Paperback ✓ WTF?! MOBI å

Paperback ✓ WTF?! MOBI å

WTF?! ➪ WTF?! Read ➲ Author Olivier Magny – With Stuff Parisians Like Olivier Magny shared his hilarious insights into the  fervently held opinions of his fellow Parisians Now he moves beyond the City of Light to skewer the many idiosyncrasies With Stuff Parisians Like Olivier Magny shared his hilarious insights into the  fervently held opinions of his fellow Parisians Now he moves beyond the City of Light to skewer the many idiosyncrasies that make modern France so very uniueIn France the simple act of eating bread is an exercise in creative problem solving and attempting to spell reuires a degree of masochism But that’s just how the French like it—and in WTF Oliver Magny reveals the France only the French know From the latest trends in baby names to the religiously observed division of church and state prepare yourself for an insider's look at French culture that is surprising insightful and chock full of bons motsINCLUDES PHOTOGRAPHS .

10 thoughts on “WTF?!

  1. Trish Trish says:

    How impoverished would the world be without the French? Olivier Magny whose ualification to expound upon the French way of life is without ualification he was born in France grew up in France and runs a business in France pokes some fun love of Nutella love of rap music inability to dance but mixes in surprisingly astute social and political commentary on the nature and attitudes of the French for those of us who do not travel there freuently Arising from the success of Magny’s blog and an earlier book called Stuff Parisians Like this book carries his cultural introductions further and deeperMagny shares some of what he considers the most beautiful places in France pointing out the wide range of regions and styles “Whether you’re drawn to beautiful beaches mountains hills plains lakes river cold water or warm water dry weather or wet weather arid vegetation or lush forests chances are France has it somewhere” Which makes us especially curious when he tells us that Anglo Saxons comprising Great Britain and America and often New Zealand Australia and Canada are lumped into one category of human that the French have no need nor any desire to examine in detail Les Anglo Saxons are to blame for most of the drinking and warmongering in the world but also have admirable business practices good universities and research By analogy perhaps we shouldn’t be lumping “the French” in anything like a monolithic categorySince the inception of Vatican II France went from beingthe first child of the Catholic Church to being one of the least religious countries on earth Among the general public the Church went from being viewed as a profoundly respected and heeded institution to being an inaudible and uestionable organizationthe tremendous surge of Islam is a response to the collapse of the Catholic ChurchWhile official reports continue to claim that Catholicism is still the number one religion in France—which happens to be impossible to prove since the French state is prohibited from keeping such statistics—there is no doubt that if it is still the case which is unlikely it won’t be for longIn another section Magny tries to explain the rise of the far right nationalist party in France Many Western countries are experiencing the same phenomenon and the phrases Magny uses to describe “the switch over to the extreme right” has many parallels in the US We are not alone then in our population's severe disaffection with politicians in government and the media’s horrorstricken and ineffectual analyses Magny's discussion deepens our understanding of how flattening the wealth pyramid has worked out in FranceThis book is meaty considering the essays max out at three or four pages for each topic and is unfailingly interesting After a few serious topics including immigration police and three sections on taxes Magny returns to a lighter note discussing the haircuts of older women pessimism divorce TV debates how speaking English is now cool and the comment thread in online communication Absolutely surprising was the low rate to me of daily wine consumption in France and the fact that younger French are being influenced by America’s fascination with wine to drink it in greater amounts And the omnipresence of yogurt in every refrigeratorMost of us remember a hunger for French panache and elegance in design and style but Magny tells us that has changed in France these days “Aiming high has become suspicious” and therefore folks are looking for value and convenience It is an absolute change in focus uality and lifestyle that changes the meaning of France for many of us “France is the worst country to make money in but is the best one to spend it in” This statement opens the door to yet another discussion of taxes and how “very few people are sitting on a very large stack of cash Savings and generational wealth are almost unheard of in France” This extraordinary collection of essays is completely engrossing to someone tangentially acuainted with France and its systems Magny must have some critics The we know the we'd be able to critiue this work Can all France's problems be laid at the feet of a leftist mentality in education and government? The best thing this book does is make us look really look at France with a uestioning eye We aren't tourists anyMagny takes a stab at examining the real roots of cultural change Many essays include suggestions for further online research into French taxes governance music film and TV celebrities suggestions given with the euivalent of a Gallic shrug “If you don’t believe me check it out for yourselves and make up your own mind” Thought provoking and much deeper in tone than I was expecting from a book of this type the book should spur some discussion and counter theories by others who have some experience living and working in France Intriguing easy to read and worth seeking out Makes great conversation starters if one is going to France

  2. Margaret Margaret says:

    Parts of this book particularly the beginning were hilarious However the end of the book kind of dissolved into conservative railings against the system

  3. Biblio Files (takingadayoff) Biblio Files (takingadayoff) says:

    I thought I knew what to expect with WTF? What the French since I had read Olivier Magny's previous book Stuff Parisians Like That book was taken from his blog which explains the uirks fads preferences habits and attitudes of Parisians In a couple of pages per topic Magny described how Parisians cross busy streets that they love cherry tomatoes how they judge each other by their license plates and so on It was fun and superficial bite sized chunks of amusing commentary from a Parisian who realizes that many of us while in love with Paris are often completely baffled by itWTF started out in this vein discussing French dancing the many uses of the phrase ca va the rules of snacking between meals Then suddenly there's an essay about the overwhelming leftism of French teachers and professors A little later a chapter on the disappearance of national borders and the loss of sovereignty in France Globalization and political correctness excessive taxation on small businesses the author owns a wine bar in Paris high crime rates and lax judges all rate a uick rantMagny's take on even the less important subjects starts to take on a crotchety tone Middle aged women wear unflattering haircuts he says Men in France are too effeminate Young people can't spell properly You can't even get a decent hot breakfast in France At first I found this grumpy attitude off putting but then became intrigued Magny is not an old man at all he's in his early thirties I followed up on his footnotes and sources and reading suggestions He seems to have what might be a libertarian view if he were in the US and seems to reject the mainstream parties completely Is he an outlier or is he representative of what many young people throughout the West are thinking? I suspect the latter WTF wasn't at all what I expected and I imagine many people will be misled by the marketing for the book which implies that it is a lighthearted follow up to Stuff Parisians Like It is a different book entirely and I spent time with it and thought about it than I expected to Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for a digital review copy

  4. Ietrio Ietrio says:

    The author is sometimes cheating the reader other times he is a plain ignorantFrance is home to countless terroirs which have been shaped over millennia It is also home to a culture that recognizes appreciates and sometimes even reveres them Anyone who has traveled extensively through France can grasp the tremendous variety in architecture cuisine wine accents crops sports and cultural references from one French region to the next Normandy is immediately and irremediably distinguishable from Alsace in the same way that Provence is different from Brittany or Corsica from the AlpsMost terroirs do use potatoes Which were not there for millennia the same way foie gras is speculated to have been known to the ancient egyptians and romans but was not uite common till recently And even if you accept the lie of the millennial tradition of the foie gras it was goose liver and not the duck of todayAnd the regions are different because of the distance And of the fact that they were at a time or another belonging to different countries It is the same intelligent way of putting things as remarking that China can be uite different from Germany in mysterious waysGo to Normandy and your intake of Calvados and cider will automatically increaseOnly if you are an alcoholic And many Frenchmen areVisit Brittany and crêpes will be your passage obligéStill the same boring menu you will get from a creperie bretonne anywhere from Paris to Martiniue Using the traditional breton recipe with Polish canned smoked salmonHead to Marseille bouillabaisse and rosé wine will most likely be on the menuAnd unless ordered the night before most probably it will be the canned supermarket varietyFrance does not have a puritanical tradition and so culturally nudity is fineI laughed my off Take a newspaper Any Read about how Miss France went out seins nudes meaning she wasn't wearing a bra 40 degrees celsius104 fahrenheit in the shadows? Women will sweat like farm animals wearing padded bras a shirt and maybe a second shirt on top Go to a liberal beach the topless girl might be speaking French very well but she is German or Russian Back in the 1970s and even the early 1980s it was still common for the doctors to perform abortions without anesthesia as a moral correction And that is the liberal France Go closer to the Catholic communities and you'll be getting closer to the most fanatical Mormons In the last years Femen have tried the nudity only as far as topless in Paris and they were beaten some even lost teethConseuently should you find yourself hitting a French changing room such as at the swimming pool or gym be prepared to see some skinSure That is why around pools one will see plenty of women with wet blouses because of the swimming costume never discarded So they get to the changing room they show some skin than they put back the wet garments and go like that about afterwardsCompared with Americans French people eat dinner lateOnly when dining out Otherwise you will see the supermarket crowding at about 5 o'clock only to empty at about 6 o'clock as everybody is eating Things do change in and around Paris or on the Swiss borders as the proportion of state employees getting home at 3 or 4 in the afternoon is lower and many are still at work at 5 Go further away and even the traffic is lighter at 6 o'clockWith your typical French dinner starting between seven thirty and nine pmAt 9 o'clock you can see the TVs working Most places even in tourist areas say Arles will refuse to take your order at 9 Do you want to continue your talk after say 918 in the evening? You can go sit on the curb because the personnel is already cleaning I have met people born and raised on the French Riviera that were shocked that in Spain you restaurants are still open at 10 Here the most adventurous McDonalds close at midnight but that is the drive the restaurant closes at 10And all because the indoctrinated amateur writer has an axe to grindIt is virtually impossible to have a conversation with a French gauchiste They are absolutists They are right and you are wrongStill a peasant boy gathering data from tourist magazinesIt is fair to state that many outdoor spaces in France are uite manicuredNo Go to Austria Get into Switzerland And the french outdoors are uite dirty Less plastic bottles and tin cans than in India but still dirtyBottom line a French nationalist believing in the conspiracy theory building stories not on experience but on his own dreams induced by the school system France is not a person And his reading preferences? Pierre Hillard How cuteFrance has been pushed around for a few decades and its people therefore understandably live in a constant state of anxiety An aggressive France is a suffering France

  5. Shaun Shaun says:

    Great little book about “la moderne francais” and their many foibles Viva la francais

  6. Maggie Nambot (macarons & paperbacks) Maggie Nambot (macarons & paperbacks) says:

    This book gave me serious homesickness for France The author is a French native and who is all too familiar with the embarrassing and frustrating cultural barriers that can happen when one visits France Although I thought WTF? What the French was an enlightening and entertaining read I’d recommend it to people who have visited or are planning to visit France You will probably appreciate this book much if you can compare the author’s opinions with your own personal anecdotesThe book is divided into 50 short chapters each dealing with a specific topic ranging from pop culture to food to politics Some of these topics are comedic and will cause you to laugh out loud than once while others offer insight into current political events in FranceHere were some of the most noteworthy chapters for me – If you aren’t too accustomed with French people you may think they’re seriously annoyed when they let a small huff of air out of their mouths Chances are it’s only mild annoyance but it has become one of my favorite French things to imitateLa Rando – Especially where I lived in the French Alps family hikes are common weekend or even late afternoon activities There are plenty of small walking routes to be found and sometimes you even discover medieval castles on your journey“The French like to walk around with no precise goal other than that of enjoying life”Ça Va C’est Pas Possible – The two most used phrases in the French languageThe English – Despite what you may have heard from friends who have visited France French people are very welcoming and hospitable and I’ve encountered many natives who will switch to English when they speak with you or who will be patient and helpful when you’re trying to practice your FrenchEating Rules – The 4 hour French meal is not an exaggerationI can’t tell you how many times I was laughing out loud while reading WTF? What the French I would constantly stop to reread chapters aloud to my French husband who would proceed to confirm the author’s opinion by doing the exact thing laid out in the chapter Then we’d both laugh and talk about how much we miss our colorful expressive France I only wish this book had been written before I moved to la France in 2012; it would have helped me adapt to and fall in love with the culture much earlierRead This Book Ifyou’re a francophileyou are open minded to learning about new culturesyou’ve ever experience a culture barrieryou enjoy books about food and travel

  7. Catharine Catharine says:

    I previously read Stuff Parisians Like by the same author which I initially found amusing but I soon became rather frustrated with what I perceive as the author's sexism as that book went onAs a Brit who has spent nearly a uarter of a century in France I have an interest in books that cover France as seen 'anthropologically' so I then went on to read What The French While some chapters are insightful and amusing bises aperitif yoghurt etc hence the two stars as I carried on reading I became increasingly disturbed by the author's far right views I dreaded turning the page to see what the next chapter was about in the event it would provide him for a platform to spout his political views eg on immigration Ironically towards the end in the chapter about the press he derides the concept of left vs right but 1 whenever he mentions Socialists or the left wing the words rampant teacher journalist or Soviet are never very far; 2 many of the media sources he cites are notoriously conservative and right wing eg La Croix Le Figaro In my opinion it didn't seem like his choice of source material was very well balanced More worryingly in chapters like The Rise of the Front National or Immigration he attempts to play down the far right tendencies of said political party or states that Le Grand Remplacement a xenophobic conspiracy theory invented by a far right sympathiser is a realitySo if you're a catholic conservative with right wing tendencies and want to read a book of sweeping generalisations about France written by a young Frenchman with similar tendencies do buy this book Otherwise as the French say passez votre chemin and read one of the many other better books available on France

  8. Rachel Parmentier Wood Rachel Parmentier Wood says:

    Really disappointed in this Purchased as humor and over half of the little essays are not funny at all It's very political and negative which is exactly what I was trying to escape when I picked it up Stick to the fun chapters apéro goûter and skip the rest For full disclosure I am a French expat

  9. Rob Rob says:

    The whole purpose of a look at the cultural s of an entire country and particularly one as complex and multifaceted as France is that it observes and explains maybe even deciphers a number of situations so that the reader can have some idea of what to find on visiting that country It can never avoid the fact that it is being written by a subjective person or persons but it can try and lay some kind of claim for credibility so that this reader on arrival can start to compare and contrast their own experiences with what they have read Then it would be a guide an aide voyager a teacherThis book however is a diatribe concocted by someone who I presume from the info on offer is an accomplished wine expert and entrepreneur married to an American wife who one can imagine played a substantial role in shaping the sentences in their search for the Holy Grail of witty diatribe The problem is that the words we use sketch the thoughts behind them and the things we omit leave the true residue in the mind of the reader And this diatribe by a supposedly open minded thinker is full of so many closed minded ill considered dead end comments that it starts to truly irritate It is also a diatribe bemoaning the loss of a past Eden that is written by a thirty something year old who sounds truly Old Before His TimeThere are some things he states in this jeremiad dressed up as entertainment that are not really debatable France is in rather a mess at the moment caught between self interest on the part of many individuals and the national interest and a need to redefine its space in the world and its industries It is like all wealthy developed countries currently failing its young of all backgrounds But the answers being put forward by its industrialists many of whom are ensconced in the seductive honey trap of multinational tax avoidance are all rather simplistic and self serving let me take over I know how to do it What is it then? I can't say just let me do it This is the international language of the privileged assuming they know better a prioriThe focus on race religion and the ability to speak the language the way it used to be spoken are the main concerns here It becomes crushingly obvious and manages to let the air out of many otherwise useful observations The links in lieu of footnotes often lead to tendentious articles from highly slanted organs like atlanticofr The use of everyone and most people and the overwhelming majority think without basis is a clear sign of the input having come from a fairly limited set of influences One chapter gushes on about the concept of convivialité as something truly French and untranslatable without ever checking up on that far from uncommon English term convivial Indeed one can throw many darts at British culture for things it lacks but the conviviality of the pub and even the steak and kidney pie or Sunday roast served there is not something that's on the declineI was reading this book last week on a flight to Paris and the following day had by chance a short conversation with a gentleman catching the Metro His father had been a policeman in Algeria forced into exile because of having helped the colonial power there The family was now based in France and Spain They are all seen as Muslims and thrown into a single sack that covers everything from sub Saharan Africans to Arabs to South East Asians to people from the old Soviet Union Indeed in the eyes of some they are merely a nuisance and terrorists That's their recompense for being groomed as evoluésThe blinkered viewpoint of those like Magny who simply focus on percentages and relative rises when talking about immigrant population is that they ignore the human beings at the heart of the story Are there problems with crime? Undoubtedly Are there too many disaffected youths willing to immolate themselves with innocent targets? Likewise Is the answer the Front Nationale and a return to what it meant to be French in a non existent bygone age? Highly unlikely Is there too much taxation? Maybe Does taxation serve a purpose? Indeed it does and one could even argue that above all it serves the entrepreneurs who are gifted a or less stable economy and a suitably buoyant middle class But my point here isn't to preach at anyone In fact it's the opposite People have their beliefs and they are entitled to them Sometimes those beliefs evolve What is truly important is to understand and feel and apply the values that underlie them Embezzlement is embezzlement whoever does it Free speech is not about repeating loaded canards from the past but about being willing to articulate one's desires honestly Ignoring the desires of the people who do not have your background or beliefs means that this is not a guide to the French at all It is a guide to one particular sector of the FrenchAlso telling is the use of so many epithets as if these terms summed up the person or their acts The figure of the bobo or bourgeois boheme supposedly the most hated form of bourgeois in France is a case in point These are the people known as champagne socialists in other countries They are used as an Emmanuel Goldstein figure see Orwell's 1984 by people of privilege to rustle up support among the underprivileged Their crime? To advocate fairness of opportunity distribution of resources but also appreciation of sophisticated artculturecuisine Leftists with good jobs Insofar as they don't do the job they're being paid for they are indeed execrable or indeed if they buy themselves €40000 watches partly in undeclared cash but if they are good at their job where is the problem? And why the hatred? But when I looked up one of Magny's linked articles on atlanticofr the one on taxes on people earning capital than wages just below it was an excoriating article on this figure of the bobo These are old moves transparently self serving and presented without any insight other than the pejorative And while we're at it one of my pet peeves as an enjoyer of wine is the way that restaurants often mark up the bottles so much that what they are earning is 7 or 8 times what the company that made the wine in the first place is making Indeed they often price reasonable bottles out of the range of their less well heeled diners The argument wielded by restaurants is that they make no money on the food and have to make it on the wine an argument that I find a little spurious if they are scaring potential wine drinkers off to the water or beer menu but okay let's let it sit over there for a moment Olivier Magny as he points out and indeed plugs owns two wine bars in Paris both of which look very attractive and which offer a large number of wines by the glass which I'm all for However here as wine bars the issue of the loss making food would not be applicable although they do offer some dishes this is not their main source of earnings However a uick glance at the well compiled wine list reveals that the mark up on the bottles starts at 3 4 times the retail price and goes up to 5 6 times on some bottles I'm sure these two places are indeed expensive to run and I haven't seen how small they might be and I don't in any way begrudge people making money on good ideas or good products or plenty of added value or even really nice locations but this is a pretty big margin being made on the back of someone else's expertise using the general lack of knowledge of wine prices or of wine in general I am sure he would have plenty of arguments to offer in his favour I in turn would say that I can see myself on my next visit to Paris going to one or other of these wine bars and enjoying their excellent range But there are two sets of interests here They may fall into compatibility because I can say what the hell and disregard my peeve and just pay Magny will make money from me But to my mind it will still be an inefficient transaction a bare minimum deal probably one that isn't repeated as many times as it could be And this between two players who understand the same sphere Now take that thought and apply it to all the different interests pullulating around the multifaceted nation that is FranceI think Magny to write this kind of book I don't include his books on wine or Paris in this admonishment although I haven't read them so who knows? really has to get out and talk to different kinds of people

  10. Dana Clinton Dana Clinton says:

    In France bread is so intrinsically part of everyday life that the relationship to it is entirely carnal Bread is an extension of the French body and an expression of its undying soul Each day in hundreds of sushi and Chinese restaurants you will find French patrons asking for some bread for no matter how ricey your meal is it's still a meal and therefore calls for some bread The ominous American threat known as carbicide is one that has never crossed any French person's thoughts Olivier Magny in his latest book WTF? What the French makes that comment and as he is French his observations should be accurate However I do know French people who have broken with this bread faith understanding that the delicious soul satisfying baguette has almost no nutritional value at all anyway I picked up this book to read in bits and pieces while I was still at school as it is that kind of easy to put aside and pick up again book It is a series of short observations about French life by a French man married to an American woman I learned a lot of cool tidbits in it recognized much of what he comments on but also feel his sarcasm in politics has a clear point of view that I don't always agree with but then I am not French am I except deep in my psyche Nice book for the Francophiles out there

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