Behemoth, bully, thief: how the English language is taking over the planet | News | The Guardian

The international hegemony of English is indeed troubling, as is the tentacular presence of American culture. Vive la différence! That said, mastery of the lingua franca within a nation, English in England, French in France and so on, would seem to me to be a fitting intellectual project, if not a requirement (but let us be compassionate here) for those aspiring to citizenship.

Let us not forget Goethe’s aphoristic injunction:

“Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiß nichts von seiner eigenen.”

(He who cannot speak languages other than his own, knows nothing of his own. Goethe: Maxim 91)

Personally, I have no time for the zealous indignation of the lawyer who arrogantly sought to upbraid those speaking Spanish (thug and fool), but perhaps still less for the angry herd that subsequently persecuted him (thugs, fools and creatures of the crowd). America seems unwell. 

Some very interesting points are raised in the article below, admittedly not for the first time, but the timing of their exposition nevertheless seems appropriate, in this troubled world, with its conflicting bogus certitudes and their crassly indignant advocates.


The long read: No language in history has dominated the world quite like English does today. Is there any point in resisting?
— Read on

Conscience before consciousness – TheTLS

The letter referring to “cerebral Macron” and setting his average mind alongside the grandeur of that of De Gaulle is amusing. It stands no comparison, of course. That on Kant is also good, as is the principal letter on the rehabilitation of synderesis. A good start to the day here in St.Martin, as the neighbours turn on their swimming pool cleaner to drive away the serenity of the early morning. LJ

Conscience before consciousness – TheTLS
— Read on

From Satire III, by John Donne

Let him ask his; though truth and falsehood be
Near twins, yet truth a little elder is;
Be busy to seek her; believe me this,
He’s not of none, nor worst, that seeks the best.
To adore, or scorn an image, or protest,
May all be bad; doubt wisely; in strange way
To stand inquiring right, is not to stray;
To sleep, or run wrong, is. On a huge hill,
Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will
Reach her, about must and about must go,
And what the hill’s suddenness resists, win so.
Yet strive so that before age, death’s twilight,
Thy soul rest, for none can work in that night.
To will implies delay, therefore now do;
Hard deeds, the body’s pains; hard knowledge too
The mind’s endeavours reach, and mysteries
Are like the sun, dazzling, yet plain to all eyes.


Dans la masse de la littérature dédiée au parcours victorieux de l’équipe de France, que n’avons-nous pas lu ? Dans le flot des paroles dites, à cet effet, à travers la télévision et la radio, que n’avons-nous pas entendu ?
— Read on

Des cygnes noirs sur les marais salants à Ars en Ré


The sun has fallen and it lies in blood.
The moon is weaving bandages of gold.
O black swan, where, oh, where is my lover gone?
Torn and tattered is my bridal gown,
And my lamp is lost, and my lamp is lost.

With silver needles and with silver thread,
The stars stitch a shroud for the dying sun.
O black swan, where, oh, where has my lover gone?
I had given him a kiss of fire,
And a golden ring, and a golden ring.

Don’t you hear your lover moan?
Eyes of glass and feet of stone,
Shells for teeth and weeds for tongue,
Deep, deep, down in the river’s bed,
He’s looking for the ring.
Eyes wide open, never asleep,
He’s looking for the ring, looking for the ring.

The spools unravel and the needles break,
The sun is buried and the stars weep.
O black wave, O black wave, take me away with you.
I will share with you my golden hair,
And my bridal crown, and my bridal crown.

Oh, take me down with you
Take me down to my wand’ring lover
With my child unborn, with my child unborn.

Le grand café (Charles Trenet & Georges Brassens)

Le Grand Café

Au Grand Café vous êtes entré par hasard
Tout ébloui par les lumières du boul’vard
Bien installé devant la grande table
Vous avez bu, quelle soif indomptable
De beaux visages fardés vous disaient bonsoir
Et la caissière se levait pour mieux vous voir
Vous étiez beau vous étiez bien coiffé
Vous avez fait beaucoup d’effet
Beaucoup d’effet au Grand Café.

Comme on croyait que vous étiez voyageur
Vous avez dit des histoires d’un ton blagueur
Bien installé devant la grande table
On écoutait cet homme intarissable
Tous les garçons jonglaient avec Paris-Soir
Et la caissière pleurait au fond d’son tiroir
Elle vous aimait, elle les aurait griffés
Tous ces gueulards, ces assoiffés
Ces assoiffés du Grand Café.

Par terre on avait mis de la sciure de bois
Pour que les cracheurs crachassent comme il se doit
Bien installé devant la grande table
Vous invitiez des Ducs, des Connétables
Quand on vous présenta, soudain, l’addition
Vous avez déclaré : Moi, j’ai pas un rond.
Cette phrase-là produit un gros effet
On confisqua tous vos effets
Vous étiez fait au Grand Café.

Depuis ce jour, depuis bientôt soixante ans
C’est vous l’chasseur, l’commis de restaurant
Vous essuyez toujours la grande table
C’est pour payer cette soirée lamentable
Ah, vous eussiez mieux fait de rester ailleurs
Que d’entrer dans ce café plein d’manilleurs
Vous étiez beau, le temps vous a défait
Les mites commencent à vous bouffer
Au Grand Café, au Grand Café.