Love and Hate in the Time of Valentine
LILY IN LOVE
With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, we had a fun and frivolous discussion yesterday at Après Midi thanks to Lily Heise, our guest speaker, Canadian author, travel blogger and romantic expert on the topic of “The Trials, Tribulations and Joys of Cross-Cultural Relationships.” It turns out that Lily got herself into so many crazy situations with would-be lovers that she ended up writing not one, but two books on her escapades and cultural crossing mishaps (Je T’Aime, Me Neither and Je T’Aime…Maybe?).
One story she related about a Spaniard she met at a salsa club who invited her to dinner “chez lui,” was particularly poignant. When she arrived, he had nothing there to eat or drink but himself (!!). That had us thinking that maybe dating in Paris was more challenging than we might guess! Lily is clearly one of those people who exudes a kind of openness and willing to experience life, which is perhaps the main reason she finds herself in so many compromising positions…as I jokingly remarked during her talk that in all my years in Paris, nothing like that has ever happened to me! Ha!
Lily’s big smile is certainly inviting, and we all enjoyed it (along with her tales of romance in the City of Light) as much as the myriads of men who have chased her. Read more about Lily, her books and the afternoon gathering by visiting our Après Midi page. Happy Valentine’s Day!
LE CARNAVAL A NICE AND THE FETE DU CITRON IN MENTON
By Friday afternoon I’ll be saying hello to the sunshine on the Riviera and the colors of Carnaval à Nice. Weather.com says it’s destined for sun, sun and more sun with temperatures in the low 60s°F in the afternoons. By comparison, Paris will be partly cloudy with temperatures in the low 50s°F. As a rule of thumb, the difference between the cities is that Nice is normally about 10 degrees warmer and a whole lot sunnier.
That means when I pack my bag, I’ll be leaving at home the heavy wool coats, the heavy lined gloves as well as the wooly berets and scarves. It also means packing colored clothing instead of the traditional Paris Black, since the color black worn in Nice is more for people in mourning rather than those wanting to look chic. Leave the chic at home because the word has an entirely different definition in Nice.
The annual “Nice Carnaval” starts Saturday and runs through March 2nd. The theme this year is “Roi du Cinéma” (The King of Cinema). Among the stars of the 7ème Art, the “carnavaliers” (carnival creators) were keen to make fun of politics. Three floats representing Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron will parade. Donald Trump’s head is three meters high and “represents an evil clown straight out of a horror movie.” (Don’t blame me! The phrase is a translation from an article in France 3!) Seven months of thought and nearly 1,000 hours of work were invested to recreate what they call, the “unpredictable billionaire.” Emmanuel Macron and his government will be presented proudly on a float of “Super Zeros,” a pun on “Super Heroes!” The French do love to make fun of their leaders! (See the article on France 3)
Stay tuned for all the action! Next week in the Parler Nice Nouvellettre®, you’ll be hearing much more about Nice Carnaval and the annual Fête du Citron in Menton that I plan to visit on Sunday.
THE RISE OF ANTISEMITISM IN FRANCE
It’s all over the news, so it’s tough to deny — and that’s exactly what the French authorities ARE NOT DOING: denying it. Antisemitism activity in France has seen a sharp increase — 74 percent this past year alone (from 311 to 541 incidents). While it might not seem like a big deal, to chop down a tree, it was a special tree planted in memory of a young Jewish man who was tortured to death as long ago as 2006. Swastikas are popping up on Paris postboxes that contain portraits of Simone Veil a Holocaust survivor, and the word “Juden” was sprayed on a bagelry window on the Ile Saint-Louis.
The authorities have not taken it lightly. The French administration is deeply ashamed, as they should be. France is Europe’s largest Jewish population and members of the community have held and many still do hold illustrious posts. Among the Jewish politicians, are Léon Blum, Prime Minister and Jack Lang, Minister of Culture and Minister of Education. There are six French Jewish Nobel prize winners, a long list of artists such as Chaim Soutine and Camille Pissarro, too many actors to count (Anouk Aimée, Sarah Bernhardt, Serge Gainsbourg, to name only a few), writers and poets, musicians, sportsmen, businessmen, etc., etc., etc., adorn the exhaustive list of French Jews who have made serious contributions to France and the entire world. No, the French authorities are not taking these anti-semitic acts without serious consideration of what is creating such hatred.
It’s an interesting question: Why do people hate Jews? Just Google it and you’ll find thousands of articles. Kabbalah.info has explored it, citing that there are over a billion anti-semites in the world, that 17 anti-semitic acts happen daily and that one out of three people actually believe the Holocaust didn’t happen. That’s just as bad, if not much worse, than thinking climate change is just a big hoax when there’s enough evidence to confirm any and all suspicion.
Without Jews, our world be missing a lot: cures for cancer, hepatitis or AIDS, the structure of DNA, oral contraceptive pills, quantum physics (Albert Einstein), the first Big Bang Theory, psychology and psychoanalysis (Sigmund Freud), plastic surgery and rhinoplasty, heart transplants, the gasoline fueled car, the match, calculators, ballpoint pens, color and instant photography, the phonograph or record players, shopping carts, condoms, nuclear power, radar, the first reactors for NASA rockets, wireless telecommunications (Hedy Lamarr), remote control, lasers, LED technology, videotape, video games, USB memory, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, PayPal, Dell, Levi’s jeans Mercedes-Benz, Max Factor, Estée Lauder, Revlon, Starbucks, Sears, Macy’s…do I need to go on? Does the world really want to live without these contributions?
There are lots of theories as well as concrete answers for why Jews have above average IQ’s and are more successful in their fields than their non-Jewish counterparts…but that’s not the point, nor the discussion. The real question is why is antisemitism rising? And how can it be stopped? I doubt the French will actually find any real answers, considering this has been going on for thousands of years: ancient antisemitism, which was primarily ethnic in nature; Christian antisemitism, which was religious; and now the racial antisemitism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
We shouldn’t have to like it or condone it, and we certainly shouldn’t have to live with it. Some people will say that what we can do as individuals is reject it: shun, denounce, boycott, snub, etc., etc., etc., anyone or anything that exhibits any form of antisemitic behavior. But, that only fuels the fire of hate. I think we have to show real compassion for those who carry the pain of such hatred. Hatred is a kind of cancer that can only be cured by love. Somehow we have to go straight to their hearts.
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(Photo by Erica Simone)
P.S. GET READY FOR “THE MARAIS, WITH ME” — A LIVE PODCAST WITH OLIVER GEE AND THE EARFUL TOWER ON VALENTINE’S DAY. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be doing a live video “Walk Show” with podcaster Oliver Gee from The Earful Tower. We are going to be walking through the Marais and maybe even exploring an early 17th-century apartment right in the center of it all. Watch us live on YouTube at 4 p.m. Paris time on February 14th. You can also see it at any time after that via this link