Sunday, October 30, 2011

La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life, Part 2

Elaine Sciolino's La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life (Times Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2011) explores various seductive aspects of France and French culture, everything ranging from lingerie, perfume, wine, champagne, coffee, fashion, conversation, art and design to diplomacy -- foibles, failures and triumphs blended together like an engaging, enlightened conversation.

The tale of Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni is in there, how she inspired him to read books, among other refinements:

"You're reading?" one of Sarkozy's friends asked him in disbelief.
Sarkozy replied, "You tried for twenty years. It took Carla twenty days" (-- page 253. He was finally reading Marcel Proust, for one).

Overall, France fights the good fight to maintain its cultural strengths, despite globalization and internal structural challenges. There are perhaps 400 million or more French speakers in a world population of seven billion; outside of France and its immediate neighbors, there are significant Francophonic clusters in North and West Africa, Madagascar, the Caribbean and Quebec. Former colonial people of Middle Eastern and Vietnamese descent are sometimes tinged with French culture, as well -- I've experienced this firsthand. Let's not forget old time New Orleans and Louisiana, Creole and Cajun blended with Spanish and other cultural survivals.   

Today's Rune: Strength.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

New Orleans indeed. I meet quite a few francophiles here, and folks with a connection to French culture.