--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "shempmcgurk"
> --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, TurquoiseB <no_reply@>
> wrote:
> > --- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "shempmcgurk"
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > I just read the following interview about biased media
> > > and anti-semitism in France.
> > >
> > > Do you think this is accurate?
> >
> > I think the guy's a nut case with an agenda.
> What about:
> 1) all those riots you guys had recently; and
> 2) that comment by I think it was Sharron (before he had
> his stroke) that France was no longer safe for Jews?
> Does that give the article any credibility?  I've never
> been to France so I have no clue myself...

I find France less bigoted than America, and
far more willing to talk about its prejudices.

The interesting issue with regard to both the
United States' version of bigotry and attach-
ment to beliefs and "the way things have always
been done and said," as far as I'm concerned,
is going to be starting today. The film of the
Da Vinci Code opens today at Cannes and nation-

I expect this film to create an *enormous*
furor, both in France and in America. Partly
because it introduces into the mainstream some
radical ideas of Jesus and Christianity, but
more importantly, because its subject matter
is really the biggest social issue of our
times -- the treatment of and characterization
of women, by society and by religion.

Here in France, I'm already starting to see
articles appear that condemn the film (which,
of course, none of the writers have seen) on
religious grounds. I don't find that surprising,
in a still predominantly-Catholic country. What's
so surprising is the condemnation of what the
French call 'esoterisme' -- esoteric knowledge
or non-mainstream thinking. There was a strong
bout of this kind of article about the book
itself, and its surprising success among French
readers. The mainstream press was trying to
portray anyone who believed in "silly" non-
mainstream spirituality as somehow damaged or
mentally deficient. It was the classic back-
lash of centuries of identification with
rational thought placed in a head-to-head con-
frontation with more occult or non-mainstream
spiritual thought.

And the result was clear -- the more that the
conservative element of French society tried to
badrap Dan Brown and his book, the more copies
of the book got sold, and the more interest
grew in such subjects here.

Already in the US (judging from Internet press
clippings this morning) there is a similar back-
lash among the Christian fundamentalists, who
*really* don't want their cherished notions of
Christ and of how women should be regarded and
treated challenged. I read about calls to ban
the film and sue the producers. I hear no such
language here. I'm pretty sure that the French
are going to argue this film up one side and
down the other, but they'll allow it to be
shown. It'll give them something to argue about
over coffee in their cafes. :-)

I really can't speak about French society as a
whole, Shemp. I don't read the French press any
more religiously than I do the US press; I read
just enough to stay informed about what's hap-
pening in the world, and reserve the rest of my
time for enjoying that world. My subjective
impression is that the French are *less* prone
to bigotry and hatred than the Americans. You
would *never*, for example, find a French person
meeting an American on the street and assuming
that he or she represents what the majority of
people in America think and believe. They seem
to be able to differentiate between America the
nation run right now by madmen, and America the
nation full of potentially good human beings
who love life as much as they do, and who are
all individuals. When they encounter one of them
on the street, they react to and interface with
the latter, the individual.

But if you're really interested in the differences
between the two countries, I would suggest that
you watch the furor over the film of the Da Vinci
Code, and what is said and done about the film in
both places. I would suggest that that scenario
is going to be really interesting indeed, and a
great lesson for all of us who have spent a
large portion of our lives involved with
non-mainstream spirituality.

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