15 May 2011
What is it with France and culture? Financial austerity everywhere, but don't touch our culture, say the French. At last night's Eurovision song contest, William Hill's had French entrant M. Vasilie at odds-on to win. At last, an entrant who could actually sing, competing against pop dross all around. Of course, he lost. And then there's the ongoing Cannes film festival, where Woody Allen proposed his own 'idealised' version of Paris. What chutzpah - making a film full of touristy cliches, employing the French first lady and telling the French in France how Paris should be. Of course, what all this proves is that it's not the individual merit of each entry that's important, it's political correctness that counts. If you belong to a national culture where supporting your neighbouring country is paramount, then forget quality - la politique essentielle is the thing. Secular France may not espouse public religion, but la cultur embodying national affiliations - now that's very different. Bring back De Gaulle, that's what I say.