February 27, 2009


France Is Back: With Sarkozy in power, it's good to say ''I'm from Paris'' again. (Felix Marquardt, 02.27.09, Forbes)

As a kid in the early '80s, traveling to and from the French capital, I remember the irrepressible sense of pride I felt about living in one of the world's great cities. Paris was important. The often envious looks I saw on our foreign hosts' faces as they bid us farewell on our way to "Pa-ree!" at the end of holidays made it obvious my family and I were lucky to call it home.

It was just as clear something had changed when I returned in 1998 after my studies. There was suddenly something quite peripheral, indeed almost provincial about the city. By 2001, the gap between the urgent, planetary debate the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 attacks had spawned, and the parochial, indeed sadly introverted conversations they led to in France was demoralizing.

Paris just wasn't "where the world was at" anymore. Worse, in the years that followed, I was surprised to see that the growing unpopularity of the U.S. was almost (never quite) matched by the impatience I saw in many of my foreign interlocutors' eyes when I referred to anything French.

Once again, it's good to say, "I'm from Paris." The country's current leader has given France a sharper, more responsible image.

...after 8 years of being told that George Bush's America should be embarrassed because the French didn't like us it turns out they were just bathing in self-loathing? But now they're okay because they elected a guy who nakedly modeled himself--it being Paris--after Bush/Blair? And the Brights wonder why Americans don't listen to them....

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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 27, 2009 5:03 PM
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