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Royale with Cheese & Le Big Mac

July 26, 2007

Are what the French call a Quarter Pounder and a Big Mac. You can also buy a beer in McDonalds in Paris. And the French like their french fries drowned in mayonnaise. You know all this if you have seen Pulp Fiction.

Of course, everyone likes to diss the French. Including the French.

Here’s an interesting article on newly elected Prez Nicky Sarkozy by none other than one of France’s greatest living philosophers, Bernard-Henri Levy.

BHL discusses the newly-released Sarkozy autobiography and the general penchant French politicians have towards writing books.

Is it the link between the pen and the sword, between politics and literature, which has been particularly close ever since the Encyclopedists and the French Revolution?

It’s truly a French specialty. I do not know a ranking French politician who has not considered at one time or another writing and publishing a book, one with ideological and often even literary ambitions, as an essential rite of passage in his or her career

BHL goes on to explain why he did not vote for Sarkozy. Despite the fact that if you read his autobiography you will think he’s a really swell guy.

I will look at the positions he took on these three questions and conclude that when he said that the Vichy government was not an integral participant in genocide, when he thundered that France should not be embarrassed by its “civilizing” work in Algeria, and when he vowed that if elected he would “liquidate the heritage of May 1968,” which for 40 years has been a secret wound, a torment, sometimes the nightmare of the most radical reactionary right wing of this country, Nicolas Sarkozy cut himself off from men like me.

BHL also calls out the extent of Sarkozy’s conservatism:

He also explains, and here he is convincing, how the ideas of “racism” and “xenophobia” are intolerable for him, the son of immigrants, and that he also believes in a France that has become many-sided and rich in “diversity.” But then he slips up, betraying the definitive conservative that he really is, when he sees in the mini-riots of 2005 only foolish, nihilist outbursts of violence, deserving the strict intervention of the police, where only the hopelessly idiotic intellectual conformism of what he calls “uniform thinking” still glimpses the shadow of a “ ‘social’ protest.”

Here’s a interesting tidbit about BHL. His first famous book, which I am yearing to read, is entitled Bangla-Desh, Nationalisme dans la revolution (Bangladesh, Nationalism in the Revolution), published in 1973. He was in Bangladesh during 1971.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2007 11:48 am

    Better late than never. Good for you that you discovered that this Frenchman was in BD in ’71. 🙂

  2. Sajid permalink
    July 26, 2007 1:01 pm

    Haha. I knew Levi was in Dhaka, but didn’t know of the book.

    Sorry, Muhamad. Have you read it?

  3. Sajid permalink
    July 26, 2007 1:02 pm

    Also. Curious which you liked more, Ibn Warraq’s or Levi’s.

  4. July 26, 2007 10:23 pm

    I’m curious as to why BHL did not delve a bit deeper into the 2005 riots reaction and how his “scum” epithet for the rioters tie in with his search for diversity/multiculturalism.

    Looking for the book right now at my local library.

  5. Sajid permalink
    July 27, 2007 6:07 am

    The real question is why anyone would drip fries in Mayo. I guess its like eating potato salad.

  6. Sajia Kabir permalink
    July 28, 2007 12:11 am

    Hey Sajid, were you a student in Scholastica in the early 90s? I used to go there before I transferred to Mastermind in 1997.

  7. Sajid permalink
    July 28, 2007 4:28 am

    Indeed. :}

  8. July 28, 2007 5:19 am

    While the French are known to do weird things and I’m known for supporting irrational French stereotypes, believe it or not, I prefer mayo over ketchup! But best is Lebanese garlic fries in garlic sauce… nothing beats that.

  9. Sajid permalink
    July 28, 2007 12:31 pm

    When you come to New York next, AsifY, you’ll have to find me these Lebanse garlic fries. Edgeware Road in London was one of my fav hangouts, and after countless meals at Beirut Express, I still haven’t tasted these Lebanese garlic fries.


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