mean no 'fact' has substance unless there is hard evidence to support it. A theory by definition has no substance. That's why they call it a theory lol...