France vs. Social Media

Food for Thought

A few months ago, Guillaume suddenly stopped communicating with me. I checked his Instagram account and nothing was posted since. So I figured he must have read some article about data privacy online and became paranoid. Yesterday he messaged me via WhatsApp which appears to confirm my theory about paranoia (because WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption, meaning Facebook, the owner of WhatsApp, cannot see what we are saying). He wanted to know if we could get a drink somewhere in the East Village. I suggested this new place Bin 141 at Avenue A and East 3rd because I can have a drink and eat their cake too. Their cakes are fantastic.

Over gin and tonic, we began our talk with the short essay by Jacques Attali, a French economic and social theorist. I did not know who he was or what he said in the essay because it’s written in French. Another French friend emailed it to me earlier in the day. From the way Guillaume described it, it sounded like Attali is calling for more government regulation on technology.

I understand his concern. The French government does not need to regulate baguette, croissant, cheese or wine production because French producers regulate themselves. If any of them would like to invent something like cronuts, they know they need to move to America. France naturally remains free of such abomination.

The problem with technology, however, is that it’s not bound by geography. If it were possible for someone to bake a baguette in Tokyo and sell it immediately in Paris, the French government, I’m sure, would be freaking out about that too. The French culture would be infiltrated by all sort of vulgarity, philistinism, and barbarity. They couldn’t roll their eyes fast enough.

So, yes, they should be concerned about the invasion of technology into their way of life. All French men and women, boys and girls, if they love their country, should delete Instagram from their phones. Right. Now. So that I can make fun of them here without worrying about offending anyone. It’s one of my favorite pastimes.