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Stick a Pin in Sarkozy: He is Done

What we bind together and choose to fight defines our cultural values and our inherent morality and immoral choices.  When a French court ruled that voodoo dolls of French President Nicolas Sarkozy must be sold with a warning label indicating sticking pins in the toy hurts Sarkozy’s feelings, a small slice of intellectual freedom was preserved in the presumptive ridiculousness of the ruling:

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Extinguishing the 2008 Olympic Beijing Flame

The Olympic flame is trying to fire its way to Beijing, China for the 2008 games.  It seems, however, there are some people who wish to douse the symbolic fire to protest the lack of human rights in China.

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Strikes in France: A Tale of Pension Reforms

by Violaine Messager

France, home of strike? Europe is featured by strike as a frequent resort in Germany or Italy as we have seen recently. By now, the issue of retirement pension reform and the fragile and growing imbalance of the system of repartition in France makes the headlines.

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En Français, Si Vous Plâit…

There has been a lot of bashing of France and the French people, much more so in the last year or so than in recent years. While I disagree with their stance on the war in Iraq entirely and I am, understandably, distraught over the large amount of anti-Semitism that is taking place in the country, I do not feel it is right to simply dismiss the entire country and its culture.

Disclaimer
I am extraordinarily fond of being American. I write this because many times, articles which are at all in favor of any other country are somehow misread to mean that the person does not love his own country and is told, “If you love that country so much, why don’t you go and live there?” Well, I don’t want to live in any other country because I do love living in the United States.

I would also like to cite a line from the great documentary, The Sorrow and the Pity, on the subject of France and political involvement. The documentary is amazing (perhaps why it was mentioned in the classic film Annie Hall), being about the French Resistance – or, more accurately, how little resistance there was. One man who was interviewed, being of French nationality, said (I will paraphrase as I don’t recall the translation perfectly), “Generally speaking, the French are a politically apathetic people. Once in awhile, we’ll storm the Bastille, but that’s about it.”

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How Anti-Americanism in France Lacks Self-Questioning

by Violaine Messager

(Warning: This article does not aim at agreeing with one side or the other, either Bush or Chirac to extrapolate. It just aims at reflecting a French person’s feeling about the question of French-American relationships or rather the lack of debate in her country.)

Everyone heard the French Foreign Affairs Minister’s well-applauded speech during the UN session about the war on Iraq (or “against Iraq” if you prefer). I was impressed and I encountered difficulties figuring out my actual opinion about it. Indeed, I was torn between some kind of approval of the part to be played by the Old Europe and an inability to understand the American project I could not be satisfied with.

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Upside Down & Inside Out

by Nancy McDaniel

I’m at that age, “A Woman of a Certain Age” (Isn’t that what The French call middle age? Or is it semi-old age? I think we need a new term for us Boomers. Fifty-two can’t be middle age because that would mean I would live until 104. This is not likely, especially with the not-so-great genes I inherited. Besides, although I like Willard Scott quite a bit– even better when he was Ronald McDonald many years ago — I don’t like him well enough to live past 100 just to get a Smucker’s birthday salute. So if 52 is not middle age, then what is it? Certainly not golden age – what a dreadful term. Centrum calls it silver; they ask “isn’t it great to be silver?” I’d rather be platinum, I think. Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s “going platinum.” Kind of like selling a lot of records. But not actually selling them, really just being old enough to have bought a lot of them — 45s and even 78s mostly)

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