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Le Monde N'Est Pas Votre Cendrier
Or, as I like to admonish people in America who put their butts out in my favorite café's flower pots, then leave them there:

"The world is not your ashtray."

Paris transit has a campaign that includes posters on bus shelters to encourage a little more...politesse. Here are two posters I saw tonight. The "Homo Modernus" angle is a little too cute, and I found this one a little too nannyish for my taste:

Translation: Before getting on the bus "homo modernus"
abandons his aggression.

Liked this one better:

Rough Translation: "Homo modernus" became acquainted with
the use of the trash can about 35,000 years ago.

Unfortunately, the humor and visuals fall a little flat; still, anything anybody can do to help staunch the Niagara Falls-like rushing of manners out of modern society is much appreciated.

Posted by aalkon at October 30, 2006 3:16 PM

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It's easy to appreciate if you're not a French taxpayer! (We really would like to move to France for a year, but the tax situation is just ridiculous, especially for the self-employed.)

Posted by: Jackie Danicki at October 30, 2006 6:12 AM

A self-employed friend of mine in Paris pays 65% of his income in taxes.

By the way, Jackie, you have to meet this great blogger from Scotland who does real estate in Paris. Her name's Susie Hollands, and her blog is here:

And she's heard glowing things about you. From me, but I'm sure there could be others!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 30, 2006 6:51 AM

Keep the buses clean. French youths don't like to torch dirty buses.

Posted by: Jon at October 30, 2006 8:43 AM

Jon, if you're going to post here, please use your head as more than a staging area for your hair. I realize that you must have some cavemanlike animus for the French, but it isn't "French youths" torching buses, but immigrant youth, some of whom were born in France, and are thus considered French.

French kids from French families, generally speaking, are raised to be much better behaved than American kids. They eat what they're given, don't make noise at the dinner table, and are talked to sternly when they don't behave. I never have a problem when parents bring their kids to the cafe where I write. They sit still and eat their food like little ladies and gentlemen. Then, on the playground, their parents are less likely to treat them like precious little porcelain toys. Which is as it should be, in my book.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 30, 2006 9:47 AM

We live near a city park with a nice playground, and I'm always appalled at the families who come and picnic, and then just leave their trash on the ground when trash cans are prominently placed just a few feet away.

Posted by: deja pseu at October 30, 2006 11:51 AM

Even if there are no trash cans and you have to take it with you.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 30, 2006 12:37 PM

Yep, I take my trash with me if there's no trash can in sight. I'm a firm proponent of the "Leave the area better than you found it" school of thought, and as a result, our three-year-old tidies up after himself.

Posted by: Melissa at October 30, 2006 6:19 PM

Jeez Amy, thats a bit rough. It's not nice to make fun a cavemen, don't you know.

I didn't coin the phrase "French Youths". That is what the papers and wires have been calling them for at least 12 months now as the youths go on their nightly riots.
I understand full well what is going on in the the French suburbs and indeed, around Europe.

I was very interested to read your post on buses in France not two days after a woman was seriously injured by these same youths tourching a bus. But alas, you didn't touch what I thought was the topic de jure.

I certainly may have come off as a bit snarky and I apologize for that. But as you concede, they are indeed French youths.

In all seriousness, perhaps the lovely politeness you find in the indiginous French youths will wind up working to their detriment if they fail to stand up for their way of life in the face of barbaric aggression.

The only thing I remember hearing about indiginous French youths this year (or perhaps last year) was their student strike to resist relaxing some of the rigid employment rules for French companies. I don't find that a positive trait, though perhaps you don't either.

Posted by: Jon at November 1, 2006 3:45 PM

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