Saturday, July 1, 2017

What Julia said

. . . it seemed that this desperate power-monger was supported by Texas oil millionaires and that everyone in Washington was scared to death of him. It was beyond me how anybody of any sense of what our country was supposed to stand for could have anything to do with him, no matter how many votes he brought in.

 In the blood-heat of pursuing the enemy, many people are forgetting what we're fighting for. We are fighting for our hard-won liberty and freedom; for our Constitution and the due processes of our laws and for the right to differ in ideas, religion, and politics. I am convinced that in your zeal to fight against our enemies, you, too, have forgotten what you are fighting for.
 --from pages 200 and 202 of My Life in France

I'm reading  Julia Child's memoir of, as the title hints, her time in France. It was recommended to me by the bookseller at Book Larder in Fremont on Independent Bookstore Day and I bought it, in part, because I wanted to buy something at every store I went to that day. In truth, I did not have the highest expectations. The book was put together with, one suspects, coauthor Alex Prudhomme doing most of the work, when Julia was in her early 90s, but it's based on old letters and journals and the like so I expect it's pretty accurate. It isn't the most brilliantly written book ever but I am loving it--in part because who wouldn't love France in the late '40s and early '50s, and in part for the odd bits of cooking instruction scattered throughout, and--in part--because her opinions on the politics of her day could so readily be her opinions on the politics of the 21st century.

 On reflection, maybe that shouldn't be so comforting. But to read her on the topic of "fake news" is pretty damned fine:

"Glad? I should say we are!" Big John thundered. "Why, who wouldn't be? Everybody's glad. But of course you people over there, you wouldn't know how the country feels--all your news is slanted."
   This was hard to take, especially from the man who read only the right-leaning L.A. Times. For the record, Paul and I were avid devourers of the New York Times, the Herald Tribune, Le Figaro, Time, Fortune, The Reporter, Harper's, The New Yorker, even L'Humanitie, not to mention a flood of embassy cables, intelligence briefs, and twenty-four hour wire service and ticker sheets pouring in from around the world. So whose news was slanted? 

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