jeudi 23 décembre 2010

France, miror of American divide?

Today is the 6th anniversary of Susan Sontag' death. Arguably she was one of the most prominent American essayist/philosopher of the 20th century. A literary figure who would rightly be labelled an “intellectuelle” in France.

The year before she died (December 23, 2004 in New-York were she was born) she was awarded the Peace Prize by the German Book Trade in Frankfurt. In a scathing speech against the former trend of the later American administration, she decried the effort to drive a wedge between America and the so-called “old Europe”. Hated by the American right for all the values she represented and would fight for, she was “une Grande Dame”.

As other distinguished Americans such as Man Ray or Jean Seberg and of course Jim Morrison, her last wish was to be buried in Paris, where one can pay a visit to her grave in the cimetière du Montparnasse. I did.

In fact, quite a number of Americans have chosen to make France their eternal resting place (*), in addition of course to the thousands of artists and writers who have felt and still feel an inescapable need to come to Paris and France in order to better their artistic and intellectual skills.

Considering the usual images associated in America to France, isn’t that a telling tale of the divide between populist politicians, mass medias and the elite in America? And doesn’t that explain why, in so many places, France is both ridiculed and secretly envied, giving a confusing and conflicting image to many Americans who don’t know how to handle this seemingly contradictory country. Hence, maybe, the stereotype of arrogance the French permanently carry with them.

(*) Did you know that Yul Brynner is buried in the churchyard of a monastery in Touraine? 

18 commentaires:

Flocon a dit…

This post is the second that I wrote at SF's 5 years ago (November 7, 2005) but it never appeared here on Shall We Talk.

I guess none of you has ever read it (save perhaps ZapPow) so I give it a seconf life.

Since I've given up this Franco-American "comparison" theme long ago, this post needs to be understood in the context of where and when it was written.

Ned Ludd a dit…

One of the foremost critics of French policy is the disgusting neo-conservative(for me, paleo-fasciste)Richard Perle, who just happens to have a residence in the south of France.

Anijo a dit…

Les derniers jours de L'Airos

Depuis ici et le 31 Decembre, on écoutait le finale broadcast de l'Airos'... :(

Anijo a dit…

In the end, there's no important divide, French/American, Male/Female, believer/non believer..

The divide is eye to eye, human to human.

Flocon a dit…


Je n'ai pas compris ce que tu as écrit. Do you mean that L'airos is about to close down?

I'm currently listening to it.

Also, as I've told you, I'm completely (to this point of ignorance it actually is completely) clueless re the history, culture, practises of Native Indians.

Any given German knows ten times more about this topic thanks to his Winnitou education.

I'm striken yet by the parallelism between the fondamental tenets of Vedism and those of the Native Indians (for what I know about them).

En fait ce n'est guère surprenant puisque toutes les civilisations sont passées par ce stade de compréhension de l'univers, de l'environnement et de la Nature.

Mais cela m'a donné l'idée d'un billet (with Nietzsche as guest star) que je m'empresse de mettre en brouillon.

Mon carnet de commandes est complet jusqu'à la fin janvier...

Merci de me donner l'occasion d'écrire sur une idée qui me trotte dans la tête depuis pas mal de temps.

Anijo a dit…

Je n'ai pas compris ce que tu as écrit. Do you mean that L'airos is about to close down?

Yes, Flocon, it's going to close down. The last broadcast will be either December 25th or the 31st, I forget which.

As to the beliefs of Native Americans, it's a bit complex because there are so many different tribes/nations with different beliefs. I can speak more about the beliefs of the Pueblo tribes. Also most Native Americans are secretive about their beliefs and customs because of bad experiences in the past.

Flocon a dit…

The reason for the closing down being of a financial nature I suppose... Maybe another radio station will replace L'Airos.

J'ai jeté un œil sur la liste! Pfff, c'est un vrai travail d'ethnologue que de s'y retrouver dans toutes ces tribus.

Cela m'a donné l'occasion de lire what Wiki has to say regarding le premier peuplement de l'Amérique et c'est dense évidemment (nothing is easy).

Anijo a dit…

Le lien ne marche pas.

Flocon a dit…

Désolé Anijo le voici.

Comme quoi il faut toujours vérifier...

Flocon a dit…


You'll notice the Clovis culture/theory named after a place in New-Mexico.

Anijo a dit…

Yes, Flocon, and the town of Clovis was named after this man

As for AIROS, there are other Native American internet stations, but AIROS was by far the best one.

Flocon a dit…

Quand j'ai donné le lien vers la théorie de Clovis named after the place in N.M, j'ai commencé à faire référence à Clovis qui est connu de tous les français, at least the name.

And then I said to myself: why should I bother Anijo with the first Catholic French king? and I deleted the paragraph.

And here we meet...

Maintenant je vais voir how the place came to be called after Clovis although I already have a suspiscion...

Anijo a dit…

And then I said to myself: why should I bother Anijo with the first Catholic French king? and I deleted the paragraph.

Flocon, t'avais pas eu la confiance dans tes pensées stream-of-consciousness.

So nice to meet you here.

How it came to be. Word of mouth has it that the daughter of an inflluential man was a francophile.

Flocon a dit…

"Flocon, t'avais pas eu la confiance dans tes pensées stream-of-consciousness."

I know you possess paranormal skills Anijo.

That's exactly what you write. And it also happened on the Jingle Bells thread about the article in the NYT when I was about to write what ZapPow wrote (Only in Christian countries do people witness apparitions, ghosts or spectres).

Je n'ai pas eu confiance dans mon flux de conscience, I feared it would be deemed... err... like... you know... err... heavy?

"Word of mouth has it that the daughter of an inflluential man was a francophile."

Who's the influential man? Santa Claus? Pope B16? Justin Bieber?

Anijo a dit…

Justin Bieber lol..

The story goes that a railroad official's daughter, who had been studying French history, suggested the town be named after an ancient Christian King of the Frankish Empire.

Flocon a dit…

My suspicion was definitively wrong then.

How could I have found this information Anijo?

Ce qui est amusant -encore les flux de conscience sans doute- c'est de retrouver Clovis au New Mexique sur un billet a priori qui ne l'attendait pas.

Mais finalement c'est bien en accord avec le thème du billet qui traite, by and large, des relations historiques entre la France et les États-Unis.

Anijo a dit…

You leave me curious. What was your suspicion?

Flocon a dit…

"What was your suspicion?"

A wrong one. Since I briefly saw the pictures of flints on the Wiki page dedicated to the Clovis culture I all mixed up everything in my head, thinking studies of ancient flints were datation technics called after Clovis.

I wasn't under influence it just that it already was midnight in Paris and I went to bed three minutes later ;-)