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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Maureen Dowd, "Goodbye Old World, Bonjour Tristesse": Le Temps de Prendre Votre Médicament

The French are depressed?

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Goodbye Old World, Bonjour Tristesse" (, Maureen Dowd writes:

"On Place Vendome, Christian Lacroix was dispatching models in black crepe chiffon peplum basques — whatever they are — while on Avenue Hoche, Lacroix’s dentist was bemoaning the black crepe City of Lights. Holding a cigarette in a waiting room filled with Picasso-print pillows, Dr. Gérard Armandou told how his patients, always prone to pessimism, are even more filled with malheur now as they sit in his chair contemplating tous les problèmes, including 'not going anymore on holiday to Egypt.'

. . . .

The French have higher rates of taking antidepressants and committing suicide than most other Europeans. And while arguing about how to move forward, they feel trapped in the past, weighed down by high unemployment and low hopes, the onerous taxes that drove Gérard Depardieu to flee, conflicts with immigrants, political scandals, Hollande fatigue, Germany envy, economic stagnation, a hyperelitist education system, and cold, rainy weather that ruined the famous Paris spring. Instead of confronting the questions at hand — how to adjust to globalization and compete with the Chinese — the French are grieving their lost stature and glorious past, stretching back to the colonial empire, the Lumières, the revolution, Napoleon, even the Jazz Age writers and artists."

Well, I have an insouciant solution for my French friends: Take that holiday trip to Egypt! And if you come back alive and unscathed, perhaps you will again come to appreciate the luxury, beauty and freedom of your homeland - before they are lost.

Egypt? Why worry? So what if a Coptic priest was shot dead in Northern Sinai on Saturday, after Pope Tawadros, leader of Egypt's eight million Christians, gave his blessing to the coup d'état (see:

You might just come to learn, like Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz," that "There's no place like home."

Ah yes, the homespun wisdom of Kansas, which often goes lacking in a Prozac world.

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