Friday, November 11, 2005

I Missed France

Because I was in New York for a little over week and not reading newspapers, spending my days with a mop, Spic-N-Span and a trowel, I missed the entire France nightmare.

And I have to say, I am glad I did. I’ve been to the Northeastern section of Paris many times and it was always scary. But I also held that it was kind of fun and it seemed like a place where you could rent a pretty cheap apartment. And in my fantasies, I always thought, “Well, if I wanted to live in Paris, I should live North of Place de La Republique. It’s affordable. Sure, it’s a bit moche, but how exciting.”

Now, the Northeastern suburbs of Paris, that’s another story. I’ve only been through there a few times on the R.E.R. (the commuter train that goes to the airport) and I have to say, it is hell out there. The buildings are as awful as any urban American projects and the graffiti is layers thick on absolutely everything. That part of the world looks like a place where no one should ever have to live. Also, I imagine the government just gave up trying to clean the graffiti because there is just so much of it. The streets in those banlieue are just awful.

Which brings me to the problem with poverty. I just don’t understand why we still have poverty. Anywhere. Whether it’s in California, France or sub-Saharan Africa, it just seems so silly at this point. Furthermore, though many of the citizens in those nasty projects in Northeastern Suburban Paris are on the dole, why not make the dole bigger? Why not help these people set up businesses? Why do the corporations get absolutely everything which leaves people who could possibly have small businesses unable to compete?
And, though I am no social-political-economist pundit, it just seems to me that someone in France, with their socialist views, should be able to solve this problem.

I am glad I didn’t see any of the carnage. I need to retain some sort of fantasy that there is at least one powerful, yet civilized country on this earth. So for now, I keep my reverie alive about France. I am so glad I missed the pictures. I hope someone can figure out a way to hyphenate Christianity and Islam into one big religion...tone it all down...and get on with it.


Rebecca Waring said...

I agree about the poverty and I think we could end it if we wanted to. But sometimes I have this (probably racist) thought that people choose poverty. Their opportunities maybe limited but they don't take advantage of the ones they have. They don't finish school and have babies without having the resources to raise them. I'd be poor if I made those choices. Okay, I'm a pig. Let them eat cake.

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Amen to your last sentence!

Dan said...

I say, let them burn the place down car by car until they can eat cake.