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    Wednesday, October 1, 2008

    The French gaze across the Atlantic

    Steven Erlanger of the New York Times tries to decipher the French perception of the American Presidential elections. Hilarity ensues.

    "From the French perspective, Americans are reckless optimists, incurably blind to the tragedy of life, to the weary convolutions of history and thus to the need for lengthy August vacations and financial regulations. While the French see themselves as the heirs of urban revolutionaries, with a strong distaste for politicized religion, the American revolutionary spirit seems to them these days to come like a hurricane from the uncosmopolitan right — from the dry, dull flatlands of Texas ranch country or the emptiness of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Wyoming, and now from the odd sunset communities of Arizona and the bizarre bars, churches and hockey rinks of Alaska."


    He quotes Bernard-Henri Lévy of the Le Point who says of Barack Obama:

    “Obama is, certainly, black, but not black like Jesse Jackson
    ; not black like Al Sharpton; not black like the blacks born in Alabama or in Tennessee and who, when they appear, bring out in Americans the memories of slavery, lynchings and the Ku Klux Klan — no; a black from Africa; a black descending not from a slave but from a Kenyan; a black who, consequently, has the incomparable merit of not reminding middle America of the shameful pages of its history.”

    Well, Lévy has to be French to get away with that.

    Memo from Paris- Steven Erlanger [New York Times- 09/20/2008]

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