La Grande Culture Est Mort

Louis de Funes 1960s actor

The French elite is binge watching American shows on Netflix in private while insisting that the culture of their grandparents is set in stone and must be protected from foreign influence. Long dead politicians, artists and ideas are presented as the ideal France. Youth culture in France today is considered an aberration, a foreign (largely American) ugliness that society needs to fight rather than accept if not embrace. Islam equally for many is a token of lack of integration rather than a constitutionally protected religion. It is for that reason that most alienation takes place: French culture is a dead one. Other countries such as the UK and the Netherlands suffer from plenty of racism as well, but at least the culture is flexible, open and global. Wherever you are from, you can stake out your own domain within the national identity. Not so in France. You must embrace the totems of an outdated culture in an almost ritualistic manner. Fillion in an 1950’s-style aberration almost claims that French Culture was good for the colonial savages. But the grand old culture is stale. Last July, I posted this http://on.ft.com/2pKYXJ4 piece in response to a response to the Nice attack. Even intelligent members of the Enarques fail to see how they themselves form the calcifications in the vessels of the culture that keeps new things from reaching the identity. They cannot let go of their totems. And don’t give them an 18th century Black Revolutionary General, do give them something like the Alexander Hamilton musical: give the French of today their cultural legitimacy.  Really, France today already is a great global country, culturally Paris is the world capital of African music. Its youth live in a globalized, extremely well connected internet culture and get along great with those across the border. But it doesn’t bubble up.