Ideas and pictures

Does anyone besides me adore this photo? It’s Robert Doisneau’s work, as I’m sure some of you know.


The statue is the War Memorial, the “Monument aux Morts de Monpazier, Paris, created in August of 1967. The photo is from the studio of Robert Doisneau.

There are some pictures I never seem to get over, and this is now one of them, seen for the first time today while walking in Paris. The images that seem to have become a part of me. I’m looking at another one right now, posted up over our kitchen sink here in Paris, this one, the Manège du jardin des Tuileries, from Izis, also in Paris of 1950.


I’m sure I’m not different from others in that certain pictures assume a big place in my, well what, my brain, my heart, we really don’t have a word for it do we, for where we store our pictures other than in our memories which in my own case are not all that reliable.

But I’m no less sure that we don’t all like the same pictures. I just learned that my wife doesn’t like, or doesn’t appreciate Doisneau’s War Memorial, and when I mentioned sending it to our grandson she immediately was frightened (that’s not the right word, I haven’t yet found the right word) by the idea that I’d be placing, as it were, by sending the picture, a gun in my grandson’s hands, and to do what, to shoot down birds.

When I noticed the Doisneau picture postcard today while walking in Paris, near the Odéon, I had just started to count the instances of what I see as the failures of the French. For example, just from the time of our arrival yesterday in Paris I was witness to two of them, and alas!, the same two I had witnessed on earlier occasions. And the one that is still there today, visible to all to see, has always been there, at least in my more than 50 years of coming to Paris.

Need a new paragraph for this one. Up on what I will call the Panthéon Hill, at 10 Place du Panthéon, there is a state run library, the Bibliothéque Sainte-Geneviève. And outside the library there are now, as in past years, long lines of university students waiting to be permitted entry. Can you imagine hundreds of students waiting in line outside of Widener Library waiting to be allowed to do, what, read a book, look up a paper, study! Well I couldn’t but I witnessed it.

Why is France falling behind, why has France been falling behind for so many years now? Could it be because of time lost waiting in lines? Does remind me of the Soviet Union where I also waited in lines before the fall of that empire.

And the other “failure” was this one. Yesterday morning we arrived at Roissy Charles de Gaulle, hundreds, thousands of us, about 7 a.m. and we started off for the baggage claim and exit, having to pass first by the passport check. Now when we arrived at the check station, the several thousand of us, there were just two active passport checkers, and of course we waited and we waited and we waited. We asked one of the “keep us in line” people walking about if there was a strike of passport checkers. Wouldn’t have surprised us, but she said “no,” adding that “most of checkers were not here today.” Oh…. and once again I said to myself, “pauvre France, you’ll never catch up with America.”

bibliotheque-sainte-genevieve-a-paris-582193Bibliothèque SainteGeneviève

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