Mufle (LITT.GENERALE) (French Edition)
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And even more surprisingly, it was already consensual. In a time of strident divisions, it was already the most commonly shared idea in France. From then on, it was neither exclusively right wing nor left wing. It brought together spiritualists and secularists, nationalists and internationalists. Favored by the extremes, as might be expected of any "anti" stance, it also permeated the more moderate segments of the population. Everyone knows how the Statue of Liberty was finished before its pedestal.
The statue of the American Enemy raised by the French, however, is a work in progress: each successive generation tinkers at it, tightening its bolts. But its pedestal is well established. And its foundations—the Enlightenment's strange hostility to the New World, which I will examine in the prologue—are over two hundred years old. The present work stems from the firm belief that it is impossible to unravel the riddle of French anti-Americanism without taking a deep dive into the past.
As we have noted and will see in detail, this strange cultural object is just not subject to circumstance. Passing trends have no important or lasting effect on it. Happenstance might have had a role in the early days of its development; we will see this in the case of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War of Quickly, though, the thick layering of discourses and representations amassed by French anti-Americanism allowed it to absorb exterior shocks without deviating from its flight path.
France's anti-American discourse is not solipsistic, but it is largely self-referential and autarchic—two characteristics inseparable from its Sartrian "bad faith. Clearly, that is just one more illusion or self-deception—and not the least dangerous, considering how, to give one example, such thinking helped hone France's diplomatic, economic, and moral isolation in the s; or, more recently, how otherwise perfectly legitimate political and diplomatic differences could easily evolve into an all-out confrontation, by triggering anti-Americanism again and again and setting off the infernal machine of a nearly Pavlovian hostility.
Where does all this come from?
The Gift: Preparations, Correspondence, and Reception
Semiotics generally has a hard time defining the exact critical moment when "it takes," as Barthes put it; when a discourse takes on a certain consistency; when it can run on its own obtuseness. A discourse of this kind works through repetition. Its strength is in its stubbornness. Its peaks can of course be charted by opinion polls, for instance , but its most important element is elsewhere: in a long, drawn-out stratification of images, legends, jokes, anecdotes, beliefs, and affects. Shedding light on all of these elements takes more than just opinion polls which, rather than plumbing the depths, offer a snapshot of a given moment : you have to root around, dig up old deposits, excavate the matter, clear out the veins, and follow the seams.
I don't even know what the word means," declared Sartre in His logic would have delighted Lewis Carroll—not to mention the Mad Hatter.
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The same logic still is running the show in current attempts to obstruct the concept of anti-Americanism. In fact, since Sartre's day, the hard line has only gotten harder. Anti-Americanism was an incomprehensible word for him—or comprehensible just long enough to absolve himself of it. As the French essayist Serge Halimi discovered and exposed in Le Monde diplomatique in May , individuals with ulterior motives are hiding behind this empty word, and their mission is to "intimidate the last rebels against a social order whose laboratory is the United States.
Never heard of it. Except as a fabrication, pure and simple. Since Sartre's day, this denial has been the obligatory preamble to any use of anti-American rhetoric. Halimi's article is only a typical example of a widespread rhetorical device: everything in it works by mirror image, from the accusation of intimidation, introduced to justify censorship of the undesirable word, to the imputation that the opponent uses a "tightly screwed-together binary logic" this masks the Manichean political views of the accusation itself.
The semantic objection is there only to set the polemical machine in motion.
Now for a more methodological objection. Even if we admit that anti-Americanism exists and that its manifestations can be pinpointed, does that give us the right to turn it into an analytical category? Given that "anti-Americanism" is part of the French "logosphere" and might even determine a certain number of attitudes and behaviors, does that mean we can raise it to the level of a concept? Doesn't that—wrongly—lend credence to the idea that America has an "essence" to which anti-Americans would thus be opposed? We cannot address this objection without quickly examining the link it presupposes between "Americanism" and "anti-Americanism.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Americanism meant, in the United States, a set of values judged to be constituent parts of a national identity, as well as the attitude of those who adopted them and attempted to conform their personal identity to this national ideal. The expression, popularized by Theodore Roosevelt at the turn of the twentieth century, was inseparable from notions like being " percent American"—as opposed to "hyphenated American.
Its content, however, is vague, as Marie-France Toinet notes, quoting Theodore Roosevelt: "Americanism signifies the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and strength—the virtues that made America. Americanism's credo, though it kept its nationalist and even chauvinistic overtones, was thus coupled with another self-defining tautology: the American way of life, which was the material facet of the word "Americanism.
A narcissistic self-portrait and a slogan for internal use, "Americanism" would seem to be hard to export: yet America's power overflow pushed the term all the way across the ocean to Europe. The French discovered it in the full upswing of a new polemic interest in the United States in the late s. But their attempts to give it ideological or political substance bumped up against resistant matter: "Americanism" means above all pride in being American; apart from that, it is a catch-all.
So, logically enough, the French took the word over and gave it a meaning, most often negative, that reflected their own view of the United States. But his was a very personal attempt, and it had no effect on the fate of a term decidedly destined for invective in France. After giving a long catalog of its negative connotations, Debray concludes: "Americanism seems to mean a blackened America, stripped of everything positive it has.
Now we can come back and respond to the initial objection about essentializing America.
The mistake there was imagining that anti-Americanism was derived from the notion of "Americanism. As Sartre could have put it, in France, anti-Americanism's existence always preceded any essence of America. One last scruple: our investigation covers two centuries. It might seem problematic, then, that the word anti-Americanism is so much more recent. A turboshaft engine is similar to a turboprop in principle, but in a turboprop the propeller is supported by the engine and the engine is bolted to the airframe : in a turboshaft, the engine does not provide any direct physical support to the helicopter's rotors.
The rotor is connected to a transmission which is bolted to the airframe, and the turboshaft engine drives the transmission. The distinction is seen by some as slim, as in some cases aircraft companies make both turboprop and turboshaft engines based on the same design. Reaction engines generate the thrust to propel an aircraft by ejecting the exhaust gases at high velocity from the engine, the resultant reaction of forces driving the aircraft forwards. The most common reaction propulsion engines flown are turbojets, turbofans and rockets.
Other types such as pulsejets , ramjets , scramjets and pulse detonation engines have also flown. In jet engines the oxygen necessary for fuel combustion comes from the air, while rockets carry oxygen in some form as part of the fuel load, permitting their use in space. A turbojet is a type of gas turbine engine that was originally developed for military fighters during World War II. A turbojet is the simplest of all aircraft gas turbines. It consists of a compressor to draw air in and compress it, a combustion section where fuel is added and ignited, one or more turbines that extract power from the expanding exhaust gases to drive the compressor, and an exhaust nozzle that accelerates the exhaust gases out the back of the engine to create thrust.
When turbojets were introduced, the top speed of fighter aircraft equipped with them was at least miles per hour faster than competing piston-driven aircraft. In the years after the war, the drawbacks of the turbojet gradually became apparent. Below about Mach 2, turbojets are very fuel inefficient and create tremendous amounts of noise.
Early designs also respond very slowly to power changes, a fact that killed many experienced pilots when they attempted the transition to jets. These drawbacks eventually led to the downfall of the pure turbojet, and only a handful of types are still in production. The last airliner that used turbojets was the Concorde , whose Mach 2 airspeed permitted the engine to be highly efficient.
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A turbofan engine is much the same as a turbojet, but with an enlarged fan at the front that provides thrust in much the same way as a ducted propeller , resulting in improved fuel efficiency. Though the fan creates thrust like a propeller, the surrounding duct frees it from many of the restrictions that limit propeller performance. This operation is a more efficient way to provide thrust than simply using the jet nozzle alone, and turbofans are more efficient than propellers in the transsonic range of aircraft speeds and can operate in the supersonic realm.
A turbofan typically has extra turbine stages to turn the fan. Turbofans were among the first engines to use multiple spools —concentric shafts that are free to rotate at their own speed—to let the engine react more quickly to changing power requirements. Turbofans are coarsely split into low-bypass and high-bypass categories. Bypass air flows through the fan, but around the jet core, not mixing with fuel and burning.
The ratio of this air to the amount of air flowing through the engine core is the bypass ratio. Low-bypass engines are preferred for military applications such as fighters due to high thrust-to-weight ratio, while high-bypass engines are preferred for civil use for good fuel efficiency and low noise. Low-bypass turbofans can reach supersonic speeds, though normally only when fitted with afterburners. Pulse jets are mechanically simple devices that—in a repeating cycle—draw air through a no-return valve at the front of the engine into a combustion chamber and ignite it.
The combustion forces the exhaust gases out the back of the engine. It produces power as a series of pulses rather than as a steady output, hence the name.
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Though the same engines were also used experimentally for ersatz fighter aircraft, the extremely loud noise generated by the engines caused mechanical damage to the airframe that was sufficient to make the idea unworkable. A few aircraft have used rocket engines for main thrust or attitude control, notably the Bell X-1 and North American X Rocket engines are not used for most aircraft as the energy and propellant efficiency is very poor, but have been employed for short bursts of speed and takeoff.
Another promising design for aircraft use was the Wankel rotary engine. The Wankel engine is about one half the weight and size of a traditional four-stroke cycle piston engine of equal power output, and much lower in complexity. In an aircraft application, the power-to-weight ratio is very important, making the Wankel engine a good choice.
Because the engine is typically constructed with an aluminium housing and a steel rotor, and aluminium expands more than steel when heated, a Wankel engine does not seize when overheated, unlike a piston engine. This is an important safety factor for aeronautical use. Considerable development of these designs started after World War II , but at the time the aircraft industry favored the use of turbine engines.
It was believed that turbojet or turboprop engines could power all aircraft, from the largest to smallest designs. The Wankel engine did not find many applications in aircraft, but was used by Mazda in a popular line of sports cars. In modern times the Wankel engine has been used in motor gliders where the compactness, light weight, and smoothness are crucially important. These engines were developed from the motor in the Norton Classic motorcycle. The single-rotor engine was put into a Chevvron motor glider and into the Schleicher ASH motor-gliders.