Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Over at PragueBlog, Steve has posted a funny little thingie, and in lieu of blogging, I responded in the comments. It's about how and why Czechs love "the nature." (Answer: I don't have a clue.)

There's something else I've been meaning to post but haven't had the time, motivation or discipline: a follow-up to the European press review I wrote last week for Slate. (This is the first thing in quite a while any writing of mine has actually appeared in a proper media outlet.)

The subject was the recent spat between Israel and France over Ariel Sharon's call for French Jews to undertake aliyah en masse and immediately. Because, you know, it's so much safer for Jews in the Middle East than in France.

So the shit hit the fan in France, and it looks like the Israeli government was taken aback. Now what happened afterwards is pretty funny. At first Israel tried to make nice, blaming the whole thing on a cultural misunderstanding and offering "clarifications." When the promised clarification came (passed from somebody to somebody to somebody who showed it to Jacques Chirac) it basically said, "Dear Jacques: I meant what I said, no further explanation needed, now fuck off. Yours, Ariel." (Not an exact quote.)

Oddly enough, Chirac replied he "appreciated" the message and declared the crisis "over".

(Also, one thing I didn't mention in the Slate article was the story of the 23-year-old French mother who was attacked by North African hooligans who tore her clothes and drew a swastika on her belly. Following an international outcry, the woman later admitted that no such incident ever happened. She made the story up. Here's a good bit of Arab indignation over this over at Al Ahram weekly.)

Monday, July 26, 2004

Since Czech tourist authorities are evidently doing a rather poor job of drawing tourists out of Prague, I thought I'd mention that Beyoncé is now in Teplice, where she's filming The Pink Panther.