"Identity Soup" In France

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A group of French nativists are feeding the homeless of Paris with soup made using pork. According to the New York Times the recipe for the soup includes smoked bacon, pig's ears, feet, and tails combined with vegetables and sausages. The group also includes cheese, dessert and a glass of red wine with each meal. Evidently, the idea is to send yet another message that Muslims and Jews (non-pork eaters) are not welcome in France.

It is certainly a churlish and mean-spirited gesture, but does the French government really need to try to close down the soup kitchen citing the "discriminatory nature of the soup"?

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  1. French soup nazis?

  2. Mr. Bailey, how could you forget to mention the obvious pop-cultural reference?

  3. I can’t read the article without registering, but I’m curious: the title implies that these people are making pork soup specifically as a stick in a muslim’s eye. True? Or are we dealing with some well-meaning people who backed into a “you can’t offend me like that” tantrum?

    Personally, I think it sounds delicious.

  4. I think I read about this elsewhere, that it was a deliberate stick-in-the-eye to Muslims.

    I personally file it under “rather a dicky thing to do, but they should have a legal right to do it.”

  5. On the other hand. Who cares if they are trying to stiff homeless muslims and/or jews (full disclosure, dad jewish, mom catholic, I’m confused)? If private individuals only want to give charity to non-pork-eating people — they’re jerks, but so what? The non-pork eating community can step up and serve non-pork-containing soup to anyone they want. Or if the people are really hungry they’ll eat pork (judaism at least always has dispensation for emergencies — like starving. I;m not sure about Islam).

  6. Excerpt:

    February 28, 2006
    Paris Journal (New York Times)
    Poor and Muslim? Jewish? Soup Kitchen Is Not for You.
    By CRAIG S. SMITH

    PARIS, Feb. 27–More than 200 political demonstrators defied a police ban here on Thursday, scurrying across Boulevard St.-Germain and under the sycamore trees of Place Maubert to engage in their forbidden action: eating “pig soup” in public.

    With steaming bowls of the fragrant broth soon passing through the crowd, Odile Bonnivard, a short-haired secretary turned far-right firebrand, climbed atop a dark sedan with a megaphone in hand and led the crowd in a raucous chant: “We are all pig eaters! We are all pig eaters!”

    Identity soup, as the broth has come to be called, is one of the stranger manifestations of a growing grass-roots backlash against the multiculturalism that has spread through Europe over the past 20 years. People are increasingly challenging the care taken in Nazi-chastened Europe, and in France in particular, to avoid the sort of racial or religious insults that led to widespread protests in the Muslim world this month after wide publication of cartoons considered offensive to the Prophet Muhammad.

    The movement began in the winter of 2003 when Ms. Bonnivard, a member of a small far-right nationalist movement called the Identity Bloc, began serving hot soup to the homeless. At first, she said, the group used pork simply because it was an inexpensive traditional ingredient for hearty French soup. But after the political significance of serving pork dawned on them and others, it quickly became the focus of their work.

    Made with smoked bacon, pigs’ ears, pigs’ feet and pigs’ tails together with assorted vegetables and sausages, the soup is meant to make a political statement: “Help our own before others.”

    The “others,” Ms. Bonnivard explained, are non-European immigrants who she and her colleagues on the far right say are sopping up scarce resources that ought to be used for descendants of the Continent’s original inhabitants. In other words, the soup is meant to exclude those who do not eat pork–for the most part, Muslims and Jews.

  7. Damn you, linguist, you beat me by two minutes.
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Potage de porc pour vous!

  9. Ooh! Free soup!

  10. Damn you, linguist, you beat me by two minutes.

    Heehee! That’s right! Because I have nothing better to do than sit here hitting “refresh” every 3 seconds. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Dans le cochon, tout est bon.

  12. brian 423:

    I would have thought *this* was the obvious pop-cultural reference:

    Homer: Are you saying you’re never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
    Lisa: No.
    Homer: Ham?
    Lisa: No.
    Homer: Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.

  13. We have refrigeration; what’s with following a pre refrigeration desert dwelling edict on pork…really; time to move on.

  14. Just because I’ll never get a better chance, let me recommend Tom T. Hall’s “Who’s Gonna Feed Them Hogs?” as both appropriate to this thread and a great song in general.

  15. On the other hand, if French chateaus had used pork fat to seal their bottles in the 1800s, that would probably be legally required today…

  16. Um if someone wants to give out free food why are they stopping them? They aren’t actually harming anyone, and one can even make an argument that they are helping the nonpig eating imigrants by removing some of the demand for nonpig food.

    True there is also an implied political statement, but if your going to ban free pork soup because of that you might as well just ban all expression of anti jew-muslim sentiment and be done with it.

  17. Does this mean that France will ban Emeril T-shirts printed with “Pork Fat Rules”?

    Perhaps there’s a solution to the housework wars of recent years. Convince all the talk-radio lunatics that cooking with bacon is a statement in the war on terror against “them Ay Rabs.” Then, provide recipes for cassoulet, spaghetti carbonara, Bolognese sauce with sausage, dirty rice, anything that uses pork. Suddenly, he-men everywhere are wearing aprons and making delicious pig-meat meals while their wives watch figure skating.

    Hey, it’s at least as logical as anything else about the Middle East, France’s immigration policy, or the war on terror, not to mention talk radio.

  18. Islam also has a “if you’re starving, eat the pork – Allah doesn’t want you dead” clause, IIRC. So, both Jewish and Muslim homeless could, within the terms of their religions, eat it to avoid starvation. They likely wouldn’t be happy about it.

    I just can’t sympathize with either group in this conflict. It’s utterly wrong to close down the kitchen, but it’s just fucked to deliberately make food that would humiliate someone who would eat it.

  19. I just can’t sympathize with either group in this conflict. It’s utterly wrong to close down the kitchen, but it’s just fucked to deliberately make food that would humiliate someone who would eat it.

    I think it the article they stated the soup was made with pork to make it hearty and pork is cheap. Only after the political implications of an already made decision had become clear, did they attempt to exploit it.

    I agree though that is it fucked up to exploit this. Shouldn’t non-profit soup kitchens attempt to serve as many homeless as possible?

    But for Christ’s sake – close it down?!?!?!

    First they came for the free-pig-soup makers, but I didn’t stand up…

  20. I agree, Eric. However, you’re forgetting the third group here besides the mean cooks and the busy-bodybureaucrats, viz. the people who still believe in these stupid, millennia-old caveats like the dangers of pork.

    This is a bigger topic than that addressed in the original post, but why do we continue to humor these people? I am so friggin sick and tired of all this bowing and scraping for people who cling to the ridonkulous beliefs of their forebears. Call me a heathen infidel, but I can’t help but feel that the world would progress a little quicker and smoother if all of us non-believers were willing to call ‘bullshit’ when we hear about it.

  21. There’s no point in shutting this down, but as I understand it they are doing everything in their power to turn what could be an act of charity into a giant “FUCK YOU!”

    However, having worked in labs with many Frenchmen, I’m pleased to report that the French are actually infinitely more polite than this incident, or other threads on Hit and Run, may lead you to believe. My French colleagues have, without exception, been incredibly hospitable people.

  22. Eric, like you I can’t sympathize with either group. It’s interesting for me to read news on European politics, because I keep waiting for a context of freedom, since they claim to be living in free democracies, and I as an American expect conflicts over what we can and can’t do to be a matter of freedom.

    For the establishment-bureaucracy-police side of the conflict, they were only interested in social order, though. They never attempted to defend their laughable ban on free food as an overstepping of bounds — it wasn’t that the soup-servers had overstepped their rights, or had infringed on others’. For example, I was amazed to read that the police “[shut] it [the kitchen] down only once[,] to avoid an altercation with a group of indignant French leftists.” They had done nothing illegal, in fact someone else might have been preparing to commit crimes against them, but the government rolled over the individuals to preserve social calm.

    And, on the nationalist soup-servers’ side, though they did offer complaints about “freedom,” what it really came down to was ‘the “persecution” of the soup kitchen [is] a “betrayal of the French identity.”‘ By “identity,” I initially thought that meant “free democracy” … then I realized it was a racial-nationalist kind of identity.

    I was also amused by the transparent tactics of the police when they “initially granted permission” for a feast the group wanted to hold, but then, uh, decided to change their minds right before the event, showing up that morning to say so. Clever move: if you (the gov’t) want to deny a request, wait until right before the relavent point in time and announce your decision through the police, and you’re less likely to get a meaningful argument.

  23. GM, I didn’t know anyone used “viz.” anymore! Cool.

  24. I agree that exploiting this as a political statement is wrong, but what about the Jewish and Muslim immigrants who are not on the soup lines? Are they fixing Matzah or Lamb-Lentil soup for the non-pork eaters? I see no reason for the government to become involved in this, only a reason for more citizens to become involved. Charity starts at home and then moves to the street.

  25. When will the French ban fruit of the vine to comply with Muslim Halaal?

    What about rabbits and hares? (leviticus bans ’em)

    Horse meat?

    Shellfish, Eels and Catfish?

    Fish in general are taboo in parts of Africa, do we want to offend Africans?

    Camel?

    Will they now ban root vegetable to avoid offending Jains?

    Beef to avoid offending Hindus?

    Lettuce to avoid offending Yezidi Zoroastrians?

    How about pasta and meatballs? Are we allowed to eat them in celebration of the FSM or will that offend all abrahamic religions as apostatsy?

    I find Bologna offensive, the smell alone makes me gag. I demand that be banned!

    We will end up as a race of deceased breatharians

  26. So what if there’s a political angle?! They’re feeding hungry people! And to say the content of one’s food should be altered because it’s insulting to others is a form of tyranny. If a certain group doesn’t like it, they don’t have to eat it, do they? It’s not as though they shut down a Muslim free-meals program to set up the ” identity soup” project. If the Muslims and French nationalists wish to compete, wish to demonstrate that their groupcan feed more indigents… well, who loses by that?

  27. Why is it a “certainly a churlish and mean-spirited gesture” to serve soup that includes “smoked bacon, pig’s ears, feet, and tails combined with vegetables and sausages” as well as “cheese, dessert and a glass of red wine with each meal.”?

    Sounds fuckin’ delicious!

  28. What?!!! The starving, homeless Muslims and Jews in France can’t (won’t) eat pork?

    Then let them eat cake!

  29. I like serving a glass of red wine with every meal for the homeless. Remember the stink about “beer for the homeless”?

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/07/02/1056825441944.html

  30. “Sounds fuckin’ delicious!”

    I’m a vegetarian, and that menu is making my mouth water. Honestly. I think I would pretend pigs were vegetables just to get a bowl of that stuff. Of course I’m no religious fanatic, either.

  31. linguist:
    Because I have nothing better to do than sit here hitting “refresh” every 3 seconds. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Me, neither. Every three seconds? Thanks, now I know what to do.

  32. What?!!! The starving, homeless Muslims and Jews in France can’t (won’t) eat pork?

    Methinks this wasn’t directed at the Jews. They aren’t wandering around Paris looking for handouts, much less pork soup.

  33. re: What should have been titled No Soup For Jews (and Muslims)

    Banning hate doesn’t work. But what do you expect from people who think the government is the solution to _____?

    Once upon a time there was such a thing as public shame and shunning. I remember when David Duke ran for office as a Republican even though (or because) he used to be a KKK member. The fact that he belonged to such an overtly racist organization allowed people to realize exactly what he was, and he got voted down as a result, whereas he likely would have gotten elected otherwise. It is exactly this sort of thing that not allowing scumbags to express their hate prevents, namely the proper marginalization of their kind.

    By the way, the French are serious morons for disallowing private individuals to help feed the hungry. As someone mentioned, their mean-spirited soup kitchen feeds non-Muslims and non-Jews, thus supplying some demand and making the rest of the supply stretch further.

  34. Are there really any homeless Jews?

  35. The Wandering one.

  36. There certainly are homeless Jews.

  37. Religion is a choice. If you freely choose to follow a religion that requires you to voluntarily forsake certain foods, well, sucks for you, but I don’t have the slightest sympathy.

    Besides, what good is a religion if you can’t suffer for your faith?

  38. “Besides, what good is a religion if you can’t suffer for your faith?”

    Well, doesn’t that just sum up about 90% of the world’s problems.

  39. Well, doesn’t that just sum up about 90% of the world’s problems.

    That religious nuts cause their own problems?

    It is certainly a churlish and mean-spirited gesture,

    Mulsims looking a gift pig in the mouth is indeed churlish and mean-spirited. They should say “thanks” (or “No, but thanks anyway”). Sounds a bit like like anti-pig racism.
    (Keeping in mind that the article didn’t actually say anything about Muslims, just “leftists” imposing their silly ideas by force in order to make a political statement.)

    but does the French government really need to try to close down the soup kitchen citing the “discriminatory nature of the soup”?

    The government is stupid. Details at 11.

  40. We will end up as a race of deceased breatharians

    Breath? How dare you breathe? We are deeply offended! Just you wait…

  41. However, having worked in labs with many Frenchmen, I’m pleased to report that the French are actually infinitely more polite than this incident, or other threads on Hit and Run, may lead you to believe. My French colleagues have, without exception, been incredibly hospitable people.

    Yeah, but you know they spit in your general direction when you turn your back and walk away from them, thoreau. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Besides, what good is a religion if you can’t suffer for your faith?”

    Well, doesn’t that just sum up about 90% of the world’s problems.

    Everybody wants to be a martyr.

    And for your reading pleasure, a repeat of one of my favorite quotes (attributed to Red Foxx):

    “I drink and smoke. Some people don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Some people they don’t eat butter. No sugar. No lard. No salt. Because they want to live. Give up all that good stuff. Neckbones, pigtails…. You’re gonna feel like a damn fool layin out there in the hospital dying from nothing.”

    Also, I haven’t heard this one on this thread yet:

    Ham is good. Porkchops are good.

  42. “You don’t frighten us, English pig dogs. Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of a silly person.”

    See? Even in medieval times, the French were shoving pork in people’s faces.

  43. Great that these Frenc patriots distribute food made of pork. For the same money more people are fed.
    Kosher and Halal meat is considerably more expensive.
    Yes, Jews and Muslims should not eat.
    Less Christians will come to the Jewish and Muslim free kitchens, and these kitchens will feed those that need such food.

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