Archive for May 2007
These strips are week 2 of my strips about France, which is TOO BEAUTIFUL. It is so easy to walk around France and believe eerything is perfect. Everyone seems to enjoy their middle class life style. Lunches are casual, slow. Mornings and evenings are less harried than you would see in American cities. Coffee is something you stop to have. You enjoy your meals, you enjoy your rituals (France seems to be mostly rituals…)
But the suburbs riot every once in a whlie. Who sees that? It’s hard to find a bad neighborhood, or even much disparity in Paris proper, or any of the cities. Who knows what goes on in these bad suburbs?
Walking around Paris in my cloud, happy to participate in the rituals, happy to believe everything is ok… Is it? Is it ever? How can you balance it out?
Best way to not think about it? Better to take the advice of my grandfather about avoiding hangovers: stay drunk.
These strips represent the first exploring my time in France.
Leela and I recently spent almost three weeks just exploring France, and yes, that means mostly eating. We spent time in Bordeaux where we exchanged apartments with the unbelievably kind and cool Corbeyran family, then Tours where Christopher Longe and Nadia Sahmi were far too gracious for our and lastly Paris where one of Leela’s friends lined us up an apartment.
Look: France is awesome. The middle class life there is unbelievably gracious (did I use that word before?) They have a solid, direct and painless relationship with food and time, something that stresses out most Americans. The political/societal systems (again for the middle class) are incredibly humane. I would be bawling my eyes out from pure love if I lived there and were offered their way of living, their lack of stress, whether about health care or job, or time or whatever.
I’m concerned these first strips come across as a bit condescending, and perhaps they are. I mostly wanted to explore the themes that the French are facing in the their recent, very urgent, very hotly debated election. Obviously, to do this, I need to compare and contrast to the models that me and my audience are familiar with, and when that happens, yes there comes across a sort of “you don’t know how good you’ve got it” attitude, (an attitude I deplore but can’t escape.)
Anyway,this week’s strips are about the election, which is over and you should be able to read about in any newspaper. Thursday’s strip is almost stolen directly from a real incident. Nobody ever uttered the words in Tuesday’s. Friday’s is a pipe dream, but I bet with the right alignment of stars, somehow in this very cultured forgiving society, somhow possible.