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Sunday, 11 December 2005

Today in Paris

Cola and I went out to go Xmas shopping. As we walked to Republique, we noticed a godawful traffic jam with even more horns blaring than usual. A bunch of garbage trucks were blocking the path of traffic around the Place de Republique. There were a bunch of people waving communist flags around, lining up in the street. Somebody with a bull horn was chanting something about the Catholic church. There were signs that said something about "1905/2005" and "Ni Eglise Ni Maître Ni État" I could not figure out what was going on, except that there were a lot of pissed off drivers and a lot more people showing up all the time with red and black flags.

So I bought a communist newspaper for 2€. I didn't notice at the time, but the woman gave me a July/August issue and a September/October issue. Sheesh, you'd think communists didn't like Americans. Anyway, since I'd purchased a magazine, I could ask her what was up. And I could not understand anything she said. So her english-speaking comrade came over and explained that in 1905, France passed a law mandating the separation of church and state. The protesters wanted to re-affirm that law. (It was then I noticed the "Athéisme" banner.) They also told me the march route. I am 100% in favor of secular states in every country. But France is not my country, so I did not join the march. Instead I walked to le Marais and did some window shopping, but not much actual shopping. My goodness, it was crowded! We bought falafels and then walked home.

Cola looked up Harry Potter on the Version Originale website (which I leanred of from the ex-pat blog Dispatches from France) and so we hung around for a bit and then walked to a movie theatre by the Place d'Opera. The website gave us entirely the wrong address, so we went to a later movie than we meant to, but we did get to see it in English. It's nice to see a movie with such a strong feminist subplot. There was a real gender-balance of champions in the wizard tournament and the women always placed first or second. Ha. Sorry. I meant to say that the only female contestant came from a single-sex school and placed last in every event. Oh, and the magic of the school mostly involved being feminine and doing cheerleading routines, as far as I could tell. Also, they're French and we all know that French culture embodies femininity in every way. And, every single Hogwarts student is straight.

Got out of the movie too late to go back to le Marais, so maybe tomorrow we'll go to the 3w bar. That stands for Women with Women. Hopefully, no wizarding challenges will pop up while we're in such a helpless, female environment.

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goat said...

you realize hermione is consistently portrayed not only as the most intelligent and reasonable member of the trio but also the most magically powerful, right?

not that i wasn't annoyed by fleur as well.

oddly, i'm a lot less offended by the french stereotyping than a lot of non-french people i know. i thought it was funny. french people often sound like parodies of themselves when speaking english; i should know.

Les said...

I think Harry Potter is the most magically powerful. And doesn't Hermione give some speech at the end of book 1 (or some earlier book) about how all her skills are booksmarts and Harry is the best?

But she's a good character and so is Ginny (eventually) and Tonks and professor McDougal.

What I liked about book 4 was that Harry really couldn't hack it and it turned out at the end that he'd had all sorts of outside help (especially in the maze) and it was only some quirk of baguettes magiques that saved him. That didn't come through at all in the movie.

Fleur is weak. Her accent sounds authentic, but what annoys me is the way english speaking culture uses frenchness as a metaphor for a type of weak, fragile femininity. French men are all gay and have no balls. French women are all sexy and delicate, but not very useful for any tasks.

Also, I love the phrase baguette magique.