Raw fish, literature, and singing Frenchmen

I won’t even attempt to encapsulate last evening’s events: Renée has it pretty well covered. As I’m trying to drum up interest in her new site, head on over to schubert’s Nose while I sit here patiently and whip up some more Christmassy BeatnikPad decorations.

All done? I will add that I’m stupid for sushi and goobbled up all of the rolls, sashimi and monkfish liver in front of me like a true gluttonous idiot. I passed on the complimentary fish head, however; one does have to have their fishy limits. Your food should never have the eyes to look at you.

I’ve updated The Great Perusal 2001 with a contribution from Swede Nicklas Andersson. Take a peek at his choices for the ten best reads of 2001, and then add your picks to the list. Good books deserved to be shared.

Just indulging in a lazy, couch-riding, television-staring Friday evening, something I don’t feel one bit guilty about.

Work has been exceptionally nutty the last three weeks or so, made worse by the glaucoma and its incessant demands for frequent eye breaks. Being a Web designer with glaucoma is an exercise in perpetual annoyance, but even with looming deadlines, the eyes win every time.

On tv tonight was a show that constantly reminds me of just how different the Canadian French are compared to us Anglophones. They truly do have their own, distinct culture, and the show La Fureur (literally “The Fury”) is an undeniable example of this.

It’s basically a game show crossed with a weird, French version of Solid Gold. The audience and participants are split up into boys and girls (“Les Gars et Les Filles”). and everyone looks fashionable and beautiful and animated. An equally perky, pretty host posses questions about Quebec and Anglophone music, and the object of the game is to answer correctly.

But, there’s go-go dancers, strobe lights, and the big catch of the show: after the participants respond, everyone jumps into an incredibly enthusiastic rendition of the song (including the host). It’s like this big battle of the sexes karaoke match, only with atrocious Quebec pop music instead of atrocious Anglo pop, and lots of REALLY, really enthusiastic audience members. I read somewhere that it’s the most popular Quebec show on TV right now - they’ve even done specials in France and apparently have a pretty strong following there, too.

cheeseballWhat really shocked me was the discovery that there’s an Italian version of La Fureur called “La Furore” or something like that. It’s straight from Italy and even more bizarre than La Fureur, mainly because all of the women look like plasticized Blonde models with gigantic breasts and skimpy dresses; all pouty and pneumatic and breasts busting out everywhere. The men are all three-buttons short of being properly dressed and have lots of chest hair. I know this is a horrific stereotype, but at least in the episodes I saw, it was true - they really did look like Tony Mareno look-alikes.

I’ve heard rumblings that some idiot is going to try to emulate La Fureur’s wild Quebeçois success with an English version. You know what? It’s just like FoodTV’s attempts to bring The Iron Chef over to North America - they’re bound to fail. Part (or most) of the reason why these shows are so popular in the first place is their strangeness and exoticness, and to some extent our inability to view anything without processing it through our highly attuned irony filters.

With the Anglo-cized versions, something will be blandified and lost in the translation. That, truly, will be the legacy of Anglo North American attempts to integrate other culture’s po-mo gems: pop banality, blandness, and William Shatner bellowing, “Iron Chef!”

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