Did France do the right thing in voting against the European Constitution?
I don’t make the news, I just report it.
Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read the New York Times.
Pushed to the end of her patience by a string of good-for-nothing French goys, Maitresse realizes all she really wants is a nice Jewish boy, dons a long denim skirt and New Balance sneakers, and moves back to the Upper West Side to find her Prince Charming at B’nai Jeshurun.
Wait a minute– that was just the introduction to the opposite sketches!
Sorry J-boys. She’s not coming home just yet. To keep you busy while you wait for the Messiah, who is sure to put in an appearance before the above ever happens, you might jump over to Nextbook’s compilation of the Ten Greatest Television Bar Mitzvahs. Shalom!
Baxter is wagging his tail while he sleeps. Now that is one happy puppy. He’s conked out on his pillow, and his tail is tapping the floor behind him.
It kind of reminds me of John Candy in "Spaceballs" ["I'm a Mog! Half man, half dog. I'm my own best friend"], when his tail lifts up some chick’s skirt and he shrugs and explains that it has a life of its own. Not that Bax is lifting up any skirts. Just that, well, he doesn’t seem to be controlling the tail right now.
A couple of months back I was grousing about the cult of ignorance that Aaron Karo promotes. While scrolling through his lastest email newsletter, I came across the following particularly damning evidence:
"Speaking of which, did you know there was huge election in Britain a few weeks ago? Yeah, me neither. How about that."
Ok, I just took a deep breath so that I can try to be clear about why this bothers me. I’m sure some of you did not realize that Tony Blair was up for reelection recently. I don’t fault you for this. I only knew because I’m something of an information junkie. Of course there are many things going on around the world that I am completely unaware of. But the possibility of regime change in the UK was not something that escaped my attention.
The way Karo puts it, though, is simultaneously an admittance of and a perverse pride in his own ignorance. Kind of like when pretty girls act dumb so boys won’t be threatened by them. You know, like when Jessie would pretend not to know the answer to a question in class so that Slater wouldn’t think she was a know-it-all.
Ok, that was a lame SBTB reference because I don’t even know if that ever happened. But you know what I mean.
So Karo, by pointing out that something major happened that he (and, I venture to say, 99% of his readership) was completely unaware of, legitimated a state of ignorance about the world, compensating for the smidgen of guilt he experienced by bragging about his lack of awareness. It’s pretending to be self-deprecation but really it’s the exact opposite.
Boys and girls: it is not ok to not read the newspaper. It. Is. Not. Ok. You Must inform yourself of what is happening in the world. It is your duty as a citizen to be aware of what your leaders are doing in your name. It is your duty as a human being to be aware of what is happening to people you don’t know. Reading the Sunday Styles section is not enough. Read the main section. Read the Metro section. Make the New York Times website your homepage at work so you can just scroll the headlines to know when important things are happening–even if you don’t read the whole article.
Don’t be dumb like Aaron Karo. Aspire to more than he allows you.
That said, this might be a good place to mention that I think I’ve been reading too many avant-garde manifestos.
I am going to New York in June because my little sister just graduated from Penn and we have to mad celebrate. But it’s also a fab opportuniy to see all the people I miss, go hunt through my little sister’s closet to retrieve any summer clothes I might have left behind, round up all the books I’ve been missing, shop at Club Monaco and Banana, and chow the hell down on some good American food.
I have turned into such a flaming Americann in the last couple of weeks. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s a reaction, like hives, to the overwhelming Frenchness of my boyfriend, my roommate, their associates, my classmates, my director, and my subject of study. I’ve certainly never felt as American in France as I have lately. So I am absolutely counting the days til my plane touches down at JFK and I exit the airport into the sweaty humid New York taxi-filled night.
Things I plan to consume while in the States:
Dunkin donuts coffee.
Macaroni and Cheese
Anything my mom makes for me.
Entenman’s chocolate chip cookies
Did I mention I will be having some pizza. And I might even hit Taco Bell, if I forget myself.
So ok. The point of this blog is, America, I salute you. And anyone reading this who lives in Paris, get thee hence to Breakfast in America, 17, rue des Ecoles, 5e (Supertramp reference or crazy coincidence?). I had a most enjoyable brunch there today with L and H. I had pancakes, bacon, and eggs, and washed it down with three cups of bottomless American coffee. Just what I needed before spending the rest of the day in the library.
The homesickness momentarily seeped into my brain (or maybe it was the surplus of oxygen in the smoke-free diner) and even made me excited to see some cute American boys there. They were so cute, and healthy looking in a way the French just aren’t… I guess you might call them "corn-fed." Clean cut, non-smoking, not wearing scarves or making pretzels out of their legs. Real Live American Boys! It was even more amazing than later in the afternoon, when we saw a kangaroo hopping around the Jardin des Plantes.
And I might add that after a week of being in NY, I shall be more than ready to get back to my scarf-wearing, leg-crossing, chain-smoking, scooter-driving sexy French boyfriend, god love him.
Supernatman has more deets and goodies from the peas concert….
quick question. after the cleaning lady has been there, your house is supposed to be clean. correct?
so then why, just hours after our cleaning lady has left, does my allegedly “clean” bedroom smell like fish?
it’s such a nasty stench and I can’t trace it anywhere. Lord knows it didn’t smell like this before she got to it!
Has Jean-Pierre Raffarin’s illness caused him to experience an incurable nostalgia for the 1960s? And made him think he lives at the corner of Haight and Ashbury?
This is what I’m thinking this morning, as I begin to sift through the myriad "ouis" and "non" argued in the pages of the French media, as May 29th approaches.
For those of you who are sadly out of the loop, on May 29, France will vote whether or not to ratify the constitution of the European Union. There are two possible responses: yes and no. A couple of months ago, pollsters starting finding something that shocked and awed Chirac and got the media in a tizzy: a lot of people were planning on voting "non"! Which would suck because then they’d have to figure out why France said "no" and what measures France would need to see implemented in order to say "yes."
So everyone who’s anyone has been going to the press to announce their vote. Raffarin said that he doesn’t just want a "yes vote"– he wants a "Rainbow yes," meaning that the "yeses" will not be as monolithic as someof the "no’s" seem to fear. Rather, everyone on the "yes" side will be voting "yes" for their own reasons reflecting their own muti-colored politics.
Personally, I don’t know why anyone is surprised that the French are causing a problem. I wouldn’t expect any less than complete obstinacy. I adore France, the French in general, and many French individuals. But "non" is something I hear quite frequently here.
For example, after being enrolled in social security as a language assistant until the end of March, I’m now enrolling as a student. In order to do this, I had to give a check to the Bursar at the Sorbonne. Rather than just mail them the check, I said to myself, hey, I’m right here, let me just stop by and give it to them in person, to make sure they receive it.
"Non. We can’t accept the check without proof of your enrollment. Come back with your Certificat de Scolarité."
The next day, I climbed the 5 flights of stairs back up to their office, armed with check plus receipt of my tuition payment (the "certificat"). I handed them everything. "C’est tout?"
"Non, that’s not everything. We need to take your student ID card. You can have it back tomorrow." I leave my card and return the next day to pick it up.
"Non. We are not finished with your ID card. Come back tomorrow."
I kid you not: I returned three times to pick up the ID card. Every time, either the guy I was dealing with wasn’t in and his female colleague didn’t know where he kept things like ID cards (last Friday), or neither of the two of them were working (this past Monday, Ascension Day or whatever), or the internet wasn’t working and consequently nothing had been processed (yesterday).
So finally, yesterday, when the man told me to come back tomorrow (today) I answered him: "Non. I am not coming back to your office anymore. Send it to me by mail. Goodbye forever."
Getting anything done in France requires multiple attempts. For example: today I am going for the second time to the Centre d’etudiants in the 15th arrondissement to see about my carte de séjour. Why should something as important as a Constitution be any different?
Scene : The Black Eyed Peas Concert, Tuesday night.
Pea # 1 : (to the crowd, who roar in response to each question) Alright, who all out there came with their boyfriend or girlfriend ?
Maitresse : (Thinks. Hmm. Moment of clarification with J? Sticks out tongue at him. J looks confused.)
Pea #1 : Who all out there is single ?
Maitresse : (looks askance at J, who is smiling in a vague, confused way.)
J : Qu’est-ce qu’il a dit ?
(at the same time as Pea #1 speaks)
Pea #1 : Who out there is in a fucked up relationship ?
Maitresse : Il demandait qui était ici avec leur copain ou copine—
J : (makes funny face; they kiss)
Maitresse : puis il a demandé qui est dans une relation foutue!! (makes funny face back; they kiss)
The Peas begin to play "Shut Up." Maitresse’s friends begin to comment on appropriate nature of song, and lament fact that J probably doesn’t understand lyrics.
…Or did he ? this morning, as Maitresse complains:
Maitresse: I’m tiiiiiiired, you kept me out too laaaaaaate.
J : (Gallicly )Shutup just shutup shutup
Maitresse : Oh, so you do understand some English!
J : (smiling) shut up shut up
Anyway. So the concert was fantastic. When we got there they slapped little "all-access badges" on our legs, which meant we could roam the Zenith at will, backstage and front (though sadly not onstage). The opening act, Flipside [Flipsyde?] was kickass. The Peas were in great form. Fergie was, pardon the expression, wicked awesome. The woman was belting out high notes and turning cartwheels at the same time. The other Peas were great too, breakdancing and keeping the crowd energized. Dancing, bouncing, and hand waving ensued.
After the concert, we ALL went backstage, where Pea #2 (I think his name is Will?) complimented me on my bronze t-strap heels and J on his navy blue military-style jacket (over the course of the night, each Pea would individually comment on the jacket). My cousin took me aside and informed me that I was on the list for the "phat" after party at L’Etoile, plus 3. This posed a problem because I was at the concert plus 6. One ticket obviously went to my gallant escort. The other two went to K and her sister. H and L got autographs and swiped water bottles from Fergie’s dressing room (after she had vacated it). We watched the Peas pile into Volkswagon SUVs and drive off to the party. It was fucking freezing but we were so hyped up we barely felt it as we walked to the metro and J’s scooter.
I know I sound like a gum-cracking teenager, but you guys, the after party was AMAZING. This club is so not the kind of place I would ever frequent were there not a specific reason to be there—think Lotus transplanted to Paris. But we cruised right on through all the hangers-on and straight back to the VIP room where the Peas and their friends were celebrating with pink champagne and confetti. We got very silly drunk and danced to the best of Destiny’s Child, Pink, and Snoop. K got hit on by a succession of Peas and members of their band. J got a warning from my cousin. As for my cousin, N, well, you should see this man work a crowd. There’s something for everyone to learn there.
I know I’m leaving things out, either because I was too drunk and tired to remember or because too many mommies read this blog… but suffice to to say : we were rock stars for the night, and I could definitely get used to that. It was one of those shiny nights where you love everyone and everyone loves you, you know? Yeah. You know.
ADDENDUM: I want to apologize to NN for leaving him out of my description of Tuesday night. NN rocked the house. Check out Kaitlin’s blog about the evening for a funny story concerning him…
there comes a joyful day in every writer’s life when she finds herself being cited– to herself.
now, I’ve yet to experience anything on the level of the double date in "When Harry Mat Sally" (you know, when Sally’s friend cites a magazine article that it turns out Harry’s friend, who is also on the double date, wrote himself). Nothing so cool as that.
But today, in my weekly newsletter from the European Jewish Congress, under the heading of "recent events in France" were three different articles I wrote for JTA! Of course they don’t cite my byline, just saying "According to JTA…" But still! "According to you, Maitresse, this is what happened in France this week." Well thanks! You’re officially made it a tautology for me to subscribe to your newsletter.
La di dah. I’m going to the Black Eyed Peas concert tonight ’cause my cousin the Interscope publicist is SO COOL and is getting a bunch of us in for free. Then my lovah and myself will be escorted backstage to meet the Peas! Joy!