Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

I am a genius


Obviously, I mean the opposite. I am regularly reminded how dumb I am. Let’s see if you are sharper than I am (I am fully expecting that to be the case).

Here are some signs from an area I frequently find myself walking around. While walking, I am generally listening to my iPod but I make note of all the street signs so that I can assign them to the map I am making in my head.

The first one jumped out at me because my attention is always drawn to American or Spanish things.

Paris Rue de Madrid

Then I noticed a street called Edinburgh because I’d never considered how it was pronounced in French.

Paris Rue d'Edimbourg

Hey, Naples! I’ve been there!

Paris Rue de Naples

Oh, Vienna — I’ve got to go there.

Paris Rue de Vienne

Eventually, I was reminded that Istanbul is not Constantinople.

Paris Rue de Constantinople

And all the while I was walking along and crossing over Rue de Rome, a major street in northwest Paris.

Paris Rue de Rome

Finally, it hit me as I neared the Métro station, one I’d used many times.

Paris Europe metro sign

All the streets in the area were named after European cities and I’d only just put that together because I am a ginormous moron. This is way worse than rabies since there is no thinking required, just basic sentience.

Seriously, I am way dense sometimes

The other week, GONE WITH THE WIND was playing in the cinema and I went to see it. I have easily seen the film at least two dozen times and read the book, all 1024 pages, twice. I hadn’t ever seen it projected though, which possibly explains why I had never realized that the “political meeting” many of the men attend “to protect [the] womenfolk” is actually a Klan gathering to go burn out a shantytown full of freed slaves.

It ain’t easy being this dumb.

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

8 thoughts on “I am a genius

  1. Don’t be too hard on your self…we all have these moments…(Suzanne)

    • Thanks, but I have these moments a lot more than I think I should. Maybe the problem is that I want to be smarter than I am? Or I think that I should be? Regardless, it’s really frustrating. (But I’m glad I’m not the only one.)

  2. My speciality is misreading something – and then seeing it like that for weeks or years until the awful day when I open my mouth and reveal my inability to read. An example in French: the first time I glanced at a sign reading “chantier interdict au …public” I thought was a joke and meant “no singing in public”. Well, maybe the site was right next to an office or a silent convent. It made sense to me at the time…

  3. Oh, I never thought the the scene in ‘Gone with the Wind’ was related to the KKK. Not all acts of violence perpetrated by whites post-Civil War were organised by the actual Klan itself.

    But now I’ve gone down the rabbit hole, and Wikipedia alleges that it was indeed the KKK. However, I’d like to see that backed up by an actual, verified source. Again: let’s just remember that a majority of Southerners were never affiliated with the Klan in any fashion.

    • Not all southerners were Klansmen but people who fought for the Confederacy and lamented how their way of life and their slaves were taken from them most certainly were.

      The book and the movie express seriously messed up (by contemporary standards) ideals and all the characters (except Rhett who was shunned by that society and adopted a more modern capitalist mentality) think that life was better before the war and are disappointed that their birth rights were taken from them. All those dudes were definitely in the Klan and, considering how many of them had been officers in the war, they were probably leaders. It’s pretty upsetting to think about.

      Still, one must appreciate things with an understanding of history / context. I mean, GWTW won the Pulitzer Prize (!!!), something that it most certainly wouldn’t these days.

      • I’m still not 100% sure that the men going off were donning white capes; I think it was more of a lynch mob (which doesn’t always equate to KKK.)

        For my book club I recently read ‘Keepers of the House’, which won the Pulitzer in the 1960s; it’s about race, too. Makes sense that it would’ve won it during that time period, just like GWTW.

        Speaking of GWTW: http://jezebel.com/theres-a-new-gone-with-the-wind-book-about-mammy-pe-1553069852

      • I saw this in the NYT where they had a photo of the author that made me think he might not be the best person to channel the character of Mammy. Of course, that same story claims that Mammy was a “central character” despite not having agency nor any impact on the plot.

        As to your point about capes, I don’t know enough about the KKK to say for certain, but I don’t think all their attacks were in full costume. The capes were more of a dramatic element (also meant to hide identities, obvs) worn when they might be seen. If they were going in under the cover of darkness, as was the case in GWTW, I don’t think dressing up in white would have been the way to go. They were seasoned soldiers who would have known that a sneak attack in the woods would be best done in dark clothing (which they’re all wearing when they come home).

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