Don't believe France's reputation as a country where sexual peccadillos are always overlooked. After a vote by the country's National Assembly on Wednesday, it has just joined a growing group of European nations where buying sex is now illegal. France is not alone in its fresh efforts to curb prostitution. The move follows similar bans in Sweden and Norway, while other European countries are also scaling back laissez-faire prostitution policies. Germany is poised to change its liberal sex trade laws, while Ireland is also debating a measure similar to France's. Is the end of legal prostitution in Europe in sight?
(Don't miss the deep and interesting links found within the article.) [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Dec 8, 2013 -
World War I in Color
is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Oct 31, 2013 -
"[Peer Steinbrück, the chancellor-candidate] is a good man, with quite a bold programme for ‘social justice’.
Tax increases for the better-off, a proper minimum wage, dual citizenship for immigrants, less elbowing individualism and more solidarity in a society where das Wir entscheidet – ‘it’s the we that counts.’ The German public, surprisingly, mostly agree that increasing taxes is a sound idea. What they resent is that the idea comes from the SPD. In the same way, the Augsburg programme is widely thought to make sense, but the voters don’t fancy Peer Steinbrück. They are pissed off with Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, but reluctant to let go of Mutti’s hand. In short, the public are in one of those sullen, unreasonable moods which make politicians despair." The LRB reports from Germany. [via
posted by rollick
on May 31, 2013 -
In 1891 author and lecturer ”Max O’Rell
” (being the pen name of one Léon Paul Blouet) published an amusing account of his travels through the States and Eastern Canada - "A Frenchman In America
" - that, along with the charming illustrations, reflect on then popular national stereotypes and character and is presented on Project Gutenberg in its entirely. (via
posted by The Whelk
on Jul 7, 2012 -
Evan Osnos joins a tour group from China as they traverse Europe. In the front row of the bus, Li stood facing the group with a microphone in hand, a posture he would retain for most of our waking hours in the days ahead. In the life of a Chinese tourist, guides play an especially prominent role—translator, raconteur, and field marshal—and Li projected a calm, seasoned air. He often referred to himself in the third person—Guide Li—and he prided himself on efficiency. “Everyone, our watches should be synchronized,” he said. “It is now 7:16 P.M.” He implored us to be five minutes early for every departure. “We flew all the way here,” he said. “Let’s make the most of it.” [more inside]
posted by WalterMitty
on Jul 28, 2011 -
Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt,"
told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Nov 23, 2010 -
In 1957, the year of the Treaty of Rome
, founding the European Economic Community and setting the aim of an "ever closer union", the national railway companies of West Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and Holland (later joined by Belgium and Spain) launched the Trans Europ Express
, a joint network of first-class-only international trains for business travellers. [more inside]
posted by Skeptic
on Oct 10, 2010 -
On the cusp of DEVO's first tour of Europe since 1990
, it's become clear that, though largely cast aside after their 1980 hit "Whip It", DEVO's influence is finally being felt on modern audiences, around the world. DEVO has inspired tribute bands, some traditional
, some not
. They've also spawned new bands, domestic
[MySpace link], and Foreign like Japan's POLYSICS
[YouTube], and Germany's Mutate Now
[YouTube]. With musical inspiration like this, can't we forgive such missteps as Devo 2.0
posted by SansPoint
on Jun 15, 2007 -
Everybody knows that gangsta rap promotes sexism, homophobia... and fascism. Take Bushido
, for instance - the Berlin rapper of Tunisian descent that all the neo-Nazis love. Confused
Well, so are the Germans
. And then we're not even talking about Fler
, whose "This is black-red-gold, hard and proud!"
nationalist lyrics never fail to piss off the German papers (in German)
, and who likes to pose in his videos with a nice symbolic eagle. (Then again, Helmut Kohl didn't mind
Still, Fler's flag-waving, eagle-loving rhymes are no match for Bushido's "Salute, stand to attention, I am the leader like 'A'"
. The A stands for Adolf, you know.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Jan 12, 2006 -
Europe's oldest known civilization discovered.
Archaeologists have discovered an ancient civilization of temple builders that existed in central Europe between 4800BC and 4600BC -- over 2000 years before Egypt. They constructed over 150 geometrically, astronomically, and spiritually aligned temples
(translated) out of earth and wood, that had diameters of up to a half a mile
. They were built by a people who lived in villages centered around communal longhouses of up to 150 feet in length. Their civilization raised large herds of animals, gathered grain with primitive sickles, made tools out of of stone, bone, and wood, manufactured pottery decorated with geometric designs
(.pdf), and created small clay figurines of humans
and animals. Only one male figurine has been found so far
(.pdf) -- the rest have been of women with large breasts -- fertility symbols -- which suggests a fertility-based spirituality, and possibly a matriarchal society.
posted by insomnia_lj
on Jun 11, 2005 -
On the Great Atlantic Divide
Published on Sunday, October 26, 2003 by TomDispatch.com. By Susan Sontag.
I came across this piece at dailyKos
"Two weeks ago during the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Association of German Publishers and Booksellers awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade) to Susan Sontag. She was cited for standing up for "the dignity of free thinking" and for her role as an "intellectual ambassador" between the United States and Europe. The association's director Dieter Schormann commented, "In a world of false images and distorted truths, she defends the honor of free thought." In its over half-century of existence, the Friedenspreis Prize has been awarded to Chinua Achebe, Max Frisch, Jurgen Habermas, Yehudi Menuhin, and Vaclav Havel among many others.
An excerpt from Susan Sontag's acceptance speech was published today in the Los Angeles Times Book Review section, but I thought the whole speech, which focuses on the increasingly embattled relationship between Europe and the United States, or rather between much of Europe, especially the various peoples of Europe, and the Bush administration, was well worth reproducing as a whole. Near its end is a rare moment in which Sontag considers an aspect of her early life in public. Her most recent book, by the way, is Regarding the Pain of Others. What follows then, with her kind permission, is her full acceptance speech. (The title and subheads are, however, mine.) Tom "
posted by Postroad
on Jan 5, 2005 -
Why Does This News Make Me Uneasy?
As a Jew whose sister is married to a German and who has happily visited Germany four or five times, the news that Jews are flocking back to Germany should leave me in the best of moods. But it doesn't. Antisemitism is flourishing almost everywhere in Middle Europe - specially in France
and even Britain
- often under the guise of Anti-Zionism
. Even my synagogue in peaceful Lisbon is today protected by stringent security measures. Is this just an unwillingness to depart from old stereotypes or does it find an echo in other cautious Jews? Specially with Germans. I feel simultaneously ashamed and wary. Someone tell me - and a lot of others - I am wrong. Please. History may not repeat itself - but it sure as hell seems to inspires itself
sometimes. And we're all better off, I think, if we confront our demons. If they are demons, that is.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Jun 7, 2003 -
?? If you've been suspecting that old territorial squabbles never go away, you're probably right.
posted by gimonca
on Jun 9, 2002 -