Editorial

Sarkozy’s “Republicans” May Redefine Fundamental Notions

  Lille – Since former French President Nicolas Sarkozy returned to politics last fall and took back control of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) as party chairman, he has worked to build the party into what it once was: the perfect machine to conquer the seated power. After reorganizing the party’s structure, Sarkozy decided last month to take the next step in this reconstruction by changing the party’s name. Out with the UMP.[Read More…]

40th French Academy Awards (Les Césars) Crowns Timbuktu and Young Talent

  For many viewers, the French Academy Awards, or Les Césars, is pure torture. To understand Les Césars, first imagine the Oscars. Then remove the extravagant musical numbers performed by world-class entertainers. Forget the 40 second time limit on speeches enforced by the orchestra. Remove the commercials, which otherwise temper an excruciatingly long ceremony. (Friday’s ceremony clocked in at just over four hours by my count.) Now insert a host or performer desperately attempting to[Read More…]

What Is Wrong with Paris: How Public Transportation Divides the City of Lights

  PARIS – I am what Parisians call a “provincial.” This derogatory term comes from the days of the monarchy when France was divided between a royal capital and provinces ruled as fiefdoms by noble families. Though the French have done away with the king, they have yet to discard the notion that Paris is the center of the universe. Some Parisians still believe it is the only city in the country worth interest. Paris[Read More…]

The Wake of Tragedy: Considering Charlie Hebdo Weeks Later

  PARIS — It is always hard to write in the midst of dramatic events. In the days following the attack on Charlie Hebdo, it felt impossible to report on the tragic attack or the ensuing manhunt for gunmen Chérif and Saïd Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly. Though I did not feel particularly affected by the attack, I found myself engrossed in the manhunt. As events unfolded across live news feeds, relentless images and details threatened[Read More…]

The Freedom to Be Funny: Reflecting on France’s Tradition of Satire

In a 2012 Le Monde interview the late publishing director of Charlie Hebdo, Stéphane Charbonnier said these now iconic words: “I would rather die standing up than live on my knees.” (In fact the quote originates with Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.) In the same article, another of the magazine’s cartoonists injured in the attack, Riss (a pen name), said, “We do not want to be afraid, but to laugh, to take life lightly.” Riss, who[Read More…]