Monday, June 02, 2008

France regulates country music dancing

What is big government and taxes for, if not regulating and financing dangerous activities like Line Dancing to American Country Music:

Oui-Ha! France brings line dancing craze under state control
[...] The French administration has moved to create an official country dancing diploma as part of a drive to regulate the fad. Authorised instructors who have been on publicly funded training courses will be put in charge of line dancing lessons and balls.

The rules, which come into force next year, come after the rapid spread of country and western in France, where an estimated 100,000 people line dance several times a week. Jean Chauveau, the chairman of the country section of the French Dance Federation, said: “It's growing at a crazy rate. There are thousands of clubs and more are springing up all the time.”

He said the French shunned the square dancing that is popular among country and western fans in the United States because it involved physical contact. “They don't want to take anyone by the hand or anything like that,” he said. But they were passionate about line dancing, where participants follow the steps without touching anyone else. “I think this corresponds to the individualism of our times,” Mr Chauveau said.


Mr Chauveau said the trend illustrated France's “complicated and ambiguous” relationship with the United States. “We love American magic and the American dream,” he said. “But we hate Americans when we confront the hard reality of their behaviour throughout the world. We go for the cowboy hats but not George Bush.”

In a peculiarly Gallic approach to the phenomenon, French civil servants say line dancing should be submitted to the same rules as sports such as football and rugby. This means imposing training courses for line dancing teachers and a state-approved diploma for anyone who wants to give lessons or run clubs.

Amateur instructors will have to take 200 hours of training under the new rules. Professionals will get 600 hours, including such subjects as line dancing techniques, “the mechanics of the human body” and the English (or at least Texan) language. They will also learn how to teach line dancing to the elderly.

The cost of the courses, about €2,000 (£1,570) for the professionals and €500 for the amateurs, will be largely met by taxpayers. Mr Chauveau said the regulations highlighted the French state's obsessive desire to organise all public activity. [...]

Government controlled line dancing, an expression of the "individualism of our times"? Those funny European ideas. It just makes me think of that expression, "Big hat, no cattle".

But just when you think you've found another good reason to despise the French, they go and do something like this:

French Families Honor US Fallen At Normandy

I can get annoyed by the things they say and do sometimes, but things like the above link make it hard to stay mad at them. How can it be possible to remain continuously vexed with a country whose citizens donate their time to something like Les Fleurs de la Mémoire? Our relationship with France has always been... complicated. And it probably always will be. It's part of what makes the French French.


Walker said...

Chas, I can always count on you for something interesting and you hit a home run with this post.

I started out reading with a puzzled smile on my face and ended with a tear in my eye. Just a great combo.

Chas said...

It wasn't me that made ya teary, it was the French! ;-)