Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Death of French Culture?

After a few minutes of listening to the podcast to which this description refers it becomes clear that what they are really talking about is the decline of the influence of French culture in the rest of the world. Even Donald Morrison, the author of the book, seems to concede that culture is thriving within France. He simply judges it to be the wrong kind of culture on the basis of its unexportability. He ascribes this to extensive French subsidies for the arts. As Noelle Lenoir points out, however, the government subsidized just as much culture in the 60's, when France was a global cultural powerhouse. So maybe the suggestion of Laurie Taylor, the host of the show, is the correct one: France has simply been steamrollered by Anglo-American culture (with an emphasis on the American) because it has been steamrollered by America's global economic clout. The fact is, however, that I cannot begin to judge the inherent worth of contemporary French culture because I know so little about it...much less than I knew about 60's French culture at the time.
Has French culture become provincial and inward looking? France aspires to be a global cultural power. But a new book - 'The Death of French Culture' - argues that its government creates a walled garden producing cinema and literature for its own market but not for the world. Gone are the days of geniuses like Emile Zola and Francois Truffaut who spoke to millions. Laurie Taylor is joined by the book's author Donald Morrison and by Noelle Lenoir, a former French minister for European affairs. They consider whether protectionism has caused a decline in French creativity and if state subsidies produce mediocre art.

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