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Spine detected in France

Does this mean I'm going to have to start buying French products?

I read Voltaire in college, and it makes me ask the same question I asked about Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses": How can anyone be offended by this without succumbing to boredom first?

Anyway, some Muslims have managed to be offended anyway, and they protested to stop a reading of Voltaire's "Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet" in a small town near the Swiss border. The town stood firm, however, and refused to be intimidated.

Now that tempers have calmed, Mayor Bertrand says he is proud his town took a stand by refusing to cave in under pressure to call off the reading. Free speech is modern Europe's "foundation stone," he says. "For a long time we have not confirmed our convictions, so lots of people think they can contest them."

He does have one regret: He found the play, five acts in archaic verse, "deeply boring."


When people started the whole, silly, "Boycott French Stuff" flap a few years ago, I was very excited by it. Surely, I thought, this would lower the price of French wine when the demand fell and I would be able to stuff my cellar to the joists above for years to come with fine French grape juice at an astonishingly low price.

But the dollar fell like a rock and there were no bargains to be had. Please, Barry, get that boycott of French stuff going stronger, would you? Although the California pinots are unsurpassed, and there is no place for a red zin like Australia, you still can't beat a French burgundy or cab. You bunch of conservative slackers have been buying French wines through intermediaries, haven't you? I'll bet that's what you've been doing. Stop it right now and do a proper boycott. I want that wine and I want it cheap!


By the way, I saw a film clip of a congressman on TV the other day announcing that the cafeteria at the Capitol would be serving only "Liberty Fries" and "Liberty Toast". I hadn't remembered that the guy who got all that air time from it was none other than "Representative Number One" from the Abramoff indictment, the fellow who had to resign his post as chairman of the House Administration Committee, Bob Ney (OH-18).

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