Deparkerization?

I work in a bookstore where someone recently asked me about the Parker wine guide.

I answered with a bit of surprise : nobody asked me that in years! I checked and realized that the last Parker guide, in France, was from 2009.

We asked ourselves about how nobody seems to care anymore about Parker.

I remembered the “problems” at the time : the guy was giving notes to wines (from 0 to 100), and he was so powerful (or such an influencer) that wine makers around the world had begun to twiddle their wines around to satisfy him. And the higher notes made some wine unaffordable. And in France we have a suspicion about notes, the idea of “evaluation gives a digit”. Especially in Arts and human activities. Etc.

In fact, there were many “controversies”. The “Mondovino” documentary ( https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0411674/ ) tells a bit about them…

If a wine is Parkered 67/100, is it better than a 63/100? Really?

This leads to many structures :

  1. The fact that Parker used digits to “note” wines was a problem in itself. Therefore we could note movies, poems, maybe love, why note? “This poem is a 88/100 and my wife is a 76”. Can we do this and why?
  2. Parker was powerful and listened, and when he titled a book “Bordeaux, The Definitive Guide for the Wines Produced Since 1961”, the impact was huge. What is a “definitive” ranking?
  3. Why is someone a star of an influencer at one moment and pretty much nothing ten years after? What about the stars we have today?
  4. What about “controversies”? Should we listen to the cons, always? How to study their arguments?
  5. What does one do with “Mainstream Tastes”? Do we jump happily in the pool of obedient followers? What is mainstream in a small world of specialists? Why do people follow, and who are those who don’t and try to find less frequented paths?
  6. What is social pressure when it’s activated by an influencer, a critic?
  7. If there a “Number One Influencer”, who’s the second (let’s rank the rankers, bim!), and the third? What if we compare them, organize ideas fights?
  8. What about the minority of the “last followers”, the believers? What if they were right?

Then, again : where to apply and think with these tools? Photography? Movies? Fashion? Anthropology?

This article made you think about other people? Who?

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading!

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“This is how it should be done: lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times.”

Gilles Deleuze

Conversation, Essays, Eyes

You’re alone in the quiet, at home. You grab a book.

If it’s a novel, it’s perfect : you get into a dream. You see things…

Tonight I wanted a conversation instead. So I picked a book from Siri Hustvedt (The Shaking Woman) and a glass of Chardonnay.

I opened the book in the middle of random (it’s something I love to do) and read great pages about how a new born baby and his mother stare at each other. This deep each other’s look means so much, so many things happen. A bond is building. An intelligence is blooming…

(I remember I did this, with Lili and Eliette, my daughters)

Hustvedt explains that if a mother talks to a baby and waits a little, the baby answers – in his own… voice.

An essay is like having a part of a conversation. The part where you just listen. Just choose your partner well! It’s OK – even if you miss the partner’s questions, the slow ping-pong of spirits.

And the eyes…

I wrote this. Now I’m back to my chair. Bidou the cat on me knees. Hi Siri!

Conversation.

Thanks for reading!

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Drawn up Ping Pong : Slow Motion Conversation

“To Eat Alone”

Some recent events in my life made me a lonely man, and therefore a lonely eater.

When I was a father in a family, I was really happy to have dinner-togetherness, to cook for my tribe, to talk, listen, laugh, and feel the family’s energy around the table.

I’ve been very skeptical when I read about how Americans were losing these daily gatherings of all the big cats around the table. “Everyone is having snacks when they want, everybody’s picking things in the fridge, watch TV or eat in bedrooms”, they said. My feelings were like between “it’s not true, it’s impossible” and “oh these Americans!”.

When my daughters were little, some days I went home late, it was almost time to go to bed : I told them stories, kissed them goodnight, then I was happy to have dinner with their mother, but also alone.

I remember good summer evenings. Two cat babies sleeping, mother cat watching a movie, and me papa cat, with a cassoulet, two slices of bread and half of a bottle of Bergerac wine, eating on a tray, on my bed, in front of a wide open double-window (or should I say “French door”, really?), watching and listening birds and trees in the dusk, sshhh.

Not working on thursdays, I remember I was happy to have meal time alone, eating in silence in the kitchen, listening to the rain outside. On my table : a candle, a corner lamp, and a magazine (about movies). Maybe some Brahms chamber music too. Bliss!

Now I eat alone, but I don’t snack. I never snack, and I’m always questioning my snacking friends in America, opening different little colored bags to crinch crunch and croonch while we Skype. I’m like “Where’s your plate, dear?”. They know I eat alone, thus they’re somewhat amazed by HOW I’m eating alone. Well, that’s nothing special, but I… I’m sorry… I can’t snack. It would kill me under a blanket of depression. It’s almost : “I’m French therefore I need a plate”.

I know better, OK : I have more time, in France. We work less, we move less (distances are… different here – I go to work by bike), and… errr… I think we think that food time is worth it, too : I eat alone but it’s cooked, sliced, prepared, organized. Just a bit. I need it.

Awweee sorry for my bad English. I’m wobbling, I know it. Pardonnez-moi !

Have a nice day! Bon appétit !

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Uncontrol the Controllable – The Chardonnay Effect

“Control the controllable”, I read one day on a blog (about how to avoid stress, I think). This sounded like a generalization of Marcus Aurelius‘s quote :

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

…and I liked it. Control the controllable (which is your mind). Power and concision of English language!

Seneca says something like :

“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality”

…which is complementary, right? What is uncontrollable, now, though?

MMmhhhh. Epictetus can help us here :

“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.”

(I bolded the bold). It seems that philosophers from Antiquity had some thinkings about life, right? “As it happens” (Amor fati, etc).

Love what happens…

My article is about : what if, for a moment,  I do not want to control what I could control. Uncontrol the controllable. “Make the best use of what is in your power” can then become for me… to smile and listen to propositions of life.

I call it the Chardonnay effect.

Chardonnay is a French white wine. It seems to have a strange effect : I forget “rules and regulations”, I have less desires to control what I can control. I open some doors and paths, just to see. Don’t drink too much, though!

Thanks to some French Magic, I seem to be more able to enjoy the moment, extend possibilities, be in place, and realize that life is too short to CONTROL EVERYTHING.

Well, Chardonnay (and okey, other wines too, probably, LOL) have the capacity to make me decide to let go, to dance. With the ability – I hope – to recontrol if necessary, right?

Royksöpp, in this song, says the dangers of uncontrolling this way, though :

I still don’t know just what I’ve done
I don’t remember anymore what I used to be

OK, but what side doesn’t remember the other one? Is there a danger to begin to love the uncontrol? Is there a conflict between guts and reason? What kind of dance is it, then, between Face A and B, forest and trees, pleasure and rules, opening doors and lukewarm but necessary important security behind closed ones? Jekyll and Hyde? What kind of door is it, between the two?

Don’t drink, stay in control. Voilà.

Cheers! A la bonne vôtre !

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Une Américaine à Paris…

OK I’m french. My english is a frenglish, it’s rusty and wobbly, et voilà. Try me, though. I’ll do my best. I promise. If sometimes it’s too bad, just laugh at me or roll you eyes.

I was once in Paris with an American lady, who seemed constantly amazed by the pace of the city, the taste of la baguette (is French bread really that better ?), cheeses and saucisson, the light on the roofs of Paris, the open skies over La Seine and the way kids are running laughing playing together after school in a warm evening, after school, in le Parc Monceau.

There wasn’t a day without me saying “You knowwwww…”, the only way I found to tell her that, errr, we are cool, we don’t play the rules that much, we like to do nothing, the french wine is cheaper than in California, and we love the word “promenade”…

Woody Allen explained this a little in his movie Midnight in Paris. Owen Wilson was a bit like my friend : American, but fascinated by the douceur de vivre of France.

I would like to thank John Oliver for his little hilarious speech about France : http://www.newyorker.com/culture/sarah-larson/vive-john-oliver

“France is going to endure. And I’ll tell you why. If you are in a war of culture and life style with France, good fucking luck!” – good example with the croquembouche “That is a French freedom tower!”.

Yum.

What’s up ? The Sky. So don’t #prayforparis : just come, breathe, venez visiter la France !

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