Tuesday, December 26, 2006

American Culture’s French Connection -- NY Times

Why isn't there an AmericanCulture.org? The answer from France.

American Culture's French Connection
Published: December 26, 2006
In "Culture in America," Frédéric Martel challenges the view that (French) culture financed by the government is good and that (American) culture shaped by market forces is bad.... Reviewing the book in Le Monde, Michel Guerrin and Emmanuel de Roux also said its strength lay in its emphasis on investigation over opinion. And another article in Le Monde took the American cultural statistics collected by Mr. Martel and compared them with similar figures for France. Its unexpected conclusion was that measured per capita the cultural infrastructures in the two countries were roughly similar... The first half of "Culture in America" — the title echoes Tocqueville's own "Democracy in America" — is built around a question that puzzles some French: Why doesn't the United States have a Culture Ministry?...He seemed to be looking forward to a fight. "That's why my book is about France," he said, "while being about America."