I stopped French kissing. (Coronavirus alert!)

About 40 US deaths so far. The French have double that with 1/5 the population. My skeptical fiber is on full. Still I am washing my hands. When I run out of rubbing alcohol, I will use cheap brandy – of which I have plenty, of course. Oh, I almost forgot: I have decided to … Continue reading I stopped French kissing. (Coronavirus alert!)

Poverty Under Democratic Socialism — Part I: the French Case

I saw a televised investigation by the pretty good French TV show, “Envoyé spécial” about current French poverty. It brought the viewer into the lives of six people. They included a retired married couple. The four others were of various ages. They lived in different parts of mainland France. All sounded French born to me. … Continue reading Poverty Under Democratic Socialism — Part I: the French Case

The French Have It Better?

As I keep saying, facts matter. Facts matter more than ideological consistency if you want to know. That’s why I keep comparing us with the other society I know well, France. I am up-to-date on it, a task facilitated by the fact that I read a major French newspaper online every day, by the fact that … Continue reading The French Have It Better?

French Africa

This is a meandering essay; although it’s about history, it’s a bit personalized, for effect. In other words, it’s far from straightforwardly scholarly history but I think it’s all or mostly true. Be patient, at one point it will become about the former French African colonial empire and socio-cultural strata it deposited in France, and … Continue reading French Africa

French Expatriates and Foreign Francophiles

First, a definition: an expatriate is someone who lives outside the country of his birth on a more or less permanent basis. I am dealing here with French expatriates specifically, a fairly rare breed in relation to the size of the French population, rarer than English and American expatriates, for example. The French expatriates often … Continue reading French Expatriates and Foreign Francophiles

Ultra-libéralisme – A French Tale

I am in frequent correspondence with a French retired businessman in his sixties. He is a thoughtful man with minimum formal education but who reads two newspapers a day and watches French news on television several times a day. My informal judgment (as a retired teacher) is that he possesses intelligence well above average. His … Continue reading Ultra-libéralisme – A French Tale

The Republican Proposal on Illegal Immigrants and, the French Are Coming

I am responding to a Republican radio and TV ad about illegal immigration. It’s presented as the Republican counter-proposal or response to Pres. Obama demand for “comprehensive immigration legislation.” It displays involuntarily some of the main fallacies Republicans commonly entertain in connection with illegal immigration and other topics. It demonstrates disturbing collective ignorance in my … Continue reading The Republican Proposal on Illegal Immigrants and, the French Are Coming

French Musings on Veterans’ Day

France was one of the least ill-treated countries in Nazi occupied Europe for reasons that are mostly too shameful to recall. In August 1944, in my mother’s arms, I saw one of the first, large contingents of American troops enter Paris. Their presence put an end to the slow process of starvation of most French … Continue reading French Musings on Veterans’ Day

The French Presidentials and Cinco de Mayo

I have been busy producing a legible and clean copy of my memoirs: “I Used to Be French….” It’s an endless process. By the way, if you are an agent, don’t be shy about asking to read this remarkable and witty document. While my back was turned, the world continued to turn. The French lost … Continue reading The French Presidentials and Cinco de Mayo

Things You Need to Know About Germany, About French Culture

If you know this blog at all, you will not be surprised to learn that I am an expert in French culture, a merciless one. As luck would have it, I am also an expert in Europe in general and in Germany in particular. That’s because the media one uses to follow French affairs unfailingly … Continue reading Things You Need to Know About Germany, About French Culture

French Movies, Sex, and the Welfare State

It’s hard to fully grasp white if you have never seen black, or green if you don’t know red or orange. And the understanding of water a fish carries in its tiny brain is probably not so great. (That’s except for flying fishes, of course. They exist; they are amazing.) The same is true for cultures … Continue reading French Movies, Sex, and the Welfare State

Awareness of Racism and Singing to the Choir

In the past few months, I have been exposed to more works by African Americans and to more documents about the black condition in America than usual. So far, I haven’t learned anything really new, perhaps because I am a sociologist by trade with an interest in slavery going back fifty years. All the same, … Continue reading Awareness of Racism and Singing to the Choir

My Pick-Up Truck and the Quality of Global Warming Reports

The struggle against climate change is making fast policy progress in the civilized world. It’s got to the point where I can foresee the authorities confiscating my good Toyota pick-up truck that has given me good service for eight years and continues to act just right. In California, they make no mystery of their intent … Continue reading My Pick-Up Truck and the Quality of Global Warming Reports