Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Thinking Francophile's Tshirts

Literary Rags, an awesome company that produces apparel for bibliophiles, is currently boasting quite a library of French authors.

Of course, I'll be getting myself a Victor Hugo, but the selection spans novels, poetry, philosophy and fantasy: Proust, Rimbaud, Voltaire, Descartes, Saint-Exupéry and, somewhat depressingly, Sartre (he's also April's Shirt of the Month and is enjoying quite the discount). 

Each tee has the author's image on the front and a quote on the back.  I think it's a tie between Descartes ("The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as the greatest virtues.") and Proust ("If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.").

So, what are you waiting for?  Hurry up and get a dead French guy on your back!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bric à brac

Frenchy flotsam of the moment:

  • The Times of London has a nifty slide show on 7 ways to wear a breton shirt.  I still think I wouldn't look good in horizontal stripes. See, if you're cubist, you can get away with that.
  • In a scene straight out of classic French farce, a group of robbers tried to tunnel into a Paris bank on Easter Sunday.  They didn't succeed, but they sure did garner the admiration of Bomb Voyage in the process (and I totally just created a Wikia account for the sole purpose of editing the atrociously transcribed quote at the top of that page!).
  • Elisabeth Badinter, a French philosopher clinging to the days when French feminism meant abhorring motherhood, has written a book that is raising tempers with everyone from La Leche League to The New York Times.  I'm not quite sure what exactly riled them - was it calling motherhood a form of oppression, or calling babies tyrants?  Or maybe it was attacking breastfeeding and cloth diapering.  In any case, the mommy bloggers are not pleased.
  • In 1895 news, a French explorer is attempting to navigate the North Pole in a hot-air balloon.  Am I the only one who got mental images of Georges Seurat paintings, unicycles and World's Fairs when reading that story?  That's kind of like claiming you'll be the first female to ride the Orient Express alone.  Gasp!
  • I've been wondering lately why French yogurt companies cannot seem to market their product in the U.S. without adulterating it with a ton of artificial sweeteners.  I was eating some Dannon yogurt the other day and noticed that the label had three different sweeteners, none of which was actually sugar.  It was so sickeningly sweet, I think I'll either switch to non fat to see if it makes s difference, or go to another brand entirely.  I heard that Yoplait has introduced a Greek-style yogurt that doesn't include their usual HCFS, so I'll have to give it a try and see if it's an improvement.
  • I think I've found another alter-ego to add to the list.

Photo: Pablo Picasso, by Robert Doisneau.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A Rapper Defends Proper Speech

In reading about the French government's Francomot competition this week, I came across this gem:

"On the jury were a dozen French personalities including the rapper MC Solaar (praised as “a dextrous handler of words” by Joyandet)."

The Francomot competition is about preserving French as a homogeneous language and resisting the intrusion of words from other languages, primarily English.  Why on earth would the organization choose a rapper, of all people, to defend the language?  Yes, he's got rhyme and rhythm, but rap relies on abbreviations, mispronunciations and malapropisms to create satisfying rhymes. 

I guess this is the French version of Pres. Nixon making Elvis Presley his agent-at-large against "dangerous drugs and narcotics".

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Poisson d'avril

Happy April Fool's Day!  Do yourself a favor: check the back of your shirt before you go out in public today.