Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cultural Differences

To my utter amazement, I discovered that France (!) has supermarket trashbloids!

Why is that so surprising? Isn't curiosity about our fellow man pretty much a universal thing? Not in France. There, people run well-regulated, private lives except for breaks to yank up cobblestones and assault the police or go on strike. Ah, those proud French -- they love a good strike and any slight (imagined or not) is good enough.

The French are a sharp-eyed lot that can price out your clothing from shoes to hat in a nanosecond as you walk past them at a sidewalk cafe. They themselves are impeccably dressed; not for them the casually tied sneaker or yanked on jeans.

Here, in America (land that I love) we are a great deal more casual, thus differences exist in their trashbloids and ours.

Ours tend to the puerile -- "Oooh! Jen Talked to Brad! Angie's Furious" but theirs deal with deeper matters. Some recent cover headlines from France Dimanche (Sunday in France or French Sunday, as you prefer.:)

"He died in the arms of his last lover!" about Gerard Blanc. (Editor's note: He was in a hospital bed which is not nearly as dramatic as what one might have thought...)

"January 17th, the day of his death, I opened my veins"... Mimi, widow of Carlos.

C'mon! "Opened my veins" is great. I imagined a great Roman noble, reclining in a marble bath in a crowded bathroom, surrounded by weeping friends and gloating enemies, all being served wine by winsome maidens. Much more dramatic and evocative than "I tried to kill myself." Such a flat note...

"The killer of old ladies is semi-free!" about one Jean-Thierry Mathurn.

Theirs are probably as uneliable as many of ours. "I put my Cesar (French Oscar) in the barn with my garden gnomes," said Yolande Moreau.

No self-respecting French person would own a garden gnome (barn or anywhere else) let alone admit to it. "Garden gnomes - zey are for ze British," with a haughty sneer.

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