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An Open Letter To America

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As you may be aware, the United States has been experiencing some diplomatic tension with the leadership and citizenry of France. In a bold and courageous move, Congress recently rechristened some of the items in its cafeterias to reflect its growing dissatisfaction with the French people: French fries and French toast are now ”freedom fries” and ”freedom toast.” (Mmmm.) We at EW, in our constant quest to support our elected leaders — well, all leaders, really, elected or otherwise — have eagerly embraced this new approach of diplomacy by semantics.

Consequently, we would like to note that the movie The French Connection will henceforth be referred to in our pages as The Freedom Connection, and the Meryl Streep-Jeremy Irons drama The French Lieutenant’s Woman will be referred to as The Free Lieutenant’s Woman. The Meg Ryan-Kevin Kline romantic comedy French Kiss will be Free Kiss, a tongueless title we frankly like a little better. An American in Paris will be referred to as That Gene Kelly Movie With the Stupid Dream Sequence at the End.

Paris, Texas will be referred to simply as Texas. To prevent confusion, the James Michener novel Texas will therefore be referred to as Tex, while the S.E. Hinton novel Tex will be referred to as T. If someone releases a novel called T, we will pretend it doesn’t exist. George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London will now be simply called Down and Out in London. Adam Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon will be called To the Moon, which we recognize makes it sound like a Jackie Gleason biography or a history of the space program, but that’s Gopnik’s problem, not ours.

As far as we are concerned, Nicky Hilton no longer has a sister.

The British comedy duo French & Saunders will simply be referred to as Saunders; the ”French &” will be silent, like an e, or a mime. Which reminds us: Our long-planned cover story on Marcel Marceau is off.

Frenchie from American Idol will henceforth be known as ”The Unjustly Wronged.”

Songs, books, TV shows, and movies containing French words will be translated back into English; thus, Moulin Rouge will be referred to as Red Windmill, and La Boheme will be referred to as The Boheme. The refrain from ”Lady Marmalade” will be rendered as ”Will you sleep with me tonight?” which will — we admit — make it a little more difficult to distinguish from other Christina Aguilera songs. We apologize for any confusion.

We will be suspending our relentless coverage of Edith Piaf until further notice. And, finally, actor French Stewart (from 3rd Rock From the Sun) will not be mentioned in our pages. We assume he’ll understand.

God bless freedom fries, and God bless America.