….Speaking to French radio station Europe 1 in an interview … Madonna said “antisemitism is at an all-time high” in France and elsewhere in Europe, and likened the atmosphere to the period when German fascism was on the ascent.
“We’re living in crazy times,” the 56-year-old singer said, calling the situation “scary,”….
….“It was a country that embraced everyone and encouraged freedom in every way, shape or form – artistic expression of freedom,” Madonna said. “Now that’s completely gone.
“France was once a country that accepted people of colour, and was a place artists escaped to, whether it was Josephine Baker or Charlie Parker.”….
That commentary has unsurprisingly attracted attention in France. If you click on the picture below, or here, it will take you to the interview. Her words are translated into French, but one can hear her speaking English:
Obviously she has read and heard various things over the years, and knows just enough “dinner party” banter to sound informed. Listening to her throughout her career one has never been able to suppress a feeling that she is the proverbial “mile wide and an inch deep.” You never quite believe she knows nearly as much as she appears to position herself as knowing.
My wife received an email yesterday from a former neighbo(u)r of ours. She’s flying to the Canary Islands today. She and her husband are selling a holiday flat they’ve owned there for several decades.
In the message she explained to Mrs. Nello that she’s taking Frontiers (the paperback) along. (She doesn’t do Kindle.) She wrote she hadn’t read it yet and is looking forward to it for the airport wait and plane journey. She wanted Mrs. Nello to let me know.
As any author knows, reader reviews can’t be ignored nowadays. Amazon is central in that change. Readers may praise, but authors now also need a skin as tough as iron too.
Authors aren’t alone. A business owner we know got an appalling review a few months ago on a non-Amazon site from a customer who’d – we were told – had a personal ax to grind. It was “1 star” followed by a single, vitriolic sentence. (How classy.)
I recall a B&B owner where we stayed some years ago in Canada telling us of a recent guest (and she said she suspected who it was) who’d given her a poor review on TripAdvisor because he didn’t like the breakfast. She told us that he got exactly what everyone else got (which was exactly what was promised), and never complained to her in person which, she said, would have at least allowed her to have addressed what he didn’t like. Instead he left having said nothing and scribbled something negative online, which she thought was unfair and even nasty of him.
After getting ashes at church, I stopped in at a small supermarket. At the check-out, the woman cashier – in her late teens to early twenties, I guess – chatted with me briefly. Suddenly, she looked at me a bit strangely.
I’ve spent much of the last 25 years often as the (only) American in the room – be it with family, friends, or workplace colleagues. As you know if you visit here regularly, I’ve now also spent several years writing novels in which I’ve created characters sourced from some of my (especially early) “travel” and “expat” experiences. They are full of types of people I’ve encountered, and even cherished, and what I’ve seen here in Europe.
I can’t begin to list the nationalities I’ve met in just London: nearly every European country; Africans from Egypt and Morocco all the way to South Africa; Afro-Caribbeans; Middle Easterners; Indians; Chinese; other Asians; Canadians; Australians; New Zealanders; Brazilians; even a few other South Americans. And all the religions: not only Christians of course, but Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims. It feels like a far more “diverse” city than even New York.
I will always remember a Pakistani student, right after 9/11. He offered me personal condolences. He flat out called the attackers “terrorists”: no qualifications, no hesitation.
The U.K.’s Independent newspaper reports a poll of “11,000 people” surveyed in “24 cities around the world” found that “a British accent is the most attractive accent in the world”:
More than a quarter of respondents preferred a UK accent with people in Paris, New York and Sydney the most keen, The Time Out Global Dating Survey found.
My wife has regularly joked to me that when we are in the U.S., she gets the feeling many people are not actually listening to the content of what she is saying, but are instead just listening to her saying it. ;-)