"France has reported the country's first case of a SARS-like virus that has so far killed 18 people, mostly in Saudi Arabia…. While it has been deadliest in Saudi Arabia, where 11 people have been killed by the virus, other cases have been reported in Jordan, Germany, Britain and now France."
"It is truly, truly awful – like the worst flatulent person ever standing with their back turned to you." —The centuries of conflict between France and England, relatively dormant for the last few years, are now playing themselves out as farce.
“In this case, the first elements collected seem to show that there is a phenomenon of self-radicalization that expanded in a rather worrisome way. Many of them haven’t traveled to training camps in Afghanistan.” —Former anti-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, on "rising anti-Semitism among young Muslims" in France. Which, you know, is bad. But that quote makes it sound like he's saying that the problem is that untrained terrorists won't be good enough terrorists. Which reminds me to remind you that if you have not yet seen Four Lions, it should be right up at the top of your Netflix list.
Rosecrans Baldwin (author of Paris I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down) spent much of the year traveling America, quizzing people about France; he even visited four of the 25 places named "Paris" in the U.S. His highly scientific survey had intriguing results: My toughest question: “Name up to three current French artists (writers, painters, musicians, actors, etc.)” I figured that most people wouldn’t be able to name more than two. It’s worse than I expected. A barista in Detroit bristles when I ask him, as though I’m mocking his ignorance. A photographer’s assistant in Boise beats herself up for being unable to summon a single [...]
"I’m becoming fluent in French so I can go to France and make French films when I’m 60.” —Is Laura Dern kidding? Serious? No idea!
French loud-talker Bernard-Henri Levy has stopped mouthing off about his friend Dominique Strauss-Kahn and how simply terrible the American system of arresting people suspected of violent crimes is, at least in part because he's away, acting as an unofficial envoy to Libya. (Poorly.) He took a boat from Malta! This prevents him from weighing in on the John Galliano case, which is soon to go before a French judge (in their bizarre system of justice!) on charges of being a racist and hating Jews. (That charge carries jail time.) Galliano's defense is to blame prescription meds and alcohol for his language. (You know who else [...]
We talk quite a lot of smack about France here, because we can. But one of the underlying points is that, in our terrible American high school educations, we're taught that there are countries "like" ours (France, England, Italy and maybe now Germany), countries that are less-good versions of ours (Mexico, Canada, Australia), countries that are disasters (Russia, India) and countries that are weird and scary (Japan, Honduras, Philippines, "Africa"). And this isn't true at all, and in the actual practice, France is as "alien" in terms of operational ideas as, well… Senegal and Algeria. (Heh.) The usual history lesson here goes something like "de Tocqueville blah [...]
Last February, an iteration of the Olive Garden restaurant chain opened in Grand Forks, North Dakota. "The place is impressive," Marilyn Hagerty wrote in her curiously favorable review for the Grand Forks Herald. "The chicken Alfredo ($10.95) was warm and comforting on a cold day. The portion was generous." Hagerty's review consisted almost entirely of declarative statements of fact about the restaurant's décor, the size of its menu's portions, and practical background info intended for prospective diners. Reactions to Hagerty's subdued encomium ran the gamut of cosmopolitan condescension: from delight in her earnest sincerity to heartfelt pity.
Then in November, Pete Wells, restaurant critic for the New York [...]
"Suggestions that aliens from Sirius had imparted astronomical knowledge to the Dogon, created a modern myth and raised the tribe to cult status among UFO/ancient astronaut enthusiasts. Also, whites who rejected the African origins of mankind, could now claim their ancestors were from Sirius! As I have opined previously in this column, the whole Dogon business is hokum-perpetrated, perhaps, to help sustain the market for esoteric genre of books and film." —J.K. Obatala of Nigeria's The Guardian addresses the modern mythology of Mali's amazing Dogon people and their supposed ties to a race of fish-headed space monsters from a planetary system around Sirius B.
37. "From Overseas" (Louis IV) 36. "The Posthumous" (John I) 35. "The Lazy" (Louis V) 34. "The Young" (Louis VII) 33. "The Stammerer" (Louis II) 32. "The Fat" (Louis VI) 31. "The Bald" (Charles II) 30. "The Short" (Pepin) 29. "The Tall" (Philip V) 28. "The Simple" (Charles III) 27. "The Handsome" (Philip IV, Charles IV) x 26. "The Pious" (Louis I, Robert II) 25. "The Father of the People" (Louis XII) 24. "The Great" (Charlemagne, Louis XIV, Napoleon I) 23. "The Good" (John II)
In 2007, Rosecrans Baldwin was offered a job with an ad agency in Paris, and he and his wife made the move to France from Brooklyn. In this excerpt from Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down, his new (and very funny) memoir about the experience, he goes on a search for an apartment.
Three weeks later, I returned to Paris to find an apartment. The agency provided me with an HR representative and a real-estate agent to show me around. Extremely generous of them, I thought. We saw eleven apartments in nine hours. The agent was serious about her business. She rarely smiled, driving [...]
"French mothers can download an app which claims to tell them if their son is gay. For just one euro 99 centimes they receive a questionnaire that aims to give them pointers about their son’s sexuality." Telltale signs, according to some of the app's questions, include a love of musicals and spending a long time in the bathroom. "No app to establish whether one's daughter is a lesbian is on the market," notes RFI, but you have to imagine that will change fairly quickly.
Now that the party's over for the monsieurs of France's Parliament, as hushed-up pedophilia, routine sexual assault and general misogyny are suddenly no longer federally protected perks of the job, a vital question emerges: Will the exposure of all this Gallic turpitude make the merest difference to American society’s perpetually raging, and mostly unrequited, crush on Paris? All signs point to non.
Exhibit A: So far, the box office figures for Woody Allen’s shamelessly adoring paean to the City of Lights, Midnight in Paris, look set to make the movie Allen’s most successful yet, and critics are talking about a Best Picture Oscar nomination. Who cares [...]
In what the New York Times described as "tawdry allegations," the head of the International Monetary Fund and the possible next president of France was yanked out of first class on an Air France flight at JFK on charges that he'd raped a maid at the Sofitel in New York City.
Like most rapes, this is clearly an elaborate plot by the French Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence, the French President and possibly the CIA and/or Carla Bruni. "He must have been trapped," said the head of France's Christian Democratic Party. "He is a well-known seducer but does not have the profile of a rapist," [...]
"Research by a French academic to be delivered to the Royal Economic Society suggests that the country's citizens are 'taught' to be miserable by elements of their own culture. Claudia Senik, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, argues that her country's education system and its cultural 'mentality' make the French far less happy than their wealth and lifestyle suggest they should be."
Lately there has been a lot of confusing stuff in the news about "Mali," and also "France having a war." What is going on? Didn't France lose the war in North Africa, maybe in the 1950s? Also, Vietnam, remember that whole deleted scene from Apocalypse Now, the way the French colonials ate their food, while Vietnamese were getting killed by Robert Duvall? Is he French? And where is this Mali, anyway?
We don't want you to have to go around feeling like an idiot all the time, so here's the information you need to deal with any offhand references to "the French war in Mali," in case you know [...]
"The French are known to like their beef, and they also like their wine. In the southern village of Lunel-Viel, in the Hérault department in southern France, some farmers have taken the next step and are feeding wine to their beef cattle on the principle that if French beef tastes good now, it can only improve with a bottle of Saint-Geniès des Mourgues."
"Julien Berckmans, a real estate agent at Brussels-based Best Home Consult, took five calls from French citizens seeking to buy property in the Belgian capital after Hollande defeated President Nicolas Sarkozy on May 6." —Rich people allegedly fleeing France in advance of regime change.
"Nicolas Sarkozy is pressing for success in Libya by coalition forces to be achieved in time for him to declare 'victory' on Bastille Day in Paris." —Good luck with that.
You've pretty much perp-walked yourself down a dark alley of the theoretical if you have to include the disclaimer "I, of course, consider rape and attempted rape as crimes," Bernard Henri-Levy. Oh do you? That's great.
But do keep reading his bizarre thoughts. Because after he mistakes New York tabloid front pages for "public opinion" (sure, he's foreign, it's confusing here) then he talks about "a kind of class justice in reverse." Ooh, the ugly spectre of reverse classism! It's incredible that this is France's most famous thinker—he can barely think his way through a 900-word Daily Beast blog post.