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David Sedaris take on France and Americans

David Sedaris take on France and Americans

Old Jun 24th, 2007, 07:00 AM
  #21  
 
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Not only the "sweetie-pie" name calling disturbs me. But the physical aspects give me shivvers. For example, and this applies particularly to Californians (and has spread nationwide), are the hugs. I don't like to be hugged by people of brief or modest acquaintanceship. I hated it when old aunts -- those with hairy upper lips -- would squeeze and kiss me when I was a kid. Call me what you will, but I like to maintain a modest distance. The French whom I have known seem to measure this aspect of life quite well. I find the Germans, however, to be too far on the other extreme -- cold, uber formal, and distant -- even after years of knowing one another. For some reason, the Dutch and the Danes strike a perfect balance. I wonder why this is, IMHO.
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 07:03 AM
  #22  
 
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Sheila,

Please, PLEASE PLEASE read "Me Talk Pretty One Day". Lots of great stuff but the pieces on Sedaris' attempts to learn French in France are some of the funniest I've ever read.

Jim
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Old Jun 24th, 2007, 07:13 AM
  #23  
 
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I have been a fan of his for a long time. His comment " I love living in a place where I canít think of a single parking lot with a chain-link fence around it."

It is of course true since Paris parking is quite tight and either in huge underground garages or right on the street - no one would dream of wasting the land on surface parking

Even after years of living in Paris I agree that it is a beautiful place; you tend to forget that when you are not free to wander during the day time. For that I envy the tourists =)
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 05:38 AM
  #24  
 
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"and I often think [as he watches people taking pictures in Paris]: you wouldn't be taking a picture of that unless someone else had already taken a picture of it."

And I thought: pal, I wouldn't be reading this interview with you if someone else hadn't already read it, either.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 05:48 AM
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Quote from interview: "So I prefer the American way [...] you run into a third party on the street, you say, ďYes, this is my friend Donna.Ē And then you never see that person again. Thatís beautiful to me. [...] But French people donít understand that at all. "

This statement strikes me as incredibly weird. Am I missing something? I just can't see what's "perfect" about calling somebody your friend for half an hour and then never seeing them again!
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 06:10 AM
  #26  
 
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So I'm checking and find that Me Talk Pretty One Day seems to be missing from my library ... wonder who I loaned it to?

David Sedaris is truly one of the funniest writers of our age. By the way, Me Talk Pretty ... reminds me of a book by a Chinese writer/artist named Chiang Yee: The Silent Traveler in Paris. (from the late 50s or early 60s) His story of studying French with other foreigners has it's own humor and humanity.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 06:28 AM
  #27  
 
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Thanks for the link, Mimi - good interview.

Loved this line about farm country: "But this is the France of tractor pulls and people wearing t-shirts reading ďIím with Stupid.Ē Itís a lot of brown socks with shorts"

When i visited friends living in a small Italian town for a year, they constantly remarked on quirks of the town that they assumed were common only to that town. They had both grown up in cities; I told them, this is what small towns are like. They have their characters; they have "judges" who watch everyone else's business; they have longstanding grudges and longstanding loyalties.

I've similarly noted that small towns half an hour from Manhattan are not that different in many ways from small towns half an hour from Kansas City. And as for farm people --- they naturally share many traits wherever you go.

Truly, if people from small towns and small cities visited other small towns and cities around the world - instead of just the capitals and "must sees" - they'd come home with a very different image of the world.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 06:29 AM
  #28  
 
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I think he's great. I'm from New England, noted for standoffish people, and when I moved here to Switzerland so many of my co-workers, doctors, pretty much everyone I met asked if I felt badly that the Swiss were so reserved and standoffish. I told them, heck no, you all seem like normal New Englanders to me! At first none of the co-workers really understood what I meant but then a Californian woman started working with us and people were amazed at how different people from the opposite sides of the country can be.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 07:15 AM
  #29  
 
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Sheila, if you can talk David Sedaris into a week at your home in France, I'll crash the party (fair warning!)
(it's been too long since I've seen you anyway.)

I have most of his books, do you want me to deliver them to you? What are your dates in the US again?
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 07:29 AM
  #30  
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Thanks for the chuckle, Cigal.

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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 07:43 AM
  #31  
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On Easter in his French class!

http://lostvirtue.livejournal.com/107584.html
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 07:59 AM
  #32  
 
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I've been a big fan of David Sedaris's for many years (yep, all the way back to the NPR Macy's Elf days). Reading his stuff is wonderful; even better is listening to *him* read it. (Much of his work is on tape and, I guess, CD.) I cannot drive and listen to the French class discussion of the Easter story (in Me Talk Pretty One Day) because I'm laughing so hard I'm crying.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 08:07 AM
  #33  
 
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On my last trip I bought "Je Parler Francais" - a translation INTO FRENCH of Me Talk Pretty. It looks like it will be funny in a weird way.
Jess
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 08:11 AM
  #34  
 
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I loved the part where he buys two of everything; that way he can say "les" instead of "le or la " which is making him nuts. I think he drew the line when he had to buy an appliance...
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 08:28 AM
  #35  
 
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I love David Sedaris too. Have seen him read from some of his work. I thought he was living in London now?
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 10:55 AM
  #36  
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Sheila, I posted the Easter French class for you from that book I e-mailed you about.
His sister Amy is doing very well also startd with her brother as a stand up comedian. She's so well know that she ws guest on Martha Stewart, our lady of the hosue projects
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 12:17 PM
  #37  
 
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Sheila, make room for flygirl and me! I am a huge Sedaris fan. Thanks for the link, Mimi. By the way he is regularly featured in the New Yorker as well. Me Talk Pretty Someday and the Dress Your Family book are absolutely hilarious in places and heartbreaking in others.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 12:22 PM
  #38  
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Lots of the pieces are culled from the new yorker.
Yes it would be nice to meet you and flygirl in Person. Her house is special.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 04:08 PM
  #39  
 
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I made the mistake of bringing Sedaris' works with me to Korea- looked like a complete fool on the plane, doubled over in laughter with tears streaming down my face.

I have given his books to "friends" (wink wink) and co-workers, and his humour does seem to be an acquired taste... but man I love him.

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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 05:23 PM
  #40  
 
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have you heard Sedaris read his piece on the Stadium Buddy on Letterman? It's hilarious, you can see it on YouTube.
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