François Hollande calls emergency meeting after WikiLeaks claims US spied on three French presidents. [more inside]
David Lebovitz visits the Le Creuset factory in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France.
French magician and juggler Antoine Terrieux created a series of remarkably self-sustaining sculptures using different arrangements of hair dryers, and has also incorporated them in funny ways in his stage performance. He also plays with a diabolo in ways that seem to defy gravity. [via]
The wetsuitman. Last winter two bodies were found in Norway and the Netherlands. They were wearing identical wetsuits. The police in three countries were involved in the case, but never managed to identify them. This is the story of who they were.
In Europe, Fake Jobs Can Have Real Benefits (SLNYT)
The concept of virtual companies, also known as practice firms, traces its roots to Germany after World War II, when large numbers of people needed to reorient their skills. Intended to supplement vocational training, the centers emerged in earnest across Europe in the 1950s and spread rapidly in the last two decades.
While the status of Obama's "American College Promise" initiative that proposes two free years of community college for "everybody who's willing to work for it" (announced back in January) is far from certain, The Washington Post identified seven countries -- Germany, Finland, France, Sweden, Norway, Slovenia, and Brazil -- where Americans can study at universities, in English, for free (or almost free), and BBC's News Magazine recently detailed how this works in Germany, both from the side of a new student from outside of Germany, and what Germany gets out of the situation. But if you want to stay in the US, TIME identifies 25 colleges where you can get a tuition for free (with a number of caveats, of course).
Cooking In The Archives: recreating recipes from the Early Modern Peroid (1600s-1800s) in a modern kitchen. Not old enough? Then try some authentically medieval recipes.
"When you imagine France and its scenic countryside, you might think of the picturesque villages, vineyards a plenty and endless rolling green hills to drive through on a blissful summer road trip. But there’s one corner of this scenic country that no one has been allowed to enter for nearly a century, known as the 'Zone Rouge'."
Flâner is a series by Cecile Emeke (nyt) about blackness in France: episode 1; episode 2; episode 3.
Fashion to Die For: "Fast fashion might seem like a modern invention, but in the turbulent world of 18th-century France, when Marie Antoinette was calling the shots, fashion moved at light speed." Dr. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, art historian specializing in fashion and textiles, gives a delightfully rich interview to Collectors Weekly. Through the prism of fashion, she touches on class fluidity and lack thereof, gender roles, textile trades, guilds, self-expression – all elements that rapidly metamorphosized at the end of the Ancien Régime and inexorably led to the French Revolution and its Reign of Terror. [more inside]
"D’Eon exploited this remarkable situation to transition to womanhood, getting both the English and French governments to declare that 'Monsieur d’Eon is a woman.' The press closely followed these announcements and, starting in 1777, d’Eon lived her life legally recognized as a woman. In Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman, d’Eon is held up as one of the most remarkable women of her century." Transgender celebrities are not new. Just read London newspapers from 1770, The Guardian
The next king of Westeros gets governing advice from the (real, not a joke) French governement in order to build a "stronger, fairer kingdom". House France's sigil is a rooster. The text is in French so here's a quick & dirty summary: 1) Less centralization and a more efficient territorial organization 2) Less tournaments and feasts and a responsible Master of Coin 3) A well-deserved and early retirement plan for the hard-working brothers of the Night's Watch 4) A fairer justice with no death penalty or trial by combat 5) No more youngster without education 6) Winter is coming! Let's build shelters for the poorest. [more inside]
For the past three weeks, listeners to France's seven public radio stations have heard little other than music - even on news and speech stations such as France Info and France Inter. The longest strike in the history of Radio France is showing no sign of coming to an end, with both sides becoming more entrenched. [more inside]
France divides the fashion world by banning skinny models France has sent shock waves through the global fashion industry by passing a surprise law making it a criminal offence to employ dangerously skinny women on the catwalk. [more inside]
With all the upheaval in the skies and on the ground, here is one person's opinion on why the U.S. is fighting beside Iran in Iraq and against it in Yemen. Putin tells Iran that an immediate ceasefire is needed in Yemen. All the while...negotiators from six world powers (the P5+1) are attempting to strike a deal with Iran to restrict its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief. As Iran nuclear talks 'enter endgame' in Switzerland...China and Russia say they will show up tomorrow. Keeping things cloaked in intrigue: the US accuses Israel of spying on nuclear talks with Iran and Putin says Western spies plot against Russia before polls, blurs the picture further.
“When a kid tells you he’s not ‘Charlie’, he’s not saying ‘I’ll kill everybody in two months time’, he’s trying to say something in his own vocabulary, in the space where he is at. We have to stop looking at this with adult eyes”, says Truong.Valeria Costa-Kostritsky looks at the challenges teachers and pupils face in France, a month after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
Who would poison the vines of La Romanée-Conti, the tiny, centuries-old vineyard that produces what most agree is Burgundy’s ﬁnest, rarest, and most expensive wine? [more inside]
The University of Glasgow's French Emblems project hosts thousands of 16th century woodcuts and etchings. The archive boasts an unusually thorough metadata scheme, allowing you to browse cryptic images of beards, birds in cages, pointed fingers, triumphal conquerors, and fabulous animals, among many other categories. [more inside]
The Galula Doctrine: An Interview with Galula's Biographer A.A. Cohen, who wrote Galula: The Life And Writings of the French Officer Who Defined Counterinsurgency, and an excerpt. [more inside]
A French institute has collected a series of rarely seen videos on the 1979 Iranian revolution, among other things on almost any topic. [more inside]
Yini Bo by French band / collective Le Peuple de l'Herbe (SLYT)
The French left wing satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (currently blank, Wikipedia entry) was attacked by extremists this afternoon. At least 12 people were killed. Among those killed are the cartoonists Wolinski, Cabu, Charb and Tignous. Previously: the firebomb attack on Charlie Hebdo in 2011.
If you built a $7,000 pool table big enough to walk around on and replaced the balls with soccer balls, you'd be playing Snookball. The sport was invented by two French entrepreneurs and there are 10 tables in that country so far. "We know this game will be popular when beer is involved," one told Sport Bible.
Incorruptible Teeth, or, the French Smile Revolution
In 1787, Madame Vigée-Lebrun, painter to France’s royal and aristocratic elite, displayed a canvas at the Paris Salon. It was a self-portrait depicting the artist in an affectionate embrace with her daughter. Vigée-Lebrun is smiling—a sweet, broad smile revealing white teeth. There is little about this pose that seems in any way exceptional, yet exception was furiously taken. “An affectation which artists, art-lovers and persons of taste have been united in condemning,” wrote an anonymous commentator, “and which finds no precedent amongst the Ancients, is that in smiling she shows her teeth. This affectation is particularly out of place in a mother.”How the smile came to Paris (briefly), aka Grin City. [more inside]
Writing is a strange and solitary activity. There are dispiriting times when you start working on the first few pages of a novel. Every day, you have the feeling you are on the wrong track. This creates a strong urge to go back and follow a different path. It is important not to give in to this urge, but to keep going. It is a little like driving a car at night, in winter, on ice, with zero visibility. You have no choice, you cannot go into reverse, you must keep going forward while telling yourself that all will be well when the road becomes more stable and the fog lifts.—From Patrick Modiano's lecture when receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature [Original French, Swedish and video] which is about cities, old telephone directories but mostly about writing, how to do it and what it's like.
The school in Auckland with a radical 'no rules' policy (12:00; 2014) [via] has a little in common with the school in Framingham with a radical 'no curriculum' policy (9:13; 2009) [previously], which has a little in common with the self-directed IT school in Paris for ages 18 to 30 (2:13; 2014), which takes some inspiration from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (excerpt, 12:24; 1981).
Hyper.net's Best UFO Resources
This is a reference Website. It offers a collection of hand-picked UFO resources: real UFO pictures (see the "summary" and "technical overview" pages), video documentaries, video footage and testimonies, technical data and over 500 links to scientific studies, books, portals, newsfeeds, blogs and forums about UFOs. In short, by combining info from many diverse sources, our goal is to share a selection of valuable, representative (in a some cases unique UFO info and original research), as concisely as possible and offer some possible answers. Also provide a "starting point" for in-depth info and gems of real value in a labyrinth of (often false) information published on the fascinating subject of UFOs.The site also includes links to other organizations around the world, though the site hasn't yet added France's official, full-time state-run UFO department, GEIPAN (Group d'Etudes et d'Informations Sur Les Phenomenes Aerospatiaux Non Identifies; translation: Study Group and Information on Non-Identified Aerospace Phenomenon, covered previously). See also: Disclosure Project's UFO files, a list of official government comments and UFO archives released by various countries.
Neil Gaiman: Why Disney's Sleeping Beauty doesn't work (Gaby Wood for The Guardian):
"I feel like some kind of alchemist," Gaiman suggests. "I have to go to the cupboard and take one ounce of Snow White and two ounces of Sleeping Beauty, and heat the Sleeping Beauty and froth the Snow White and mix them together: it's kind of like fusion cuisine. It tastes like both of them but it's actually a new dish."
Are fairy tales back in fashion? Certainly, the recent success of Disney's films Frozen and Maleficent seems to point to something. But most of the fairy tales we know have come to us via 17th century France or 19th century Germany, and have since been subject to so many retellings and rebellions that trends are difficult to map.
But in addition, and to make the dub look as realistic as possible, she must also identify every instance of a character uttering a word with an m, p, or b in it in English, and find a word in French with the same consonant. And the replacement word has to fit into that sentence in exactly the same spot as where the American actor’s mouth makes the m, p, or b face. And you think your job is tedious! What It Takes to Be the French Jennifer Lawrence.
In the year 1450, a pack of man-eating wolves invaded Paris. Dozen of Parisians died, until the people lured the wolves into the Île de la Cité and stoned them to death. This year, a new beast was sighted prowling the suburbs of Paris. Was it a tiger? Or was it something else?
2014 Nobel Prize in Literature Goes to Patrick Modiano who is a French novelist and memoir writer. This article from 2011 is a good overview over his career and life. He was born in Italy to a Jewish father and a Belgian mother. Much of his writing deals with recent Jewish history such as in the book Dora Bruder. His detective novel Missing Person, which won the Prix Goncourt in 1978, has been called a postmodern mystery novel.
Everyday is Sunday (Tous les jours dimanche) is a series of surreal pictures taken by photographer Manolo Mylonas in the poor and tumultuous Department of Seine-Saint-Denis, where he lives (interview in French). For those who wonder about the sheep herd on a concrete ramp, they are part of an experiment in urban agriculture (in French, other pictures). There's no explanation for the horse on the balcony, but this is probably how it got there.
Close Your Heart
A long-form article from Slate about the Central African Republic’s sectarian civil war.
A long-form article from Slate about the Central African Republic’s sectarian civil war.
On this day one hundred years ago, Imperial German soldiers who had peacefully arrived in the Belgian city of Leuven (Fr: Louvain), having taken hostages and accepted the parole of its mayor on behalf of its citizens, without warning set fire to the city and massacred its inhabitants forever altering the city, its university's library, and the course of the war.
Belgian Judicial Report on the Sacking of Louvain in August 1914 The destruction and rebuilding of the Louvain Library: claim and counterclaim
In the imagination of a young Parisian named Pablo Padovani there’s a land called Moo. It’s a fantastical place that celebrates nature, the elements, romanticism and sweets [NSFW]. “I think you may like it if you like childhood, sex, dreams and surrealism,” Padovani [says]. “It’s a pornographic episode of Teletubbies mixed with Lord of the Rings.[...]The disc (Le Monde Möö by MOODOÏD) is a walk in the world Möö. This is a soft world made of cream hills and Turkish delight mountains. There are also Camembert mattresses and waterfalls of wine. This is a great, epic adventure."
The School for Postmen is a 16 minute short film from 1947 by French director and physical comedian Jacques Tati. It's being shown on The Guardian's website and is introduced by their film critic Peter Bradshaw. The film is about a postman in rural southern France trying to finish his round on time.
In the records of human conflicts, there are at least three Chicken Wars. Two left little mark on the world at large, and the third resulted in some strange work-arounds for heavy tariffs. The first was Wojna kokosza, the Chicken or Hen War of 1537, when an anti-royalist and anti-absolutist rokosz (rebellion) by the Polish nobility resulted in near-extinction of local "kokosz" (an egg laying hen), but little else. The second was an odd spin-off of the more serious War of the Quarduple Alliance that lasted from 1717 to 1720. Though most of the activity happened in Europe, there were some battles in North America. The Texas manifestation was the capture of some chickens by French forces from a Spanish mission, and a costly overreaction by Spanish religious and military men. The third Chicken War was a duel of tariffs during the Cold War, with the only lasting casualty being the availability of foreign-made light trucks in the United States. [more inside]
Featuring Jerry Lewis, Gladiator's Connie Nielsen and a score by The Avengers' Alan Silvestri, Par où t'es rentré on t'as pas vu sortir (How did you get in? We didn't see you leave) - available with subtitles on YouTube in its blurry VHS glory (poster 1 2) - is one of the two movies starred by Lewis during his one-year (1984) French career (the other is Retenez-moi ou je fais un malheur also known as the The defective detective). In the early 1980s, after several failures, a bypass surgery and nothwithstanding Scorsese's King of Comedy, Lewis tried to revive his career in the country where he was supposedly beloved: France. Alas, he chose the two worst French directors of the time, Michel Gérard and Philippe Clair, the latter known for cinematic jewels such as the Nazi-themed comedy Le Führer en folie (The crazy Führer), a Warner production that can actually make clowns cry. (all links below potentially and blurrily NSFW) [more inside]
The Battle of Bouvines was fought 800 years ago on July 27, 1214 and its outcome directly led to the Magna Carta and also to the national identities of both England and France. Some historians claim this date should be remembered after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 as one of the defining moments in English history. King John attempted to retake lands in Normandy employing an alliance army including Otto of Germany. John attacked from the south, but more importantly Otto was decisively defeated at Bouvines. Humiliated in defeat John was forced to consent to the Magna Carta, and the Anglo-Norman realm came to a final end allowing both England and France to develop their separate national identities. More background.
A three-part series looking at the history of France's black community and their long struggle for recognition. French President Francois Hollande ran on a platform promising to eliminate the word 'race' from France’s constitution. But critics were quick to point out the disparity between constitutional reform and actual practice. [more inside]
From the album of the same name recorded in Jamaica in 1979, Serge Gainsbourg smokes, samples and sings "La Marseillaise" to a loping reggae beat, leaves out some words and titles it "Aux armes, et cætera", thereby deeply offending some of his co-citoyens. I was recently discussing the Marseillaise with a French person, who linked me to Gainsbourg's version. My friend agreed that musically his country's national anthem was wonderful, but said the violence of the lyrics disgusted him. It's interesting to consider a nation's official anthem in the cultural and political setting of its birth, and then contrast with the present day. [more inside]
With the completion of the group stages, three quarters of the matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup have been played. Now, it's a straight round-by-round elimination for the remaining 16 teams in their quest to reach the final. There's been biting, alternative commentary, mood swings, (allegedly) sulky England players, exciting matches, the USA vs Ronaldo, Europeans taking early return flights, deep analysis, a fantasy league and many goals - but who will finally lift the trophy in Rio's Estádio do Maracanã on Sunday 13th July? [more inside]
Footballing History was made last night when France striker Karim Benzema scored against Honduras. Due to the position of the Honduran Goalkeeper, it was impossible to tell if the ball had crossed the line, and the goal line technology was called into action and controversially gave a goal.
Inside, please find a list of forty-three movies, TV episodes, and short subjects by Werner Herzog, all of which can be streamed, along with some short descriptions of their content. One or two of the films are in German without subtitles; this is noted in the description. [more inside]