Authors Janet Hulstrand, Harriet Welty Rochefort, Mark Greenside and I are preparing for a panel discussion, “Demystifying the French” (a take-off on Janet’s recent book) that will take place on Zoom January 29th sponsored by the Federation of Alliances Françaises USA. The webinar is free and is our second one. The first one was so successful, the Federation invited us back.
We had our own panel-discussion-before-the-panel-discussion about how important it would be to discuss Season 2 of Emily in Paris (Netflix). As a result of our panel-discussion-before-the-panel-discussion, we’ve extended the session by 15 minutes, and will likely even go longer if the audience is so inclined.
The panel-discussion-before-the-panel-discussion happened because I suggested we make the American comedy-drama television series created by Darren Star the focus of our cultural debate. If you haven’t seen it, it’s set and filmed in a perfect Paris (no garbage on the streets, no masks on the faces, no scooters running people over, etc.) all about a young and gorgeous woman (played Lily Collins) who was sent to Paris to work for a French marketing firm (even though she is way too young and inexperienced for such a plum job), and her struggles experiencing culture clash after culture clash after culture clash. She and everyone she knows is dressed as if they came right out of a runway fashion show of the eccentric and extreme by a badass fashion designer—clothing that not only costs a large fortune, but one that Parisians wouldn’t be caught dead wearing. (Not real Parisians, anyway, who have no money for such frivolities and love their understated black, brown, gray, taupe, navy and khaki.)
It’s impossible to be indifferent about Emily. You either love it or hate it. The French hate it for negatively stereotyping Parisians and the French. Americans who live in Paris hate it for negatively stereotyping Americans, Parisians and the French. But starry-eyed Americans who dream of living in Paris love it for all its stylized perfection and and ability to put you in Emily‘s shoes. I became incensed when in Episode 2 she goes to Saint-Tropez by way of Villefranche-sur-Mer, and stays in a hotel in Cap Ferrat…do they think we’re really that stupid that we don’t know that her hotel is 122 kilometers away from her event in Saint-Tropez?
The panel-discussion-before-the-panel-discussion decided that the panel discussion shouldn’t be ALL about Emily, but that Emily would be impossible to ignore, so she will be included if given the time. The real focus will be on specific questions posed to each of us panelists based on who we are and what we do, plus a few general questions we will each have time to answer. There’s nothing more fun than talking about the famous culture clash between Americans and the French…because there are simply so many that none of us can even begin to make a list—the reason so many books have been written on the subject and why there is room for so many more.
In one of our panel-discussions-before-the-panel-discussion, Janet wrote “I think it’s going to be really fun, and interesting too. (Demystifying the French, Chapter 7: The Importance of Being Interesting)”
No joke. There is no way for it not to be. So be sure to mark your calendars for January 29th! I’ll be in Los Angeles when we Zoom it—an 11 day visit with my daughter and brief repose after an intense 2021 and holiday season tying up all the loose ends…but more about that later…
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Demystifying the French FREE
Saturday, January 29, 2022
10am PST/ 1am MST/12pm CST/1pm EST
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
P.S. Contemplating Immersion? Join a Discussion of the Top Immersion Programs (in English) January 15th!
Are you interested in an immersion program in France to help take your French to next level? There are lots of factors to consider when researching such programs. These include cost, schedule (how many hours per day/week), class size, the mix of students’ levels, testing for initial placement, pedagogy theory/practice, options for accommodations, convenience/options for nearby travel/sightseeing, etc. On January 15 at 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern, we will cover two of the most highly recommended programs in France. One is the Institut de Français in Villefranche-sur-Mer, where we will hear from its Director, Frédéric Latty. We’ll hear as well from Cavilam/Alliance Française Vichy, through discussion with its Managing Director, Michel Boiron. Finally, we will hear about the Alliance Française de Paris—Île de France intensive programs, from Alan Nobili, Director of Customer Services, Communication and Business Development.
TUNE IN FREE AS A GUEST OF ADRIAN LEEDS
Saturday, January 15, 2022
10am PST/11am MST/12pm CST/1pm EST
Federation of Alliances Françaises USA
Attended Alliance Francaise de Paris in 1964. As a naive 21 year old English girl who’d never been anywhere, I expected the classes to be in English/French as my grammar school classes were. Was I in for a shock. Of course it only made sense as my classmates were from all over the globe. To this day I still have my textbook. Occasionally take it out and look at it and laugh at, what are now, very old fashioned illustrations. It really was a total immersion and at the end of the class I was able to obtain a job in Paris. Also when I got to Paris I quickly realised that the French spoken in Paris bore no resemblance to what I had learned in school from my very English, teacher of French.
What a fabulous story. Thanks for sharing.