View Full Version : The Cocorico Syndrome

Johnny Yuma
03-16-2003, 08:44 AM
Roosters Rule! Cocorico!

Why is the rooster – that vain, strutting, loudmouthed creature- the national symbol of France? The latin word gallus provides the symbol; “gallus” means both “the Gaul” and “the rooster”.

The Romans commented on the Gauls’ talkativeness, as well as their complaining, aggressive nature. Tacitus concluded that if the Gauls had stopped quarreling among themselves they would have been nearly invincible.

So what defines the “cocorico syndrome"?

Every year in France, books are published analyzing and usually criticizing the French character and how it affects the individual’s and the country’s life; the French, given to self-analysis (“le nombrilisme” = navel contemplation), are quite aware of their defects and are sometimes even proud of them.

AD 52 Alesia Vercingetorix, valiant leader of the Gauls, is beaten by the “sales’ (i.e., rotten) Romans, who drag him back to Rome and execute him.

732 (Cocorico!) Charles Martel kicks out the “sales” Saracens at Poitiers.

1214 (Cocorico!) Philippe Auguste socks it to the “sales” league of English, Flemish and Germans at Bouvines.

1431 The “sales” English burn our girl, Jeanne d’ Arc.

1515 (Cocorico!) Francois Ier socks it to the Swiss at Marignano.

1789 (Cocorico!) The French infuse the world with the spirit of liberty, equality, and fraternity.

1792 (Cocorico!) The people’s army routs the foreign enemy at Valmy.

1870 Defeat at Sedan at the hands of the “sales Boches.”

1898 The “sales” English humiliate us at Fashoda (Sudan).

1940 The “sales” Brits treacherously sink our fleet at Mers-el-Kebir.

At the individual level, we get “le Francais frondeur” (anti-authority, ever critical), the opinionated, querulous, restless, contradictory undisciplined worshiper of speech who easily substitutes words for action.)

“Le Francais… c’est la langue meme de dieux, la seule dans laquelle un homme puisse laisser entendre a une femme qu’il l’aime.” (French… is the very language of the gods, the only one in which a man can make a woman understand that he loves her.)

Maurice Bedel
(writer 1884-1954)

The “cocorico syndrome” in its egocentric aspect produces the legendary rudeness and the notorious shoving ahead of one’s place in line . The expression “c’est tout un sport” has nothing to do with athletic pursuits; it refers to the great effort necessary to accomplish something, particularly in their national sports.

Recognized national sports are “la resqille” (getting something to which one has no right, getting away without paying for something; for example, fare evasion), “la combine” (scheming, beating the system, working around regulations for one’s own benefit), and “rouler le fisc” (cheating on one’s taxes).

It follows from acceptance of these activities that the French are ever “méfiants" (distrustful, suspicous) and that one of their reflexes is to search for what might be concealed underneath an action or a proposal. Not surprisingly, 71 percent of the French believe that people cannot be trusted.

The rules for the aforementioned “sports” allow for “la dénonciation” (denunciation), a favorite French activity, along with its offshoot, calumny (i.e., slander). Both make much use of the anonymous letter and reached their heyday under the German occupation in World War II.

The main weapon of “cocorico” is the manipulation of the spoken word; the more abstruse, pretentious, incomprehensible, and recondite, the better.

The “snowing” of others to prove one’s own intellectual superiority means being able to talk about everything with great assurance and to drown one’s opponent in quotations, facts, and namedropping. Intellectual exclusivism is reinforced by the existence of “les grandes écoles”, emergence from whose hallowed halls guarantees great prestige and often a viselike hold on the best jobs. Entrance by stiff competition only, please. The crème de la crème are the graduates of Normale Sup, l’ÉNA and l’X.

The ultimate intellectual hothouse is l’École Normale Superierure where the likes of Sartre, Malraux, and de Beavoir, “ont usé leurs fonds de culottes” (wore out the seats of their trousers; that is, went to school). The end product is a “normalien”, although there’s nothing normal about those characters…

Know an “ énarque”? He/she is a product of the highly competitive, postgraduate École Nationale d’Administration (l’ENA), a supertechnocrat with highly developed skills in the art of analyzing and dissecting (and not necessarily constructing) with tremendous command of language; the French language, of course. He/she is destined for the high ranks of government service and is a readily identifiable, self-confident character.

What’s the X in l’X ? It’s not an unknown quantity but the very selective (intellectually speaking) École Polytechnique for engineering. Don’t be fooled by the polytechnic moniker; this is no second-class institution. One emerges with a passport to the upper reaches of the business world, full of theory and perhaps less so of practical knowledge, but that precious piece of paper precludes the asking of one’s abilities. A “polytechnicien” makes a good marriage catch, as his earning power is pretty well guaranteed, unlike the aforementioned, whose involvement with the meaning of life, art and literature, or governmental service may not necessarily be rewarded in financial terms.

Mr. Supercocorico himself, General de Gaulle, was forever proclaiming France synonymous with grandeur and reckoned she existed to “illuminate” the universe. The press still talks of “l’honneur de la France” and sees failures or setbacks as humiliations.

At the national level, the cocorico syndrome is revealed in the need to win acclaim at any price, and to say or do anything to have France’s “destiny” and importance to the world recognized. It has made some Frenchmen say the most extraordinary things across the ages, such as:

“La gloire de la France est un des plus nobles omements du monde.” (France’s glory is one of the world’s most noble adornments.)


“Qu’est-ce la France, je vous le demande? Un coq sur un fumier. Otez le fumier, lecoq meurt.” (What is France, I ask you? A rooster on a dung heap. Take away the dung, and the rooster dies.)

Jean Cocteau
La Difficulté d’être
Editions du Rocher

03-16-2003, 10:24 AM
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just jokin' :D

Will you please use the toilet sir ? I mean the dedicated french-bashing thread.

Johnny Yuma
03-16-2003, 11:19 AM
Originally posted by yehudi
just jokin' :D

Will you please use the toilet sir ? I mean the dedicated french-bashing thread.

This isn't French bashing, sir.

The French wish to have the world understand them. This is an honest attempt to provide others insight into the psyche of the French people.

If something in this disturbs you, I invite you to point out for others the problems with what has been written, please.

What is not accurate?

Johnny Yuma
03-16-2003, 02:07 PM
The French language is not just an accumulation of words but also a key to the spirit of the people who speak it. People who have changed the course of history have used it, so why should you lose out on it? Besides, exploration of the colloquial peoples and the idioms they use give you deeper insights into the French psyche. Let’s have a look…..

There are two basic types of French people: the Parisians and all the rest, “les provinciaux”, those poor second-class citizens given to staring incessantly and enviously at the bright center of all political, economic, cultural, financial, and educational life, all the while denouncing “le parisianisme” (the assumption being that Paris is deserving of one’s attention.) The stereotypical characteristics of the French are exaggerated in the Parisian, who adds to them a heavy dose of arrogance.

Of the two forms of snobbery found in Paris, the first is the moneyed and/or aristocratic branch.


“Les beaux quatiers”, which are basically the XVIe arrondisement, with some streets of the neighboring XVIIIe, and some streets of the old VIe (Latin Quarter).

Migratory Pattern:

To the “château” or other “résidence secondaire”.

Designation In Order Of Preference:

1. A title, however bogus or “du côté gauche” (from the wrong side of the blanket, the term for titles conferred on the numerous illegitimate offspring of kings, princes, cardinals, and so on).
2. “La particule”, the prized “de”. These two letters, which originally meant nothing more than that their bearer came from a certain village, have acquired such an aura of grandeur that people search desperately for some ancestor who had such a “de”, so that it can be tagged on to their own names. Or, if worse comes to worst, one can always insert it with impunity or change the spelling of one’s name, just as Napolean III’s illegitimate half-brother, who was born Demorny, changed the spelling of his name to “de Morny” and called himself “duc” – so much more dignified
3. A double-barreled name – and all the better if the barrels contain a “de”, as in Madame de la Connerie de Merde.
4. Choice of first names. Exotic or medieval names set one aside from “la populace”, “le menu fretin”, “le populo”, “les gens communs”, you know, ordinary people.

Here’s an example from the births, engagements, and marriage page of the Figaro:

Le vicomte Hugues de Monts de Savasse et la vicomtesse, née Chantal de Fournas de la Brosse, M. Yves du Mesnildot et Mme., née Marie de La Bourdonnaye, sont heureux d’annoncer les fiancailles de leurs enfants…..

As for the births section, exotic or midieval names given to the newborn were Typhanie, Apollonia, Colombe, Fleur, Solène, Amaury, Aliénor, Héloïse.


The height of rarefied elegance, becoming thankfully very rare indeed, is attained by those parents who make their children address them by the formal pronoun “vous”. It could result in “Maman, vous m’emmerdez!”

The tone of our snobby friend is not the braying of the English aristocracy but a more refined, slow, measured, assured tone of voice, delivery accompanied by the slight hooding of the eyes and an upward tilt of the nose.

The second form of parisian snobbery is the tyrannical exclusivist exemplified by the graduates of the l’École Normale Supérieure , École Nationale d’Administration, and École Polytechnique; a “normalien”, and an “enarque”, and a “polytechnicien”, respectively. These were described in the opening of this forum under The Cocorico Syndrome.

All The Rest:

Leaving Paris, what of the provincial brethren? Beyond the stereotype of the lumpen-provincial, there are regional variations; the “Marseillais” are considered liars and thieves; “une histoire marseillaise” (a tall story) , the “Corses” (Corsicans) lazy loudmouths; “faire une promesse de Gascon”(to make an empty, vain promise), the “Alsaciens” Teutonic “bouffers de choucroûte” (sauerkraut-eaters), the “Basques” impetuous, and the “Bretons” thick;”un(e) cousin(e) à la mode de Bretagne” (a very distant cousin).

And finally, a word on the “Normands”; “répondre en normand”(to answer evasively, non-committally): they are the inhabitants of a rich, agricultural province noted for its butter, cream, and cheese, they are known particularly for their love of rich food. To help ingest gargantuan meals, rather than vomit “à la romaine” (in the manner of the Romans), they devised “le trou normand” (the Norman hole). In the middle of a meal, one is given a glass of Calvados, the searing, local apple-based spirit whose function is to burn away previously downed dishes, thereby leaving more room – the “hole” in which to shove more food.

03-16-2003, 04:18 PM
I recken the US should just let Europe destroy themselves, next time theres a big war i say let europe sort out its problems, i say the US should never help france or germany or whatever, would Europe help the US if they were attacked? of course not, NATO means nothing, look at all the arguing even during milosovic reign over how to stop him,lol, if the europeans cant deal with a idiot like that without squabbling, wonder how they would deal with another hitler one day.

Johnny Yuma
03-16-2003, 04:53 PM
Originally posted by richcrassus
I recken the US should just let Europe destroy themselves, next time theres a big war i say let europe sort out its problems, i say the US should never help france or germany or whatever, would Europe help the US if they were attacked? of course not, NATO means nothing, look at all the arguing even during milosovic reign over how to stop him,lol, if the europeans cant deal with a idiot like that without squabbling, wonder how they would deal with another hitler one day.

I'm thinking that it's not "all" Europe that's the problem. What I am trying to show is what France's motive was/continues to be in not being part of a coalition force; not that they have much to offer by doing so. But that's not the point.

I believe that the news media will realize that it was not Saddam Hussein that split the European opinion about Iraq. The light should come on soon, and they'll realize it is France.

To me, it looks as though France has finally found a platform to gain the recognition it craves. It doesn't have to fight a war to get it's "fifteen minutes of fame", all it has to do is keep itself in the lime light. That way, as long as the world has it's eyes on France, and it matters little why, it will be enough for France to claim it is leading the world.

Johnny "get your gun" Yuma

"We're about to play Cowboys and Iraqis...

Johnny Yuma
03-16-2003, 06:42 PM
Before we're too far into the thread, I should note that COCORICO is the sound a rooster makes when he crows in France. It's the equivalent of cock-a-doodle-doo