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Terrific essay! Humorous, informed and wonderfully irreverent. I can't resist quoting a few of my favourite lines:

France is no stranger to the precept that when theory clashes with reality, reality should gracefully bow out. Mere expedience stands no chance against the dogma of égalité. Why such attachment to an abstraction? Because the French Republic, like the American version, is universalist: to be French is, above all, to adhere to a creed. That it helps to be white and non-Muslim is not a feature of the creed but a quirk of its adherents.....

French blood has all the purity of an overflowing wine-tasting spittoon. No European country is as ethnically mixed as France....

Today, the country known to the Vatican as the "eldest daughter of the Church" counts more Jews and Muslims than any nation in Europe. Which is not to say that much worshipping goes on in the land. Churches are little more than fancy alarm clocks for village neighborhoods. ....

The government parked the new immigrants in giant housing projects, called cités, apparently confident in the integrating virtues of reinforced cement concrete. To be fair, these were the same Le Corbusier-designed monstrosities that housed the poor in the wake of World War II. Fifty years on, priding itself on having inflicted the full brunt of architectural genius on two generations of urban guinea pigs, the government is finally calling in the bulldozers.....

If all else fails, of course, one can always ask white people to stop being such racist pigs. But recent genomics research indicates that mutation from swine to angel requires more than a hectoring preacher with a wagging finger.....

Frighteningly competent and hopelessly out of touch, the chef [France's political class] suffers from advanced autism.

If you haven't already do go read Bernard Chazelle's whole text.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Sun Jan 29th, 2006 at 11:54:10 AM EST

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