Saturday, June 08, 2002

DISGRACE

Très instructif, cet article de ProcheOrient.info sur l'enragé antisémite qu'est devenu le comique Dieudonné. On verra au passage comme l'ONU se décrédibilise chaque jour un peu plus.

"Les juifs ne sont pas les seuls à faire les frais de la "libre pensée" de Dieudonné. Fin mars 2000, il déclarait dans une interview à "France Soir" que les blancs et les catholiques sont des "esclavagistes" et des "racistes" et que l'Église catholique "cautionnait l'argent, le racisme, la différence et la guerre", demandant la démission du Pape. (...) La même année, Dieudonné a reçu de l'ONU le titre honorifique d' "Homme de bonne volonté dans sa lutte contre le racisme"."

Formidable.

Friday, June 07, 2002

GO CAPTAIN EURO!

The European Union has a superhero! His name is Captain Euro and the world will learn to fear him...or not. Well, at least it beats having José Bové representing you.
THOSE FRENCH...

Diane E. e-mailed me this disturbing piece on the picture that Gallimard chose for the cover of the French edition of Saul Bellow's latest book, Ravelstein:

"In Ravelstein, Saul Bellow depicts the title character of his latest novel, Abe Ravelstein, as a larger-than-life bon vivant, a man with a "bald powerful head" and "finely made hands." The publishers of the French edition of Mr. Bellow’s book have envisioned a much different Ravelstein on the cover, however, and at least one person close to the author says the image smacks of anti-Semitism.

The American cover of Ravelstein depicts a photograph of an espresso-stained demitasse and a half-full glass of water at the Café de Flore, a haunt of Ravelstein, who was closely modeled on Mr. Bellow’s late friend and colleague, Allan Bloom. Most international editions of the novel reproduced that image.

But when Gallimard published the Gallic edition of Ravelstein, the book’s cover featured a photograph of a decrepit, large-nosed, large-eared, shriveled and slight old man with his hair combed up into two horn-like tufts. The image doesn’t fit the description of Abe Ravelstein, Allan Bloom or even Chick, the character that serves as Mr. Bellow’s surrogate in the novel. Rather, it’s a picture that shares many qualities with traditional French and German caricatures of Jews from the 30’s and 40’s—which, naturally, does not sit well with those close to the dean of American Jewish fiction.

Though Mr. Bellow did not return calls, his biographer, James Atlas, called the Gallimard cover "quite astonishing". (...) Noting that the image looked nothing like Mr. Bellow’s description of Ravelstein or even the real Allan Bloom, he said: "It’s an anxious, furtive face—the face of a Jew in France. "On the other hand, it figures, French intellectuals harbor anti-Semitism in the guise of radical politics. The cover is an example of the subliminal, unconscious anti-Semitism of the French."


I think we should not read too much into that and accuse Gallimard of anti-semitism. What they are guilty of, however, is exhibiting the same old carefree tendency that makes people here think that (political) correctness is a bourgeois attitude that has no place in a civilized, superior world like the publishing industry. They probably figured it was a funny picture and nobody could be offended by it, since as everyone knows, there is no antisemitism in France! The problem is we take things like that too lightly, in that quirky French way thats leads people to think that nothing is too sacred to be laughed about, no association too ambiguous to make. The French love to challenge the status-quo, the correctness, not to make a point but rather to show how clever and inventive they are. If anyone is offended by that, it must be because they are too sensitive, too shallow. To hell with responsabilty, 'esprit' is what matters!

Thursday, June 06, 2002

THE HORROR

I just watched the Danny Pearl murder video. I'm at a loss for words to describe how I feel. And that was right after watching this Channel Four piece (translated for French TV) showing scenes from inside North Korea. A country where kids are picking up grain in the mud to feed themselves and people are forced to buy human remains at the market because the State retains all the humanitarian aid that's shipped in. What a world.

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?

Did the Israeli embassy in Paris ever burn down or was it just a dream of mine? Apparently I'm not the only one to remember that it did happen: humorist Larry Miller wonders in The Weekly Standard why the media has bought the "accident" explanation and immediatly buried the story. I know I have not heard a single thing about it since May 24th, the day after the embassy was leveled by a raging fire, probably caused by a fuse short-circuit. Are we supposed to just move on and forget it ever happened?

"But it was just an accident. A short circuit. At two in the morning. Just a few hours after that great Jewish sage, Woody Allen, was in Cannes in front of the French press insisting he has never seen or heard of any anti-Semitism in France. Yup, just a short circuit with no investigation. Well, why look into something when no one can even imagine a stray reason to think it was anything else? Let's see, you're in France, these days, and a building burns down in the middle of the night. Hmm . . . Was it the Louvre? No . . . Was it the palace at Versailles? No . . . Was it Disneyland? No . . . Was it the big, concrete building full of Jews? Bingo! Just an electrical problem, though. (And the head electrician, Mohammed Jihad, agrees completely.)"