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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 02:15 pm
“More than a year after France legislated a 35-hour week,” wrote Adele Horin in 2002, “the economy is flourishing, unemployment is falling, consumer confidence has hit a historic high and most French say their lifestyle has improved.” Let’s check the current mood in Happiness Central:
Outside the Grand Palais museum, people stood in line for hours in biting cold this winter to see the city’s most popular art exhibit—Mélancolie , a collection of paintings and sculptures evoking depression, sadness and despair.
“It doesn’t surprise me that this exhibition is such a success,” said Claire Mione, a 20-year-old Web site editor who joined the rush to the show in its closing days. “Melancholy is an overwhelming feeling in our society right now.”
Adele’s beloved Europhisticates aren’t merely sad; they’re also scared:
Ipsos, a French polling institute, recently asked 500 people between the ages of 20 and 25 the question: “What does globalization mean to you?”
Forty-eight percent of those surveyed responded, “Fear.”
To be fair, that’s probably a default option. Now we visit Sarcellles for a glimpse into France’s future:
“It’s blacks and Arabs on one side and Jews on the other,” said Sebastian Daranal, a young black man standing in the parking lot of a government-subsidized housing project with two friends.
Eight men beat the son of a rabbi here in March. Another Jew was attacked the next day …
Ianis Roder, 34, a history teacher in a middle school northeast of Paris, said he was stunned by what he witnessed after Sept. 11, 2001. The next day, someone spray-painted in a stairwell of the school the image of an airplane crashing into the World Trade Center beside the words “Death to the U.S., Death to Jews.”
When he told his class months later that Hitler had killed millions of Jews, one boy blurted out, “He would have made a good Muslim!” Mr. Roder told of a Muslim teacher who dismissed her class after a shouting match over Nazi propaganda. The students said the offensive images accurately depicted Jews.
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