vendredi 11 avril 2008

So what do you do?

I've noticed that the types of careers that people have here are different than in the US. For example, when discussing Carla Bruni's past exploits, the public and the press bring up her affair with the philosopher Raphaël Enthoven. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone described as a philosopher in the US. Instead, someone like Enthoven would probably be described as a philosophy professor. In the US, in other words, Enthoven would be defined by his occupation, teaching students. In France, however, the philosopher is defined by his role in society.

Maybe the French are just really into their philosophy. Bernard-Henri Lévy, for example, is something of a pop star. And while lots of metro riders are reading the latest Harlan Coben bestseller, a not insignificant number can be seen with books by Sartre and de Beauvoir.

Diego thinks that the metro riders brushing up on their philosophy are posers trying to look smart, but I'm not so sure. Let's just say that I was definitely a little self-conscious when I pulled out a romance novel on the metro one morning (at least I was reading it in French!). I started to wonder whether my fellow commuters were also half-expecting me to pull a Big Mac out of my purse. Oh well, at least I wasn't, like one fellow commuter, reading the Marquis de Sade's finest!

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