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Breaking: I Have No Time For Culture

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on October 28, 2014 in News & Opinion |

There are some things in this life which simply cause your chin to drop down on your chest and a thin line of spittle to run out the corner of your mouth in disbelief. A culture minister who has no time for books? I will admit that there is a great deal a culture minister has to do, but surely a good knowledge of books – especially when it comes to knowing the most prominent writers in your own country – is a must. I can understand a lack of time to go to the theater, especially if, as Fleur Pellerin admits, you’re scared to having to run the gauntlet of picket lines and striking workers – not exactly an unusual event in France – but admitting that you do not read books?

Screenshot Source: Twitter

The opening (free) paragraph of this Times article tells the average reader all they really need to know, there is no need to pay out extra money for the rest: culture is dying in France, from the top downwards. And by the top I do not mean those who produce works of art, books, events and suchlike, but those who are influential in promoting and sponsoring it; those who finance many of the public art galleries, theaters and libraries across the entire country.

For a country which is so proud of its heritage, its culture, such an admission from a minister for culture is indeed a damnation.

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5 Comments

  • Francois says:

    The last Nobel prize winner worth reading was Dario Fo and I will leave it to the curious to find out when that was.
    Mystery elucidated: governing France, and especially stopping its rapid descent into the elite club of bankrupt EU countries is about reading works of fiction and especially the absolute most boring author alive because his marshmallow is consistent with the last will and testament of the remorseful inventor of dynamite.

  • Francois says:

    Adding a fresh coat of paint:
    The real scandal here was that Ms. Pellerin, who actually has a well-furnished brain, uses it, and is a very hard worker who produces results, was moved (late August) from the junior ministry of Small Business and Economic Initiatives to the prestigious but deadly Culture. A portfolio for which she is absolutely not prepared. Why?

    She is a woman (and Korean, adopted by French parents when she was an infant), an embarrassment to the Hollande Cabinet (see “very hard worker etc. above) and an electoral liability for the Socialist Party in a country where Marine Le Pen and her FNP (a subspecies of the hyaenidae)will be kingmaker in 2017.

    Simply put: wrong gender, wrong color, let’s flush her.

    And the right-wing media obliged knowing full well that:
    1- Nobody knows or reads Modiano (his print run in English is less than 3,000… and that is his second highest. The Swedish Academy really outdid itself on this one. And in the light of winners from the past 20 years, that is no mean accomplishment).
    2- At the Minister level, the interviewee always receives a list of questions before and it is very bad manners for the media to walk away from it. Otherwise, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi can be made to admit he beats his wife.

    • I wonder, then, why The Times concentrated on this small aspect and not on other things? Perhaps they have an agenda too, but I would have expected some form of backlash from France or, at the very least, a comment or two….

      • Francois says:

        The deep friendship between the two countries?
        The Times picked it up well after the French media had their breakfast with it. A backlash from France would involve French people who read English (endangered) and the Times (extinct).

        • I would never claim that the French and English have a deep friendship, they fight against one another on all levels whenever the opportunity arises. I am surprised, though, that some of the papers didn’t pick up the Times’ comments since it is exactly the sort of thing they would enjoy playing on. Nothing like a good mudslinging match when times are hard, and news is all from very foreign parts. The fight – on the media side – between Germany and England seems to be almost constant, especially when such rags as the Bild Zeitung and the Daily Mail or the Sun get involved.

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