Other countries are great because a) they are not nations of hideous slobs, like ours, and b) they just love to try to boost their cultural profile in America by sponsoring cool events here, for their culture-makers. Support for artists, entertainment and edification for audiences, everybody wins.
Like this Festival of New French Writing thing, which the French Embassy and France’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture are holding with NYU this evening, all day tomorrow, and Saturday afternoon. The basic idea, it seems, is to put an established or emerging French writer and an American writer onstage together, and shake the stage until they fight, or else have interesting and unreplicateable conversations about literature and culture and whatnot.
I never know on posts like this how much it helps to mention the names of the writers involved — it’d take up too much space and be too boring to explain who these people are if you don’t know them already, and I never know if you know or not because who can say how big a star a writer is in someone else’s cultural firmament? Can we really ever know each other? (No. No we cannot. Just check the schedule and bios.) Well, in any case, Bernard Henri-Levy gon be there; in his honor this post is accompanied by the unbuttoned-shirtiest BHL photo I could find. There were many.
*If we were an old couple, dated for years, this’d be where you say, “They have good beer there,” and I say, “… now I know how bad American beer is.”