American guns, French cigarettes

In the USA, roughly speaking, everybody has a gun.  This big awful fact stares you in the face. Europeans find it inexplicable. It’s just so obvious, why don’t the Americans prohibit these killing machines?

In France, roughly speaking, everybody smokes. I’ve arrived for a year, and it’s strange how this fact feels similar.  Americans find it incomprehensible. It’s just so obvious, why don’t the French just quit?

I feel oddly optimistic about these pathologies. Eventually, sloppily, rationality more or less prevails. The Americans will lose their guns one day, and the French will lose their cigarettes. But it will take generations, for habits steep into us, and we come to feel they are part of our identity. I’m sitting outside a bar right now in Vieux Lyon, smoke all around, and the very smokiness adds to that agreeable feeling of Frenchness.

[24 Oct 2017]

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2 thoughts on “American guns, French cigarettes

  1. Seems we are contemplating similar issues from different perspectives. One small step forward on guns in America, is the exhibition we are currently putting together at SAQA titled, Guns: Loaded Conversations. The entries will be submitted to the juror to select from tomorrow with the accepted artists being publicized in December. No surprise there are entries dealing with Stoneybrook, Pulse, Las Vegas, Trayvon, guns in homes, domestic abuse and yes, hunting, childhood games of cowboys and Indians, and skeet shooting. The exhibit will open at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles on April 22, 2018.

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