British-French Rivalry

Food for Thought @ Bull McCabes

Guillaume invited me to this performance art entitled “The Disorder of Discourse” by Fanny de Chaillé, which is an artistic interpretation of the lecture by Michel Foucault entitled “The Order of Discourse.” It was performed in French with the translation projected onto the screen behind the performer.

Before it began, Guillaume wondered if our British friend, Martin, might have been interested in seeing it. I said, as far as the Brits are concerned, there are no intellectuals in France, just as the French pretend as though there are no intellectuals in the UK. So, chances are, Martin would likely pretend as though he has never heard of Michel Foucault. Guillaume then pretended as though there is no such rivalry between the French and the Brits. He said, “Locke and Hume are Brits,” and after a moment added, “at least I think they are.” Obviously, he had to think hard to conjure up with names of British intellectuals, and even then, he wasn’t sure.

The performance was interesting. I have a feeling that’s what the majority of the audience thought as they applauded at the end but weren’t impressed enough to stand up or wait for the performer to come back out to the stage. Guillaume exclaimed, “Rude!” He was elated by the performance and wanted to give a standing ovation but the applaud ended before he could.

I thought the idea of recreating a lecture as performance art was interesting, and the choice of Michel Foucault was probably a good one because his writing comes across to me as full of passion (or rather anger). But, personally, I have a hard time getting into his work. I’ve tried it many times like I’ve tried Twitter many times.

After the performance, we wanted to go to a relatively quiet bar to chat. I suggested an Irish pub. His response was, “Do I look like I would go to an Irish bar?” The French snobbery was back in full force. I explained to him that, in my experience, Irish bars tend to be quieter. He agreed to check one out. Sure enough, the one on St. Marks was relatively quiet.

After we parted for the night, I thought, perhaps, the Japanese are uniquely fit for the task of bridging the English Channel.