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dec 11 2007

On the Death of French culture

France is up in arms, as Time published an issue with the provocative title “The Death of French Culture”.
A discussion summarized in 5 links:

  • The article by author Don Morrison that caused all the fuzz: “… nobody takes culture more seriously than the French. They subsidize it generously; they cosset it with quotas and tax breaks. French media give it vast amounts of airtime and column inches. Even fashion magazines carry serious book reviews, and the Nov. 5 announcement of the Prix Goncourt — one of more than 900 French literary prizes — was front-page news across the country. … There is one problem. All of these mighty oaks being felled in France’s cultural forest make barely a sound in the wider world. Once admired for the dominating excellence of its writers, artists and musicians, France today is a wilting power in the global cultural marketplace.
  • Reply in The Independent by John Lichfield: “… This is one of the old, cyclical, favourites of foreign journalists, like the prevalence of dog-shit on the streets of Paris and the decline of French love-making. I wrote something similar on the collapse of French creativity when I first went to Paris 11 years ago. I was wrong, but not wholly wrong, then. Time is wrong, but not wholly wrong, now. If there is any news to report, it is the revival of French artistic creativity in many areas, ranging from architecture and pop to classical music and film. … You can argue backwards and forwards whether the subsidies are well used. The fact remains that France – unlike Italy, or Germany, or Britain – still has a cinema industry which is capable of making French thrillers, French comic films or French romances. They may be good or bad or indifferent but they are, at least, French. The British movie industry, by comparison, is largely a branch office of Hollywood.
  • Reply on the blog “Click Opera” by Imomus: “… One major problem with Time’s analysis of the French cultural scene is that it confuses “relevance” with “recognition in America”. Calling this a French problem is like telling the world it mumbles when you’re deaf. … If Time wants commercial culture, France has it. A store like Colette managed to redefine what a store could be — and there’s still nothing like it in New York. A magazine like Purple changed the face of fashion coverage forever. Time calls France “a nation whose long quest for glory has honed a fine appreciation for the art of borrowing”. If anything, the reality is the other way round: Paris is the lab, New York just copies, and sooner or later Madonna calls in a Frenchman to revive her flagging career.
  • Philosopher-writer Bernard-Henri Lévy replies in The Guardian “.The question, it seems to me, is not really whether this Time article is correct in its severe judgment on the state of French culture. My opinion is that it probably is correct, and that in fact many artists from my country are a bit provincial, a little stagnant, unbearably narcissistic and inward-looking. It is not bad to see this denounced. … the more I think about it, seems less and less a survey of France and more and more a savage reflection of the state of American culture itself. Because what really strikes one is the nervousness of the tone. It is this desire to prove too much which inevitably, as Nietzsche said, exhausts truth. It is the whiff of anxiety and, perhaps, of anguish, which emerges from this article.
  • Ancient member of the Académie Française Maurice Druon replies “.Et voilà ! Ça recommence. Tous les quatre ou cinq ans, les États-Unis sont pris d’une fièvre antifrançaise que l’un de leurs grands médias se charge de communiquer à l’univers. Assez de temps s’est écoulé depuis la crise précédente pour qu’on ait pu l’oublier. L’attaque paraît alors toute neuve. Si j’étais adolescent, je serais désespéré. Cette fois, c’est Time qui mène l’opération, ayant jugé l’affaire d’assez d’importance pour lui consacrer sa page de couverture. … Inculte Amérique ! allais-je m’écrier. Mais non. Les États-Unis comptent maints chercheurs, érudits, penseurs, créateurs qui sont du plus haut niveau. Seulement, ils n’écrivent pas dans Time.

My 5 cents: Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, Air, Les Rita Mitsouko, 37°2 le Matin, Jane Birkin, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Carla Bruni, Michel Houellebecq, Daft Punk, Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis)… I have no trouble whatsoever of making a strong top 10 of french cultural icons which have moved /excited me in the last year. Not bad for a culture in decline… I even think I would have more trouble putting together an American top 10 with the equal effect (Hollywood not quite my cup of tea, and American, English, Irish, Australian: hard to know the difference sometimes). At least the French have an idendity, not swamped by Anglo-saxon culture yet.

dec 7 2007

From ha to hahahahahah

Delicious links for December 14th 2007

  • Measure your degree of “funnyness” when you get an online reaction. There’s a world of difference between ha and hahahahah!
  • “Breaking news”, it said on the television “Firefighters to deal with not just the fire, also with people in the middle of the road ejaculating“.
    Either somebody made a giant Freudian lapsus here, OR this was an automated closed captioning that overheated.
    Unless there’s a new kind of fetish on fires that has spread in the U.S, or that ejaculating on a fire has been found to be a really good way to put it out (but why would people be doing it in the middle of the street then?).
  • Google API for charts. Might come in handy one day. To display impressive stats and trendlines about people googling for “Véronique de Kock naaktfoto’s” or something. But still handy.
  • Godwin’s law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) is an adage that states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”
    Yves Leterme, comparing the RTBf to Radio Milles Collines in his interview with Belang van Limburg today, takes this law to the realm of Belgian politics… How low can you sink??? (via Om ter Saaist).

dec 6 2007

Web 2.0 mocking, Fake torrents, Scribbles …

Delicious links for December 12th, 2007:

dec 4 2007

On streetfights and lost gloves

Delicious links for December 4th:

  • Article by Carlo Rotella in Slate Magazine about the estethics, attraction and lessons to be learnt from the “happy slapping”, girlfights, bumfights, streetfights, kidfights and other traffic incidents caught on video and posted to YouTube and the lot. With convenient links to the “best” video’s around.
  • Jennifer Gooch started in an effort to reunite dropped gloves with their mates. It’s like an online dating service for long lost gloves. I’d like a similar site for scarves (not looking for their mate, but looking for me…)
  • Not only is the number of people clicking on ads low, appears they also have the “wrong” demographic (for advertisters wanting sales that is).
  • (dee-three-oh) is a specially engineered material made with intelligent molecules. They flow with you as you move but on shock lock together to absorb the impact energy. Imagine the possibilities…

nov 19 2007

On the death of e-mail

Spotted: a lot of buzz about the bleak and/or brilliant future of e-mail lately…

My take: e-mail is a tool. And a pretty blunt one at that. If better tools come along, everybody will start moving to those pretty swiftly. But messaging from one person to the next one will obviously be around for much longer, be it by SMS, e-mail, facebook poke, twitter or Instant Messaging. It’s all the same thing, really, it’s just the form that’s evolving.
And that’s excellent: 500 years ago we did it with a pig’s bladder tied around our willy, then we invented rubber, then the pill, next we’ll be doing exclusively via webcam. But hey, it’s still birth control 😉

nov 14 2007

Ask 2 billion people for a favicon

  • Supersimple way to create a favicon for your site (the little icon that lands up in the address bar, bookmarks etc…).
  • That’s photos! A lot of zeroes, indeed… Too bad the 2 billionth image wasn’t a totally inappropriate one … The photo in question was of a tree trunk. There are now “34,057 results for photos matching tree and trunk” on flickr.
  • Nice implementation of a world poll: if you have a question for the world, formulate it, watch it go up in the queue, and watch the votes come live in on a google map. Not very scientific, but could still be useful … My question: “Which site wins the Clickx-election to “site van het jaar”, and why should anyone care?” is in it. Not.

nov 12 2007

Change the way stacks look on OS.X Leopard, and more…

okt 11 2007

Link-o-rama (3)


  • What the f***?
    “Fucking interesting” article by Steven Pinker about the shock-value of expletives at the The New Republic (via delicious)
  • What’s a crazier idea then wanting to dip into a jacuzzi on the summit of the Mont Blanc (altitude 4.807 meters)? Yet it has been done.
  • From small buildings to constructions shaped like flying saucers, you’ll be amazed at what some architects and builders have created.“: Architecture From Another Planet – 25 Incredible (Real) Abodes (via Presurfer)
  • Don’t shit on my doorstep“, “Don’t steal my food from the fridge, I spit in it” or “No parking, not 5 minutes, not 30 seconds, not at all!“, are all perfect examples of “passive-aggressive notes from roommates, neighbors, coworkers and strangers”, collected on this blog.
  • Better than CSI: An art project entitled “13 Months in the Year of the Dog“. From the author “We picked out two local news stories from newspapers in Wuhan, restaged the reported scenes, and shot large photographs of them. During this process, we brought our own imaginations and other everyday experiences such as the secondhand experiences we had obtained from films, TV and news photos into this project.


  • De Standaard doet met een aantal suggestieve vragen een gooi naar je percentage “unionisme”. Het mijne = 65% (Via Cabanier).

mei 4 2007

Link-o-rama (2)

Quote of the month: “Twitter … is the latest evidence of the Paris Hiltoning of America. Twitter is always on, always looked at, and at a 140 character limit, doesn’t have the capacity to be either deep or meaningful.” (from the article “Twitter Nation, nobody cares what you’re doing“)

Wakoopa, might be an interesting way to discover interesting software. The principle: you share information about the programs running on your computer every 15 minutes.

WEBoggle, a version of the word-finding game Boggle that has been very well ported to the net. Just enter a nick and join a 4×4 or 5×5 game. The words are instantly checked on the grid and against a dictionary and after the game you get a neat overview of the words that you (or everybody else) missed.

Eat this, Koen Fillet … The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei, spiritual athletes redefine the term “ultrarunner.” artikel in Trail Runner Magazine

Must … read … up … on microformats. Must … read … up … on microformats.

dec 18 2006

Me … bows

Thank you. THANK YOU. THANK YOU!!! Yippee. Oh my… Well… sigh… Oh my. Thank you. I hadn’t prepared my speech, you know. But here I am. Only a month and a half ago that I started this here blog thingie. But here I am. Thank you!

Hitler, Ayatollah Khomeiny, Kennedy, me. What do they have in common? Time’s person of the year, all of them, including me, the winner of 2006.

Who would’ve believed that? I’m gonna tell my teachers from high school .. Yes I am … they thought I was no good, worth crap’ola … But I’ve beaten them to it. Victory is m.i.n.e! So long suckers & sayonara!, that’s what I have to say to them.

See you next year, because I’m only getting better at being me, year by year. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

On a more sober note: It’s quite alright for a magazine to be linkwhoring and stuff to gain back some of its lost importance & influence. But naming “You” the person of the year is definitely lame, and the equivalent of the boxing coach throwing the towel in the ring. Why not go choosing a person who really made a mark on this year?

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