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Sic et non

De Villepin: The French riots didn't happen. Riots? What riots? There were no riots. (Jean Baudrillard: "That's right, Dominique, you're getting the idea.)
posted by jfuller on Nov 30, 2005 - 49 comments

Asterix vs President Moron

Asterix gets political. After over four decades of defending his lone holdout village from Roman attack, French children's book icon Asterix is taking on America in the latest novel. The village is besieged by an alien army whose leader is named Hubs, (a thinly veiled anagram of the U.S. President). The aliens invade seeking non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
posted by jonson on Nov 25, 2005 - 35 comments

"In the span of history, this is a not an altogether unfamiliar situation for us."

Quitting France: French Jews are leaving the country in ever-growing numbers, fleeing a wave of anti-Semitism. They are moving to Israel, the United States, and increasingly, Montreal -- where the mostly English-speaking Jewish community is preparing for its greatest demographic change in decades. An interesting if slightly anecdotal look at the situation for Jewish people in France from Canada's National Post.

Part 1 - Barricaded in Paris, Part 2 - Taking leave of 'the fear', Part 3 tomorrow deals with the impact of the influx of French Jews in Montreal.
posted by loquax on Nov 21, 2005 - 67 comments

Why Paris Is Burning

Why Paris Is Burning Officially, the French state doesn't recognize minorities, only citizens of France, all of them equal under the law. But that republican ideal has seemed especially hollow over the past week as the children of impoverished, largely Muslim immigrants from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa fought running battles with police throughout the banlieues, or suburbs, to the east and north of the French capital...
posted by Postroad on Nov 5, 2005 - 199 comments

What the hell is going on in France?

Newsfilter: Rioting continues in the suburbs of Paris. In Clichy-Sous-Bois, a predominantly (80%) North African muslim banlieu of about 28,000 people, night battles have been raging (video) between youths and the police after two muslim youths died by electrocution while they thought the police were chasing them, a charge the police denies. That was 5 nights ago. Since then, 27 people have been arrested, 3 convicted, numerous cars destroyed and property damaged, and 23 police officers wounded in street battles involving "up to several hundred" participants. The muslim community now accuses the police of firing tear gas into a mosque, and things look far from calming down. These tensions are hardly confined to Paris, however - In Lyon, 800 cars have been burned in "low level" violence this year; Across France, 9,000 police cars have been "stoned" this year, and 20-40 cars are destroyed a night (!!!), according to Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. I knew that relations between "the French" and the "Beurs" were somewhat less than pleasant, but am I the only one that was unaware that France has been in a state of low-level but direct civil and religious war for the last few years?
posted by loquax on Nov 1, 2005 - 80 comments

Segregation for the dummies

Secret information concerning the Black American Troops. We must prevent the rise of any pronounced degree of intimacy between French officers and black officers. We may be courteous and amiable with these last, but we cannot deal with them on the same plane as with the white American officers without deeply wounding the latter. In August 1918, the French liaison officer at the American Expeditionary Force Headquarters gave his fellow officers a primer in US-style racial segregation, urging the military and civil authorities to implement similar procedures on French soil, as the local populations were felt by US authorities to be much too friendly towards American Black troops (PDF, page 13) (see also the first chapter of Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light). This memorandum, however, was never distributed and other similar leaflets were eventually destroyed by the French government. One soldier of the 93rd Division wrote his mother: These French people don't bother with no color line business. They treat us so good that the only time I ever know I'm colored is when I look in the glass.
posted by elgilito on Oct 19, 2005 - 18 comments

Jeanne d'Evreux's Book of Hours

The tiny Book of Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux, Queen of France. (via)
posted by Slithy_Tove on Sep 30, 2005 - 7 comments

Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail

Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail. Best known as the drummer for 1970s punk band The Damned, Rat Scabies grew up with a father interested in the mysteries of the French town of Rennes-le-Château, which may or may not contain the Holy Grail and in the enigmatic priest Berenger Sauniere. Conspiracy theories surrounding the town first popped up in the 1970s book Holy Blood, Holy Grail and gained a certain amount of infamy in recent years from The DaVinci Code. Upon striking up a friendship with his neighbor, journalist Christopher Dawes, Scabies discovered common interests in conspiracy theories and all things paranormal and a shared hatred of the DaVinci Code. Now the pair wrote a book about their alcohol-sodden quest for the Holy Grail that asks the question: What happens when an ex-punk rocker goes looking for the Holy Grail?
posted by huskerdont on Sep 16, 2005 - 19 comments

Solutions For Grandeur

Solutions For Grandeur Nicolas Sarkozy has become the most popular French politician by diving headfirst into the country’s most explosive political issues. If he has his way, this hyperactive, pro-American, Gaullist, free marketer will transform French politics for good. via
posted by Kwantsar on Sep 9, 2005 - 18 comments

Le Bridge

Le Viaduc de Millau on the A75 between Clermont-Ferrand and Béziers in France is the world's tallest and most technologically advanced bridge. At 2,460m long and 343m tall, its multi-stayed spans are suspepended from seven pylons. It is not only an engineering marvel, but a work of art. It took 14 years of preparation, but the bridge was built in only 3 years. This film shows how it was built. Here is a live view from the webcam. Previous Metafilter discussion in August 2004 before the bridge opened in January 2005 here.
posted by three blind mice on Sep 1, 2005 - 13 comments

Choosy mothers choose Plumpy'nut

Hope for hungry children, arriving in a foil packet [NYT article], interesting article about a seemingly simple (if partial) solution to malnutrition in Niger: a peanut-butter-like mixture that avoids the problems associated with traditional treatment methods. What truly interests-and bothers me-about this article is that a French company came up with this. Is there an American company that makes products simply to alleviate world hunger?
posted by ancientgower on Aug 8, 2005 - 33 comments

I hope they burn.

"A distressing example of the breakdown of moral and social values . . ." 62 of the 66 accused were convicted and sentenced in France's largest child sex abuse case to date. From 1999 to 2002, 45 children in Angers, aged 6 months to 12 years, were prostituted by their own families in exchange for as little as a carton of cigarettes. Most of the families were monitored by social workers and reports of abuse began in 1999, but an in-depth investigation did not begin until three years later.

Each next news article reveals more horrifying details. Three children were raped by over forty adults; parents would be ". . . smoking cigarettes in the next room while men raped their children and the children were crying". And ". . . one girl was forced to perform oral sex so often that she cannot eat in the company of adults".

It can take a lifetime to recover from being raped once. A nine-year-old who's been raped by forty people, including her parents and grandfather? I pray her psychologist is better than her family's social worker.
posted by schroedinger on Aug 7, 2005 - 64 comments

Flaubert on Structural Unity

Flaubert on Structural Unity. "I’ve just read 'Pickwick' by Dickens. Do you know it? Some bits are magnificent; but what a defective structure! All English writers are like that. Walter Scott apart, they lack composition. This is intolerable for us Latins". Extracts from the letters of Flaubert (via the very awesome book coolie)
posted by matteo on Jul 29, 2005 - 12 comments

The Nation marches towards the Republic

Happy Bastille day! For all citizens of France, the storming of the Bastille symbolizes, liberty,democracy and the struggle against all forms of oppression. Also, the Declaration of the Rights of Man (which was written by Lafayette, of all people).
posted by warbaby on Jul 14, 2005 - 27 comments

Counter-terrorism by trial and error

The French experience of counter-terrorism (PDF): from the "sanctuary doctrine" to active prevention, a detailed history of how France learned counter-terrorism the hard way. Since [the French revolution] France has been on the bleeding edge of terrorism, confronting terrorism in all its guises, from bomb-throwing anarchists to transnational networks. In the last 20 years, France suffered repeated waves of terrorism of both domestic and foreign origin, each which spawned a variety of reforms to an already complex system for combating terrorism. As a result, France has developed, largely by costly trial and error, a fairly effective, although controversial system for fighting terrorism at home.
posted by elgilito on Jul 9, 2005 - 54 comments

Euro hottie

ITER goes to France. Amazing stuff happens at 100 million degrees Celsius.
posted by magullo on Jun 28, 2005 - 19 comments

NORTH AFRICAN TO PROTECT FRENCH LANGUAGE

Assia Djebar the Algerian novelist and filmmaker was elected to fill the only vacancy at the Académie Française, the august French institution that watches over the French language. Ms. Djebar, 68, is the first North African to join the 40-member academy. Most interesting in light of recent discussions here on Dutch/Muslim relations. Comments from those who've read her books or know her from her work at LSU or elsewhere would no doubt be appreciated
posted by IndigoJones on Jun 17, 2005 - 12 comments

Son of Concorde

The end of Concorde was one of the few times in modern history that technology has been forced to regress. But it won't take long to fix.
posted by Pretty_Generic on Jun 15, 2005 - 48 comments

No West

Will the notion of the "West" soon be politically meaningless? A fascinating article by Brian Walden which raises questions about the direction Europe and the wider community is heading in C21. Some of the comments are particularly interesting.
posted by tommyc on May 30, 2005 - 17 comments

Royal de Luxe Parade

The Royal de Luxe Parade in Nantes, celebrating Jules Verne from what I can gather. A staggeringly beautiful event, go see! I may weep. (via the greatwaxy.org)
posted by Scoo on May 30, 2005 - 14 comments

.

Red State/Blue state France. Les résultats département par département. Remarkable that the U.S. isn't the only country that's split down the geographic middle. No translation, but the picture speaks for itself.
posted by jfuller on May 30, 2005 - 22 comments

Non

Non (en anglais)
posted by Turtle on May 29, 2005 - 73 comments

[][][]

It's exactly one week to The Referendum. Will there be a Europe this year or won't there? The European Union was more France's project than anyone else's; if the French suddenly say Non there's going to be lots of polyglot arm-waving and excitement. The media are all a-twitter, all the European ministers are breathing heavily, Libération, in the person of Jean Baudrillard, sees state fascism approaching (but then Libération always sees fascism approaching, it's their gig.) My magic 8 ball points to Oui. Oh wait, it changed its mind, now it says "reply hazy, ask again later."
posted by jfuller on May 22, 2005 - 30 comments

For whom these vile shackles, These long-prepared irons?

Vive la Revolution. Are DVD Copy Protection technologies now illegal in France? (via techdirt).
posted by seanyboy on Apr 25, 2005 - 5 comments

La Feline

"You can fool everybody, but landie dearie me, you can't fool a cat. They seem to know who's not right". The psychoanalyst calmly explains to his patient that her idea that she is turning into a member of the cat family is a fantasy; she silences him with fang and talon.
Val Lewton made his name as a producer with the horror film Cat People, produced for RKO on a minuscule budget and directed by Jacques Tourneur. The star? French actress Simone Simon, who died today in Paris aged 93. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 23, 2005 - 6 comments

Eiffel tower repossessed

It is no longer legal to publish current photographs of the Eiffel Tower at night without permission. This copyright crap is getting out of hand. <via Kottke>
posted by spock on Feb 3, 2005 - 51 comments

Architectural blight

The stomach of Paris. Finally, after months of deliberation, Paris city hall awarded the task of reworking the site of Les Halles to French architect David Mangin: the winner has a vision of a Barcelona Ramblas-style walkway integrating Les Halles with the surrounding cityscape. Among the losers, Rem Koolhaas. The Les Halles site was first built in 1135 when King Louis VI moved the market there from the nearby Place de la Greve. The site was endowed in the 1850s with the huge metal halls for which it became famous; but in the 1970's the old market moved to the outskirts of the city. Then-mayor Jacques Chirac ordered the redevelopment of Les Halles -- it was supposed to re-emerge as a bustling tourist attraction. Instead that project gave birth to an architectural WTF? of a gigantic disaster. Unpopular and difficult to maintain to boot. (warning: the words in italic link to a French-language page)
posted by matteo on Dec 15, 2004 - 31 comments

Grand-Guignol

The Theatre du Grand-Guignol was a French theatre that was famous for one thing: bloody awful plays. The theatre produced gory plays that gauged its success by the amount of people that fainted in the audience. unfortunately due to the excessive amount of violence in their plays, they became a parody of themselves. People lost interest and the form of gore theatre was lost. until fairly recently.
posted by joelf on Dec 15, 2004 - 12 comments

les Français n'aiment pas le Publicité

SA VIGNAC. Welcome to the world of Raymond Savignac, the greatest poster artist of all time, and inventor of the little Bic man. Joyous, naughty, simple, elegant, and beautiful.
posted by Sticherbeast on Dec 7, 2004 - 4 comments

Que pensaient-ils?

French police on Sunday ended their practice of hiding plastic explosives in air passengers' luggage to train bomb-sniffing dogs after one such bag got lost, possibly ending up on a flight out of Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.
WTF were they thinking? Isn't there a better way to train the dogs without making innocent people unwittingly carry plastique?
posted by Vidiot on Dec 5, 2004 - 34 comments

Gabriel Yacoub's Boxes

Found objects as art. This French singer/songwriter collects items from the mundane to the sublime and arranges them in boxes - be sure to visit the gallery and see some of these most unusual creations.
posted by livingsanctuary on Dec 1, 2004 - 8 comments

French Massacre

French Soldiers Machine-gunning Civilians. NOTE: 100Mb video download, very graphic content. So much for the "moral high ground" of the French, as they slaughter civilians in the Ivory Coast.
posted by kablam on Nov 20, 2004 - 100 comments

Louis Feuillade, le Maître du cinéma

Detailing the impossible. Louis Feuillade made more than 800 films covering almost every contemporary genre: historical drama, comedy, realist drama, melodrama, religious films. However, he was most famous, or infamous, for his crime serials: Fantômas (1913-14), Les Vampires, Judex (1916), La Nouvelle Mission de Judex (1917), Tih-Minh (1918) and Barrabas (1919). Critics panned his crime films, often savagely, because the preoccupation of French critics and film-makers in the 1910s and 20s was to elevate cinema -– and, ironically, back then the French saw their own films as lacking the artistry and sophistication of American ones, by Griffith or DeMille – to the level of art. It was years before Feuillade's films escaped the label of aesthetic backwardness. Now, critics have realized that what Feuillade has done is to offer us an alternative cinematic mode to Griffiths', one that continues in updated variants throughout cinema. It is predicated on a principle of uncertainty, that questions our understanding of the real. It is as fluid and elusive a tradition as a cat burglar, dressed in black on a night-time rooftop.
posted by matteo on Nov 8, 2004 - 7 comments

Must France stay in Algeria

It all comes down do one question: Must France stay in Algeria? “If the answer is yes,” he says, “then you must accept the consequences.”
Gillo Pontecorvo's "The Battle of Algiers", now out on a Criterion dvd, is a film of quiet, overwhelming power. The mix of subjective and documentary techniques holds the viewer's trust so authoritatively that many scenes come close to sneaking out of the mental "movies I saw" box to mix with the viewer's own memories. No matter how complicated or fragmented the action becomes, Pontecorvo gets the pace, tone and rhythm exactly right, filling the screen with eloquent details.
(Last year, Pontecorvo's masterpiece was discussed here, too. More inside)
posted by matteo on Nov 3, 2004 - 9 comments

GayTV Debuts in France

French TV Gets Gay Channel (Guardian link, reg. req.)
From the story, "Pink TV, which launched last night, promises viewers a mixture of Wonder Woman repeats, prime-time opera and gay and lesbian porn. A daily cultural review will look at issues like tourism, health, poetry and clubbing from a gay perspective, in a style which aims to be 'more cosy than cheeky'."

So does it mean I'm gay if I watch Wonder Woman repeats?
posted by fenriq on Oct 26, 2004 - 21 comments

Color Photographs of the French Army in WW1

Color Photographs of the French Army in WW1 (via MemeFirst)
posted by pandaharma on Oct 15, 2004 - 19 comments

Derrida

Derrida's legacy, "For a justice to come." An uninterpretation.
posted by semmi on Oct 11, 2004 - 8 comments

set theory, lie groups, and functors, oh my!

In 1935, a group of French mathematicians came together and published under a single name, with the goal of overthrowing all that had come before: The Rise and Fall of N. Bourbaki.
posted by kaibutsu on Sep 26, 2004 - 6 comments

The NEW New Wave

Underground French Cinema (literally) Three days later, when the police returned accompanied by experts from the French electricity board to see where the power was coming from, the phone and electricity lines had been cut and a note was lying in the middle of the floor: "Do not," it said, "try to find us." A secret underground cinema is found in the Catacombs of Paris, "You guys have no idea what's down there." Perhaps it's the work of a group of cataphiles called the "Perforating Mexicans".
posted by biscotti on Sep 7, 2004 - 17 comments

France

Alain Finkielkraut's reflections on French Anti-Semitism.
posted by semmi on Aug 31, 2004 - 38 comments

A little lesson on the superpower of the 17th-18th centuries

And when an American mouths off about French military history, he's not just being ignorant, he's being ungrateful. The War Nerd provides a little historical perspective. [via monkeyfilter]
posted by jb on Aug 22, 2004 - 32 comments

Francesco Petrarch & Laura deNoves

Francesco Petrarch & Laura deNoves.
posted by hama7 on Jul 24, 2004 - 6 comments

Tocqueville And America

The Man Who Best Understood America Was A French Aristocrat: If there's a book which manages to grow better and more pertinent with every passing year, it's Tocqueville's fascinating, prescient and utterly apposite Democracy in America. Of how many other books could you safely say every American and European should read it and know beforehand they will enjoy it and learn from it? Of none.
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jul 2, 2004 - 21 comments

Secular government, extremist population

Secular government, extremist population? How is this going to play out? Where is America headed? Europe, France in particular, may face secular challenges because of imigration and subculture integration, but what's the excuse on the other side of the Atlantic? Is the US prepared to challenge the Middle East and Africa for the coveted Most Fundamentalist Population Prize?
posted by ewkpates on Jun 15, 2004 - 16 comments

Balance is Good

The French Pro-Nuclear Proliferation Lobby "...I have no hesitation in saying that we must consider giving the Arab side a large enough force, including a large enough nuclear force, to persuade Israel that it cannot simply do whatever it wants. That is the policy my country (France) pursued in the 1970s when it gave Iraq a nuclear force..." -- Paul-Marie Couteaux, Member of the European Parliament
posted by kablam on May 25, 2004 - 25 comments

Encyclo(pedia) seculorum?

Insecula. As the Wiki says:
Insecula: L'encyclopédie des arts et de l'architecture is a French language art website containing images and descriptions of thousands of works of art from major museums and collections in France and elsewhere, including the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, the Palace of Versailles, the Centre Pompidou, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MOMA.
But it's not just museums and art. It's got Mayan ruins, Manhattan and Brooklyn, and of course lots of Paris streets. I can't believe plep hasn't posted this already...
posted by languagehat on Apr 10, 2004 - 12 comments

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly

'Little Prince' author's plane found at last - "In France, the discovery is akin to solving the mystery of where Amelia Earhart's plane went down."
posted by soyjoy on Apr 7, 2004 - 23 comments

Paris not in Paris

Paris is not actually in Paris according to French archaeologists last month. It appears that the ancient capital of Gaul, named after the Celtic tribe Parissi, is not buried under modern-day Paris but under its unremarkable neighbor Nanterre. "It's an unprecedented attack on the French national identity and the greater glory of Paris by a group of dirty-fingernailed parvenus." Spare the dirty archaeologists and blame it on Julius Caesar who gave inaccurate descriptions of the location, returning from the grave causing fresh Parisian identity consternations.
posted by stbalbach on Mar 15, 2004 - 13 comments

Betrayed by Europe: An Expatriate’s Lament

Betrayed by Europe: An Expatriate’s Lament Journalist, novelist, and translator Nidra Poller, an American ex-pat who has been living in Paris with her family since 1972, writes in the latest issue of Commentary about her painful decision to leave her adopted homeland for the US. The main reason? Poller and her family are Jewish and scared for their lives. Her poignant essay is not just another report on the disturbing levels of anti-semitism in France or yet another French Jew abandoning the country for safer turf, but an examination of the power of hope (and inertia) in our lives, even when intellectually one sees no reason for hope: I'm being treated to a poignant lesson in European and Jewish history. The 30's: why did they stay? Why didn’t they run for their lives? Couldn’t they see what was happening? I see before me a vivid demonstration of the deep roots we dig to make our lives bloom, the intricate biology of a human life, irrigated with the lifeblood of a community, inextricably connected to a society, born of life to give life to keep life alive. Leaving is not packing up and tipping your hat goodbye. It is tearing live flesh out of a living matrix. A powerful and disturbing testimony.
posted by Asparagirl on Mar 14, 2004 - 74 comments

Bomb plot threatens rail system in France

Bomb plot threatens rail system in France Give us money ($5M) or we blow up your tracks! And the threat contained hints on where authorities could find samples. Is this the start of a new trend, will the French Gov pay, and why France?
posted by billsaysthis on Mar 3, 2004 - 22 comments

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