There are few nations that have as fraught or closely entangled a relationship with each other as do the United States and France. From its very beginning, the United States has competed with France for recognition as the exceptional, conceptual, universalist center of the world. France, with its Enlightenment, would like to claim credit for the invention of human rights, while the United States would like to claim credit as having perfected the practice of freedom (our penchant for mass incarceration aside). The French have always viewed Americans with an ambivalent mix of admiration and animosity stemming from the ease with which the United States has exported its language, cultural products, and ideology to the Hexagon. America's bad objects range from Hollywood blockbusters and the widespread use of English in lieu of homegrown French words to identity politics, which threatens to fracture the French body politic through political correctness.

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