Photo of the Week

ParisUpdate-ParisNight

The view from the Théâtre de l"Odéon at dusk. Photo: Françoise Deberdt-Meunier

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Left Bank gallery crawl
> Open house at 50 galleries for Art Saint Germain des Prés. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Gold in galleries

ParisUpdate-CarreRiveGauche-Passage AH 0

“Passage” ((2017), by Aude Herlédan. At 1831 Art Gallery during Carré Rive Gauche.

> The Carré Rive Gauche, an association of Left Bank galleries, celebrates its 40th anniversary with an event called ExtrORdinaire, featuring gold in works of art. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Literary evening
> The Nuit de la Littérature in Belleville and Ménilmontant presents 20 foreign authors reading their work in French. Various venues, Paris, May 27.

 English-language theater festival
> Paris Fringe returns for its second year of English-language theater and comedy. Various venues, Paris, May 18-28.

Hollywood glam
> Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich and more in classic films from Hollywood's Golden Age for the Glamour cycle. Forum des Images, Paris, May 3-31.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Etienne Comar’s Django, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, May 26.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

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Hot Topics - C'est ironique !

 

Politics in France: Raising the Bar on Ridiculous Rhetoric

A Better Foothold on
His Mouth than Reality...

Paris Update D-Day Landing

The D-Day landing. It seems like only yesterday. Or maybe last week sometime.

I don’t follow politics as closely as I should, either in France or in the United States. The main reason for this is that I am a civically irresponsible sludgebag. A secondary and much nicer-sounding reason is that I am a political nonbeliever – I don’t believe that any single human brain can comprehend all the questions involved in a huge, complex socioeconomic system, let alone come up with the answers.

So I see all politicians as being pretty much equal – equally opportunistic, equally hypocritical and equally clueless about how to solve society’s problems. But I do get a chortle out of it when they say something that’s actionably stupid.

The most famous examples from the United States in recent years both involve vice presidents: Dan Quayle on a visit to Latin America saying that he wished he had studied Latin harder in school and Al Gore saying that he “invented the Internet.” Both of these incidents also have something else in common: although widely believed to be factual, neither of them actually happened.

But the most chortleworthy recent example from France really did take place: at a rally in Nice on January 22, the New Center Party’s presidential candidate, former Defense Minister Hervé Morin, made the following statement:

“As someone who saw the Allied landing in Normandy, I can tell you that we have lived through much more difficult hardships than those we are experiencing today.”

Logical enough. Or would be, except for one eentsy-weentsy little detail: Morin was born in 1961.

Was he lying? Dreaming? Hallucinating?

My guess is that he was just myopic: he lost his place on the teleprompter and skipped a part right after the word “Normandy.” But what was he supposed to have said? There are so many possible explanations, I have decided to make this...

A C’est Ironique Top Ten:

Where or how did Hervé Morin mean to say that he saw the Normandy landing?

10

On YouTube.

9

Re-enacted in 1994.

8

In a diorama on a class trip to the Musée de l’Armée when I was 12.

7

As an allegory for how hard I’ll have to fight in order to actually get elected.

6

After nodding off during one of Sarkozy’s cabinet briefings.

5

After my eighth Ricard last night.

4

In a Mont Saint Michel snow globe.

3

From outer space after being abducted by aliens whose faster-than-light spaceship had this really powerful telescope so I could look back at Earth and see past events taking place.

2

In my previous incarnation as Winston Churchill.

1

In the scorch pattern on a toasted baguette.

Since I, too, am a baby boomer, I feel qualified to offer the following statement in response to Mr. Morin:

As someone who saw Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, I can tell you that if you remember the 1940s you weren’t there.

Note for readers who would like to do their own reality check on my translation of Morin’s statement:

The actual French quote was reported in the press with some variation in the wording. Here is one version: “Moi qui ai vu le débarquement des Alliés en Normandie, nous avons vécu des épreuves drôlement plus difficiles que celles que nous avons à vivre aujourd’hui.”

Note for readers who would like to know if I really saw Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock:

Oh yes. In exactly the same way that Hervé Morin saw D-Day.

David Jaggard

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