Monday, August 1, 2011

Thought for the day about foreigners...

Christopher Shea of The Wall Street Journal writing about an article in The New Yorker about a woman named Elisabeth Badinter, apparently France's most influential intellectual (All of this is behind firewalls, so you'll have to take my word for it. Sorry.) She sounds horrid. She refuses to visit the United States for two reasons: "public disapproval of smoking" and she was "attacked" at Princeton. The story of the attack, as related in the New Yorker by a participant:

Badinter was saying all sorts of banal thing about how the French were sexier than Americans, better at sex, how American women washed too much, how they were embarrassed by bodily odors, by oral sex. We asked hostile questions, like, “How can you say these things off the top of your head?” That it was traumatic for her is very odd. We were simply distressed by her talk.
As Shea, who's my hero of the day, points out in the WSJ:
“How can you say these things off the top of your head?” Whatever you say about American intellectual life—and there is much negative that can be said—it’s a non-trivial distinction that that question gets asked, of sweeping thinkers, here but not in France.


David Chute said...

I don't know. I think Badinter may have a point. Here at HG, we're all about earthiness.


David Chute said...

Also, the US would be way better off if a few more of our intellectuals were "contrarian." Everyone in the States who wants to take credit for having half a brain ends up spouting the same lame positions. Vive la difference.

Tulkinghorn said...

As somebody who has spent a great deal of time spouting extreme opinions for which I have no basis, I admire any crowd which has the nerve to respond: "You're full of shit."

Unpleasant, but there you have it.. Wouldn't make me boycott Princeton, that's for sure.