It seems that the Parisian Oulipo group has recently constructed a matrix of all possible murder-story situations and has found that there is still to be written a book in which the murderer is the reader. Moral: there exist obsessive ideas, they are never personal; books talk among themselves, and any true detection should prove that we are the guilty party.
French rhetorical models are too narrow for the English tradition. Most pernicious of French imports is the notion that there is no person behind a text. Is there anything more affected, aggressive, and relentlessly concrete than a Parisan intellectual behind his/her turgid text? The Parisian is a provincial when he pretends to speak for the universe.
It is now many years that men have resorted to the forest for fuel and the materials of the arts: the New Englander and the New Hollander, the Parisian and the Celt, the farmer and Robin Hood, Goody Blake and Harry Gill; in most parts of the world, the prince and the peasant, the scholar and the savage, equally require still a few sticks from the forest to warm them and cook their food. Neither could I do without them.
Henry David Thoreau
It's a curious thing, this thing we call civilization...we think it is an affair of epochs, and nations. It's really an affair of individuals. One brother will be civilized and the other a barbarian...All civilization comes through literature now, especially in our country. A Greek got his civilization by talking and looking, and in some measure a Parisian may still do it. But we, who live remote from history and monuments, we must read or we must barbarise.
William Dean Howells
In Paris style is everything. That is traditionally understood. Every street, every structure, every shopgirl has style. The style of Parisian architecture has been proved and refined by at least three centuries of academic dictates and highly developed taste. There are few violations of this taste, and there is exemplary architectural consistency. Paris has defined the aesthetics of a sophisticated urban culture.
Ada Louise Huxtable
The Parisian is to the French what the Athenian was to the Greeks: no one sleeps better than he, no one is more openly frivolous and idle, no one appears more heedless. But this is misleading. He is given to every kind of listlessness, but when there is glory to be won he may be inspired with every kind of fury. Give him a pike and he will enact the tenth of August, a musket and you have Austerlitz. He was the springboard of Napoleon and the mainstay of Danton. At the cry of "la patrie" he enrols, and at the call of liberty he tears up the pavements. Beware of him!
So many problems we will get to the bottom of later, but whose spatial aspect we must grasp right away. If the space of the industrial economy dominates the social space in which the Parisian worker or intellectual develops, to what extent could residential space, cultural space, or political space be planned without it being necessary to first intervene in economic structures?... In short... : to what extent can we freely build the framework for a social life in which we might be guided by our aspirations and not by our instincts?
Was she acting entirely consciously? No: women are always sincere, even in the midst of their most shocking duplicities, because it is always some natural emotion which dominates them. Perhaps, having given this young man such a hold on her, by having openly demonstrated her affection for him, Delphine was merely responding to a sense of personal dignity, which led her either to revoke any concessions she might have made or, at least, to enjoy suspending them. Even at the very moment when passion seizes her, it is perfectly natural for a Parisian woman to delay her final fall, as a way of testing the heart of the man into whose hands she is about to deliver herself and her future!
Honore de Balzac
BRET She looked like a Parisian river.. JEMAINE What, dirty? BRET She looked like a chocolate eclair.. JEMAINE That's rare. BRET Her eyes were reflections of eyes.. JEMAINE Ohh, nice. BRET And the rainbows danced in her hair.. JEMAINE Oh yea. BRET She reminded me of a winter's morning.. JEMAINE What, frigid? BRET Her perfume was Eau De Toilette.. JEMAINE What's that mean? BRET She was comparable to Cleopatra.. JEMAINE Quite old? BRET She was like Shakespeare's Juliet.. JEMAINE What? 13?
Flight of the Conchords
Kilmartin wrote a highly amusing and illuminating account of his experience as a Proust revisionist, which appeared in the first issue of Ben Sonnenberg's quarterly Grand Street in the autumn of 1981. The essay opened with a kind of encouragement: 'There used to be a story that discerning Frenchmen preferred to read Marcel Proust in English on the grounds that the prose of A la recherche du temps perdu was deeply un-French and heavily influenced by English writers such as Ruskin.' I cling to this even though Kilmartin thought it to be ridiculous Parisian snobbery; I shall never be able to read Proust in French, and one's opportunities for outfacing Gallic self-regard are relatively scarce.
An age-old city is like a pond. With its colours and reflections. Its chills and murk. Its ferment, its sorcery, its hidden life. A city is like a woman, with a woman's desires and dislikes. Her abandon and restraint. Her reserve - above all, her reserve. To get to the heart of a city, to learn its most subtle secrets, takes infinite tenderness, and patience sometimes to the point of despair. It calls for an artlessly delicate touch, a more or less unconditional love. Over centuries. Time works for those who place themselves beyond time. You're no true Parisian, you do not know your city, if you haven't experienced its ghosts. To become imbued with shades of grey, to blend into the drab obscurity of blind spots, to join the clammy crowd that emerges, or seeps, at certain times of day from the metros, railway stations, cinemas or churches, to feel a silent and distant brotherhood with the lonely wanderer, the dreamer in his shy solitude, the crank, the beggar, even the drunk - all this entails a long and difficult apprenticeship, a knowledge of people and places that only years of patient observation can confer.
I am the interpretation of the prophet I am the artist in the coffin I am the brave flag stained with blood I am the wounds overcome I am the dream refusing to sleep I am the bare-breasted voice of liberty I am the comic the insult and the laugh I am the right the middle and the left I am the poached eggs in the sky I am the Parisian streets at night I am the dance that swings till dawn I am the grass on the greener lawn I am the respectful neighbour and the graceful man I am the encouraging smile and the helping hand I am the straight back and the lifted chin I am the tender heart and the will to win I am the rainbow in rain I am the human who won't die in vain I am Athena of Greek mythology I am the religion that praises equality I am the woman of stealth and affection I am the man of value and compassion I am the wild horse ploughing through I am the shoulder to lean onto I am the Muslim the Jew and the Christian I am the Dane the French and the Palestinian I am the straight the square and the round I am the white the black and the brown I am the free speech and the free press I am the freedom to express I will die for my right to be all the above here mentioned And should threat encounter I'll pull my pencil
He walked straight out of college into the waiting arms of the Navy. They gave him an intelligence test. The first question on the math part had to do with boats on a river: Port Smith is 100 miles upstream of Port Jones. The river flows at 5 miles per hour. The boat goes through water at 10 miles per hour. How long does it take to go from Port Smith to Port Jones? How long to come back? Lawrence immediately saw that it was a trick question. You would have to be some kind of idiot to make the facile assumption that the current would add or subtract 5 miles per hour to or from the speed of the boat. Clearly, 5 miles per hour was nothing more than the average speed. The current would be faster in the middle of the river and slower at the banks. More complicated variations could be expected at bends in the river. Basically it was a question of hydrodynamics, which could be tackled using certain well-known systems of differential equations. Lawrence dove into the problem, rapidly (or so he thought) covering both sides of ten sheets of paper with calculations. Along the way, he realized that one of his assumptions, in combination with the simplified Navier Stokes equations, had led him into an exploration of a particularly interesting family of partial differential equations. Before he knew it, he had proved a new theorem. If that didn't prove his intelligence, what would? Then the time bell rang and the papers were collected. Lawrence managed to hang onto his scratch paper. He took it back to his dorm, typed it up, and mailed it to one of the more approachable math professors at Princeton, who promptly arranged for it to be published in a Parisian mathematics journal. Lawrence received two free, freshly printed copies of the journal a few months later, in San Diego, California, during mail call on board a large ship called the U.S.S. Nevada. The ship had a band, and the Navy had given Lawrence the job of playing the glockenspiel in it, because their testing procedures had proven that he was not intelligent enough to do anything else.
DIS NIGGA, LIKE HE'S SO EXCLUSIVE SOMETIMES DREAMS, PEACE OF PAPER I GOT REAMS WHERE THE D GO?, PUT THAT ON A ROSE NOW YOU PRONOUNCE IT HERO, YOU SEE? LU SEE LIKE LA BREA & PICO, WITH BINOCULARS ON MY PEEPHOLE I FEEL MY BEST WORK WAS ALBUM ZERO NOW WITH DENIRO ITS BOO BOO IN MY BACKYARD AND BEN BURNT DOWN MY GAZEBO THAT DINERO'S A CASINO WIT SPIT IN THE SANDWICH OF THE POLICE THOUGH THEY AIN'T SEE THE STEEL PLATE UP UNDER MY SEAT THOUGH STILL PLAY IT LIKE SHAQUILLE BUT I CAN FREE THROW I AIN'T PLAYING BUT I COMPETE, I AIN'T A PLAYER BUT I'M COMPLETE AND THAT'S THE WIN WIN A MASON MIND CAN'T SIGN IF THE PEN'S TEMPLAR NIGHT VISION ON WHITE LINEN IS STILL GREEN PEACE OF PAPER I GOT REAMS, MAKE IT RAIN TO MAKE EM SMILE, NOW RAKE IT INTO PILES AND GO BUY YA SELF SOME STYLE, PROM NIGHT/CAT WALK PREPARED THE SUIT FOR WEEKS, OR EFFORTLESS AS A PARISIAN WALKING DOWN THE STREET, I AIN'T IN IT I'M JUST WALKING ROUND SOME BEATS TONGUE IN CHEEK, JUST TALKING ROUND SOME TEETH NEIGHBORHOOD WATCHING MADE OF GOOD OPTIONS, MASTERMIND TIMES NEIGHBORHOOD HOODIE TAKE THE HOOD SHOPPING BACK TRACK TO THE STOLEN PLATES WHAT'S A CLOSED WALLET TO AN OPEN SAFE SAY YOUR GRACE PEACE OF PAPER/CUP OF JAYZUS WHAT WE WRITING? THESE AIN'T ENTENDRES THESE ARE SECRET INDICTMENTS LITTE SECRET EXCITEMENTS FOR WILLING MINDS I'M FEELING FINE BALLING HARD AND KILLING RHYMES KNOCKING OFF BIGS AND STEALING SHINES HEY SHAWTY IS IT A CRIME? TO DMV EVERYTIME UNTIL I GIVE EM LICENSE THEY WAITING ON LINES PEACE OF PAPER I'M KERRY JAMES COMMISSIONS FLY AS THE CONSTITUTION AS A PLANE PEACE OF PAPER CUP OF JAYZUS WHAT WE DOING? PIZZA LASERS/ CUP OF RAZORS WHAT YOU CHOOSING? CHOOSY MOTHERS CHOOSE THE SMOOTHEST PEANUT BUTTERS AND MORE COGNIZANT FATHERS DO GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER A BREAK FROM THE PAPER IT MEANS DO YOU IDENTIFY MORE WITH WHAT'S BEING MADE OR THE MAKER? I'M WHAT'S BEING CHASED I'M NOT THE CHASER CUP OF JAYZUS PEACE OF PAPE
Finding a taxi, she felt like a child pressing her nose to the window of a candy store as she watched the changing vista pass by while the twilight descended and the capital became bathed in a translucent misty lavender glow. Entering the city from that airport was truly unique. Charles de Gaulle, built nineteen miles north of the bustling metropolis, ensured that the final point of destination was veiled from the eyes of the traveller as they descended. No doubt, the officials scrupulously planned the airport's location to prevent the incessant air traffic and roaring engines from visibly or audibly polluting the ambience of their beloved capital, and apparently, they succeeded. If one flew over during the summer months, the visitor would be visibly presented with beautifully managed quilt-like fields of alternating gold and green appearing as though they were tilled and clipped with the mathematical precision of a slide rule. The countryside was dotted with quaint villages and towns that were obviously under meticulous planning control. When the aircraft began to descend, this prevailing sense of exactitude and order made the visitor long for an aerial view of the capital city and its famous wonders, hoping they could see as many landmarks as they could before they touched ground, as was the usual case with other major international airports, but from this point of entry, one was denied a glimpse of the city below. Green fields, villages, more fields, the ground grew closer and closer, a runway appeared, a slight bump or two was felt as the craft landed, and they were surrounded by the steel and glass buildings of the airport. Slightly disappointed with this mysterious game of hide-and-seek, the voyager must continue on and collect their baggage, consoled by the reflection that they will see the metropolis as they make their way into town. For those travelling by road, the concrete motorway with its blue road signs, the underpasses and the typical traffic-logged hubbub of industrial areas were the first landmarks to greet the eye, without a doubt, it was a disheartening first impression. Then, the real introduction began. Quietly, and almost imperceptibly, the modern confusion of steel and asphalt was effaced little by little as the exquisite timelessness of Parisian heritage architecture was gradually unveiled. Popping up like mushrooms were cream sandstone edifices filigreed with curled, swirling carvings, gently sloping mansard roofs, elegant ironwork lanterns and wood doors that charmed the eye, until finally, the traveller was completely submerged in the glory of the Second Empire ala Baron Haussmann's master plan of city design, the iconic grand mansions, tree-lined boulevards and avenues, the quaint gardens, the majestic churches with their towers and spires, the shops and cafes with their colourful awnings, all crowded and nestled together like jewels encrusted on a gold setting.