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Facebook and the Gilets Jaunes: Revolution in the Age of Social Media

The Parisian riots of May 1968 were hatched in the city’s cafés, just like the ones in June 1832, March 1871, and February 1934. But the "yellow vests" movement has broken away from this historical precedent. For the very first time, the uprising was born on social media before spilling out onto the street. In 1962, Marshall McLuhan published The...

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Are the “Yellow Vests” Vandals or Militants?

The sharp increase in fuel prices in recent months has sparked a protest movement in France known as the gilets jaunes or “yellow vests.” In a climate reminiscent of 1789, demonstrators and the police have clashed in Paris and other cities across France. But to what extent can we compare the two eras? On July 14, 1789, in Paris, the...

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Democracy Seen From Below: Referendums in America

Regardless of differing opinions of the United States, it is an experimental model for our possible future. This applies to culture and technology, but can the same be said for politics? The American tradition of referendums has stopped tax increases and legalized cannabis. However, whether it will one day be adopted in France remains to be seen. During his famous...[Subscriber]

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Should Marshal Pétain Be Honored?

As the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice is being celebrated, public opinion is divided on the inclusion of Pétain’s name in the list of eight French marshals honored by the Elysée Palace on Saturday 10 November. Pétain is a major historical figure, having been both the hero of the Battle of Verdun in World War I, and the collaborationist,...[Subscriber]

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Passing the Torch: America One Hundred Years Ago

November 11, 1918, marked the end of World War I and the beginning of American omnipotence — and this era continues today. What exactly do we commemorate on November 11 in France and America? There were no real winners in the Great War. The French and their allies from Britain, the United States, Belgium, Serbia and elsewhere were decimated by...[Subscriber]

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Christine Blasey Ford, Equality Leading the People

The testimony of a university professor who has brought sexual assault accusations against Donald Trump's candidate to the U.S. Supreme Court heralds a new step in the #MeToo movement. Women all over the world are now speaking out as one to tell men that “enough is enough.” Last Thursday I was on Times Square in New York where all media...[Subscriber]

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America Booms While Europe Trails Behind

Economists cannot forecast, and the current economic status in America is showing us proof of that today. No scientist ever imagined that an advanced economy such as the United States could grow by almost 4% in a year while also bringing unemployment figures below 4%. It was theoretically impossible, but the current situation proves otherwise. Inaccurate predictions could be one...[Subscriber]

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France Beats the U.S. (in Number of Ministers)

The number of French ministers surpasses that of the United States. Following the nomination of a new minister for the environment and for sports, Guy Sorman compares the ministerial appointments between our two countries. The French change governments like most people change their clothes. By contrast, the United States is more stable, even with an unpredictable president. The French state...[Subscriber]

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The Irremovable Donald Trump

Much to everyone’s surprise, the U.S. president seems set to lead the dance until the music stops. What’s more, his voters are increasingly enthusiastic and his opposition is paralyzed. Ronald Reagan earned the nickname “the Teflon President” during the 1980s because nothing seemed to affect him or hamper his popularity, despite his mistakes and a number of scandals. Is Trump...[Subscriber]

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Monsanto vs. Dewayne Johnson: Victory for the Weeds

An American gardener has just won a lawsuit against Monsanto, whom he accused of causing his cancer. But the moral of the story is not so straightforward. The world’s ecologists are popping the champagne. After a month-long trial, San Francisco gardener Dewayne Johnson has been awarded compensation of 289 million dollars from Monsanto. Johnson initially asked for 400 million dollars...[Subscriber]

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On the Usefulness of French Classes in the United States

Contrary to the statement made by the governor of Kentucky, French and math are equally important. Each subject is useful for the development of educated citizens. Matt Bevin, the Republican governor of Kentucky, sparked an outcry among Francophile Americans by declaring the state would no longer finance French studies in public universities. The governor seems to see French literature as...[Subscriber]

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The Benalla Affair, a French Watergate

French politics is suddenly resembling the situation in the U.S. Some are comparing the Benalla affair to Watergate. The ingredients may be the same, but the French version is rather watered-down. The Benalla scandal — named after the man employed by Emmanuel Macron who was fired for assaulting two students during the May Day protests in Paris — is actually a quite simple affair....[Subscriber]

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A Victory for Multicolored France

I did not let out a cry at every goal in front of my television. However, France’s soccer World Cup victory offers fascinating observations from social, political, and cultural points of view. I have to admit I am far from passionate about soccer. I barely know the rules, and even in the schoolyard I would sullenly refuse to play. However,...[Subscriber]

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The French in Our Lives

This week-end, Americans will be celebrating Bastille Day by eating crêpes and drinking wine and cheering on the French team in the World Cup final. Foreign language advocate and devoted Francophile Kathleen Stein-Smith takes a look at the influence and impact of French language and culture in the United States. It is possible sit in a café, to have a macaron...

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What Do We Celebrate on Bastille Day?

The French do not celebrate the Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day; they may not even know what it means. Americans, on the other hand, are familiar with what they call Bastille Day, an expression that, strangely, does not exist in French. This enthusiasm for the Storming of the Bastille is not shared by all French people — the Revolution,...[Subscriber]

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Trump vs. Harley-Davidson: A Wild Ride

The U.S. manufacturer’s decision to relocate its production overseas in reaction to the customs duties imposed by the European Union has enraged the American president. The Harley-Davidson that Brigitte Bardot sang about in 1967 (I don't need anybody, When I'm on my Harley-Davidson!) is still the legendary motorcycle many French people dream about. The Harley-Davidson Federation has 36 fan clubs in...[Subscriber]

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Parisian Bistros Appeal for Unesco World Heritage Status

Parisian bistro owners are looking to have their terraces granted Unesco's intangible cultural heritage status. The initiative is backed “wholeheartedly” by the city of Paris but has drawn criticism from the New York Times. The American media is quick to cover anything to do with French culture, especially when there is cause for controversy — a privilege reserved exclusively for...[Subscriber]

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A Celebration of Diversity at the French Consulate in New York

Fifty-seven people from 16 different countries became naturalized French citizens at a ceremony at the Consulate General of France in New York. Who said, and on what occasion, that “Our country is not a nation founded on blood, but on shared values”? And who celebrated the “diversity of origins” of new citizens at their naturalization ceremony? Anyone would be forgiven...[Subscriber]

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The Fatigue of the West

“Compassion fatigue” is a powerful expression in the English language that, to my knowledge, has no translation in French. It refers to the feeling of weariness that overcomes supposedly charitable souls when they judge they have given too much to others without seeing many tangible results in return. This phenomenon can be seen when Western populations (who are almost the only...[Subscriber]

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Transatlantic Cousins

At first glance, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron seem to have nothing in common. The two men, however, share certain similarities. The former is twice as old and antagonistic; the latter even-tempered and well-behaved. Trump flouts all protocol, while the French president upholds European good manners. Trump is a nationalist and a populist, hostile to immigrants and to anything he labels...[Subscriber]

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French Bread by New French Citizens

Bakers of Maghrebi origin are increasingly renowned in France as they appropriate and preserve one of the nation’s oldest traditions: the baguette. Far from the political debates on immigration currently holding the public’s attention in France and the United States, new French citizens are spontaneously finding their place in society with little trouble. This trend was spectacularly highlighted with the...[Subscriber]