« maybe i shouldn't have eaten that email | Main | kiss my robot ass »

i suppose this is what counts as french porn

Merde in France ("W") writes to tell me that Frédéric Beigbeder's book, Windows on the World, was officially released this morning.

You'll recall that Mr. Beigbeder's book is a fictional telling of what happened in the Windows on the World restaurant atop the World Trade Center the morning of September 11th. He made the story up because, as the teaser for the book stated: "The only way to know what happened in the restaurant at the 107th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11 2001, between 8:30 and 10:29 AM is to make it up." You can find more of my posts about Beigbeder and the ensuing arguments here, here and here.

W writes:

Well its out. Beigbeder's book was released this morning so I'll be providing unauthorized excerpts here from time to time. The book was prominently displayed along with Why are We at War?, Le monde secret de Bush : La Religion - Les Affaires - Les Réseaux occultes (The secret world of Bush : Religion - Business - Hidden networks), and the Che Guevara 'Say no to globalisation' calendar 2004. If you get the impression that the book is poorly written, take it from me, it has nothing to do with my translation.

The first translation proves that the earlier excerpts were very foretelling of the book's literary quality. That is to say, none.

- As far as I'm concerned, it's simple: forget the Porsche, I'm liquid, said the brown haired guy wearing Kenneth Cole. But I'm sure that 2002 will be better, just wait until Greenspan does his thing on the rates. - I love you, said the blond wearing Ralph Lauren. - I want to launch a hostile takeover on you, said the brown haired guy wearing Kenneth Cole. - Leave your fucking wife, said the blond wearing Ralph Lauren. - OK, I swear I'll tell her everything this evening when I get back from the health spa, said the brown haired guy wearing Kenneth Cole. And they French kissed real deep, using alot of tongue just like in the California made porno films and perfume commercials.

W has more.

Perhaps my anger and outrage over the printing of this book was all in vain. If the above excerpt is any indication, the book is poorly written and almost laughable.

Still, it does exploit the real victims of 9/11 and for that, Beigbeder deserves scorn. For the dialogue and writing, he deserves ridicule. Yet this man is a bit of an icon in France, inasmuch as hating America is a faddish sort of thing to do over there.

It remains to be seen how the book sells. Should it become a bestseller, as is expected, it will speak volumes about the views of the French towards the events of 9/11 and America itself. The reviews should also be interesting.

Meanwhile, Beigbeder is still on my "people to disdain" list not just for his turning the death of thousands into third-rate porn, but for the worst love scene dialogue this side of Attack of the Clones.

As W posts more excerpts at Merde in France, I will post the English translations here. Why? Because I think it is important for us to know who is laughing and who is ridiculing the pain and suffering of so many and, most importantly, laughing all the way to the bank.

And while you are over there, read the second post down in which another French author and quasi-celebrity writes: 'Let us hope that the next [attack] will come quickly and that, in order to increase its educational efficiency, it hits stronger and more accurately.

The French are no more our allies than the Saudis puport themselves to be.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference i suppose this is what counts as french porn:

» It's out from Inoperable Terran
...the French novel purporting to describe the last moments of the 9/11 victims, that is. You know, the porno one. Merde in France has new excerpts which are so laughably bad it's hard to maintain the outrage.... [Read More]


Thanks for posting the excerpts, Michele. However, I'm disappointed; the writing is so awful that I don't think I'm capable of satirizing it. As Woody Allen once said of Nazis (A tender subject in France, oui?), "It's hard to satirize a guy wearing leather boots."

So I'll be serious. This dreadful excuse for literature is snapped up by a morally and intellectually bankrupt people who conceal the knowledge of their own shortcomings by sneering at others. They rail at our "cultural imperialism" and MacCulture. BTW, how many MacDonalds are in France? No French people eat there, so there must not be any. As for "cultural imperialism," it's supply and demand, Jacques, simply giving the (French) consumer what he desires. Nobody's twisting his arm; the last time the U.S. went to France bearing arms was June, 1944. Remember? I thought not.

If you and your neighbors consume this garbage, let me never again hear you criticizing Americans for watching Jerry Springer.

That clap-trap is an insult to porn!


well, wait. In my experience nothing translates well unless you have a translator who is adept at literature.
For instance, what is the difference between big, large, huge, and gargantuan? How about the difference between stormy and tempestuous? We know, of course, because it is our language, but would a French translater understand the nuances? Some things just don't translate. There are things that can drive me to tears in Chinese that sound simplistic and dull in English.
Let me say that I'm most assuredly not an expert on Romance languages. Maybe this sort of translation is nearly impossible to screw up, and it really is bad literature. But I'd like to hear someone fluent in French read the original and give their opinion first.
...as to the "French are not our allies", well, yeah.
And as to "mocking the tragedy", no matter how good the literature, if the focus is on sex, well, then, yeah, I agree with that, too.


MerdeinFrance is fluent in French. He's an expat who has lived in Paris for several, over ten at least, years.

Nathan give your precious well yeah let's hear it from the other guy sensibilities a rest. Anyone who knows French knows the enormous/enorme/gigantesque/immense/vaste range of adjectives and/or qualifying adverbs to use so there's really no need for you to get your knickers in a twist. The fact is that French writing is very very cliche ridden and driven. It is not, and I repeat not, elegant prose. Ponderous, yes, prolix yes (i.e. Le monde) but a joy to read, no.

Merde in France is not only fluent in French: his knowledge of the intimate details of the colloquial French, which is much further removed from the "polite" variety than is the case wtih the English language, is simply awesome. I can talk about this, 'cause I'm a translator of poetry. He would do us all a service if he wrote a book called, say, Merde in France's guide to French colloquialisms and slang. I myself would buy 2 or 3 dozen copies and give them to my friends.


Ok Ok .
Q.What do female French snipers use for camoflauge?
A.Their armpits.

The author is French and in so much as the novel's characters exist in his mind, they are French as well. The book says nothing about America or Americans, but a vast amount about the author and his readers. I recall reading "The Stranger," by Albert Camus and simply not getting it. A decade later I get it. The French are a dead and dying culture. Beigbeder is just another fly from a bloated corpse.