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Maria Alexander

(s)Word Slinger

Category: french stereotypes

Man Date, Paris Date

Robie and The Frenchman are on a man date at the veterinarian today. It’s the first time The Frenchman has been to the veterinarian. Ever. His brief bout with Dancy the Bunny was his only brush with pet ownership. So, off they went this morning to the vet recommended by Dr. Doolittle who is too busy for new patients. It should be enlightening for him.

The writing is still crawling and I can’t seem to speed it up. I’m up to just over 29K on the rewrite. I feel like I’m just now getting the hang of this new genre. Joy! The good news is that the people I’m freelancing for have told me I’m free to reduce my hours at will so that I can write more. Once we get past this push that ends October 1, I’m definitely going to do that.

As for 2 Days in Paris, I neglected to mention that Julie Delpy made one error in the film’s content, which is that in portraying her free-spirited, bohemian family, she inadvertently strengthens the stereotype that French people are sex fiends. I’ve got tons of references — and experience — to the contrary. There was even an article published in the New York Times* about a study comparing the sexual habits of the French and Americans. The study declared the sex habits were very similar, with French women starting sexual activity later than American women, and in general French people staying married longer.

(Dammit, someone’s got to want to publish my article, “The Other France: Sex, Guns and the Sarkozy Presidency.”)

*“On Sex: U.S. and France Speak Same Language,” 2001, New York Times.

Bill Maher, Welcome to the Real France

France has guns.

In fact, they’ve got plenty of guns. Even handguns. Compared to other European countries, they have a high rate of gun ownership.

One of the differences between France and the U.S. is that France’s gun license requires stringent training and testing in addition to a background check for both criminal records and mental health problems as well. Let it be noted that, while there have been two cases of hostage-taking in schools (only one with a gun, and that was fake), the French have never had a school shooting. As for other gun problems, when Richard Durn killed eight people with a handgun in 2002, the mass murder incited calls for greater gun restrictions. However, some viewed it as a failure in the system to keep firearms out of the hands of a person with a history of mental health problems. The French are fanatical about preserving their privacy, but they accept this invasion as necessary to save human life. With the exception of Durn, they’ve succeeded.

Finally, the House took a step yesterday in the right direction. They passed a new gun control bill that requires states to automate reporting of mental health and criminal records to a database used to check gun buyers.

Of course we need to get the states on board with how and when they report mental health issues to said database, but one step at a time. We can’t all be as orderly and sane as France and other countries about this now, can we? We first have to run the gamut of paranoia about what mental health issues and where and when, then run around in circles clutching our semi-automatics to our chests and gritting our teeth as we swear at the liberals who are tampering with our freedums before we finally settle down and accept that arming everyone so that the Virginia Tech massacre could have turned into the Quentin Tarantino Mexican Standoff Multiple Massacre Jamboree is, in fact, a bad idea.

Like I said, one step at a time. But this is a sane one and it’s working over here. Definitely a good idea we should steal. Let’s hope the Senate agrees.

Back from the Bastille

We’re back from Paris and Rouen. I left with a big basket of mixed feels. So sad to leave, but I also felt the first stirring of excitement about going home. I have much to do, as the days count down to departure. I’ve also finished my article on French stereotypes. It’s just under 4000 words and I can’t think of anyone who’d publish it now due to length. Any suggestions of top magazines who might appreciate this?

I decided to spend my last day in the cemeteries — Montparnasse and Père Lachaise. For those who don’t regularly visit my Flickr account, I’ve posted pictures of the escalating destruction of Oscar Wilde’s monument:

I can’t tell you how sad and infuriating this was. A lot of the new graffiti is in Spanish and some of it evidently done earlier this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they put up a gate around the monument so that no one can come near it. Just for comparison, check out this photo from god knows how long ago when the monument was relatively unscathed.

I also visited the grave of Maupassant and took some photos.

There are other photos of Cimitière Montparnasse, including those of a bizarre new glass bird monument that actually is much more impressive in person. The pictures I took just kind of make it look weird and somehow rob it of its incredible originality. But I also got some photos of Baudelaire’s grave, which was nice:

Although I got some good work done on the TGV, I’m glad to be home so that the run to the finish line can start. I’ve had very little of The Googles this week, so I’m afraid I’m completely behind on correspondence of any kind. I hope everyone understands!

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