37 thoughts on “French Toast”

  1. NY Times:
    Notre-Dame has occupied the heart of Paris for the better part of a millennium, its twin medieval towers rising from the small central island wedged between the storied left and right banks.

    Now, France is burning.

    The fire at Notre-Dame happened on the day that the country’s troubled president, Emmanuel Macron, was supposed to explain how he intended to address the demands of the “Yellow Vest” movement. An anguished, restless nation has struggled to cope with the monthslong uprising and with the frayed social safety net that spurred the protests. Generations that had come to rely on this social safety net, as a matter of national pride and identity, see it going up in smoke.

    On Monday, so was the cathedral, which for centuries has enshrined an evolving notion of Frenchness. The symbolism was hard to miss.

    This fire is not like other recent calamities.

    When flames killed dozens trapped in Grenfell Tower in London, it exposed a scandalous lack of oversight and a city of disastrous inequities. When a bridge collapsed in Genoa, Italy, also taking life, it revealed the consequential greed of privatization and a chronic absence of Italian leadership. When the National Museum of Brazil burned down, also through unconscionable government neglect, it wiped a tangible swath of South American history from the face of the earth, incinerating anthropological records of lost civilizations.

    Notre-Dame, where no one died, represents a different kind of catastrophe, no less traumatic but more to do with beauty and spirit and symbolism.


  2. Jamie, and to that point of dreaming and acting upon it

    wapo:  Notre Dame was in ruins. Victor Hugo’s novel about a hunchback saved it.

    Notre Dame has gone through a lot in its 856 years. It has endured ill-advised remodeling, revolutionary ransacking and pollution-induced decay. Hitler once had it slated for demolition.


    On Monday, fire raged through the cathedral, consuming its roof and causing its central spire to collapse. The full scale of “colossal damage” has yet to be assessed, but French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that the Paris landmark would be rebuilt, and donations to do so began pouring in from some of France’s richest families.



    “Notre Dame of Paris is our history,” Macron said. “The epicenter of our lives. It’s the many books, the paintings, those that belong to all French men and French women, even those who’ve never come.”


    France has rebuilt it before. In the early 1800s, Notre Dame was half-ruined when a writer used the crumbling structure as the setting for one of his greatest works, setting in motion a rescue operation nearly as grand as its original construction.


  3. also from wapo today:

    House Democrats issued subpoenas Monday for records from Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions, seeking information regarding President Trump’s business ventures as several congressional panels took steps to intensify their scrutiny of the president’s personal accounts and corporate dealings.


    The subpoenas, first reported by the New York Times, were issued by the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees, which have been leading the Democrats’ probe of Trump’s finances. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, said in a statement Monday that Trump’s “potential use of the U.S. financial system for illicit purposes is a very serious concern.”


    Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, has also said the panels want to know whether the president’s financial transactions left him susceptible to foreign influence that could compromise his duties as president.

    In a statement Monday, Schiff referred to the Deutsche Bank summons as a “friendly subpoena” — suggesting that the bank may have requested the order before complying with it. A representative for Deutsche Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night, but Schiff added that the bank was working with the panels, noting that he looked “forward to their continued cooperation and compliance.”

    Lawmakers have focused special attention on Deutsche Bank since Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen said Trump provided it with financial records that inflated his assets to secure loans from the company to finance real estate projects and, in one case, to attempt to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. The bank is reported to have played a critical role in sustaining Trump’s real estate empire by providing him critical high-risk loans at a time when the businessman was having difficulty securing funds from other institutions.


    The transactions Trump conducted with the bank are of interest not just to Democratic lawmakers investigating the president. Last month, the New York attorney general also subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank related to loans it had made to Trump’s companies in recent years.


  4. some news from the guardian of the art works salvaged:

    The culture minister, Franck Riester, added that the religious relics saved from the cathedral, including the Crown of Thorns and Saint Louis’s tune, were being held in security at the Hôtel de Ville and the rest of the works of art inside – which had suffered smoke damage – were being taken to the Louvre where they would be dried out, restored and stored.


    He added the three beautiful stained-glass “rose” windows did not appear to be damaged but would be examined more closely when the cathedral had been made safe.


  5. NYT via msn:

    Notre-Dame Will Be Rebuilt, Macron Says, as Fire Is Extinguished

    PARIS — The fire that roared through Notre-Dame has been extinguished, officials said on Tuesday, after President Emmanuel Macron of France vowed to rebuild the cathedral, a beloved symbol of the city for more than eight centuries, and prosecutors began investigating what caused the blaze that badly damaged a world-renowned jewel of Gothic architecture.

    Just hours after the cathedral’s lacy spire and much of its roof collapsed amid leaping flames and smoke on Monday, Mr. Macron stood outside the still-burning structure and said an international effort to raise funds for reconstruction would begin Tuesday.

    “We will rebuild Notre-Dame,” he said. “Because that is what the French expect.”

    The billionaire Pinault family of France pledged 100 million euros, or about $113 million, to the effort, Agence-France Presse reported, and the family of Bernard Arnault, owners of the luxury goods group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, plan to contribute €200 million.


  6. Notre Dame will be rebuilt and possibly restored.  It’s happened before, and it will happen again.  Notre Dame will be fine.  When I see it again I hope it will be as beautiful as it was when I saw it 30 years ago.  It is unfortunate that this fire occurred during Holy Week, but whatcha gonna do?  My guess is that when it is completed the church will appear to be much as it was, but built with modern materials that might stand a chance of lasting another couple hundred years before it needs to be renovated and restored again.

  7. Patd

    Seeing the picture of Notre Dame reminded me of my favorite song from La La Land that still makes me cry when I hear it.  Audition (Fools Who Dream)


  8. Maybe it is time for a new Notre Dame.   Not something living in the dusty and  cleaned up history of the Catholic church.   Maybe something a little more reflective of the church today.

    There could be a scale model of the current structure but how about something completely different.

  9. Maybe it is time for a new Notre Dame. 

    Ya know…   that’s not a bad idea.  Instead of trying to duplicate what’s loss…  make something that reflects today so that people 500 years from now can ooooh and ahhhh at.

    My favorite type of church is the simple churches of the southwest made of adobe.  I feel more spiritual in them than I do ornate churches.

  10. It is an opportunity to see what else might go in the space.

    It could have all the mod cons

  11. We shall rebuild.

    Whaddya mean, “we”, paleface?

    It’s private property, ain’t it? Catholic church?

    That’s a pretty rich outfit, right there

    What, no insurance? Tsk, tsk, tsk …..

  12. Sturg, the Church is still recovering from the incredible mess Pius XII bequeathed it. Between that, and the despicable actions and lack of oversight of segments of its priestly population, I say, What money?

    All of which has nothing to do with this magnificent structure. Me thinks The Buddha will be pleased if the French meet the challenge facing them.


  13. Them calf-licks gots some money tucked away, I know dat………and property, and art, and old stuff…….they ain’t hurting.  But I’m all for them rebuilding, and glad everybody chipping in and all…….I love great god-buildings.  I gotta lots of favorites.

  14. sometimes what starts out as one thing becomes quite another.  it may have been and built only as a church, but it became a work of art and then an embodiment of a nation’s spirit.

    what if the Lincoln memorial were gutted.  would we be saying “It is an opportunity to see what else might go in the space”  or “make something that reflects today  

  15. I might

    We are rethinking a lot of public art and memorials.

    Right now there is a big argument in San Francisco about a wpa mural in a local high school

    It may be that keeping the same is the right thing to do.  Not being willing to even discuss it is definitely the wrong thing to do



  16. brings back the heartbreak of another work of art that started as a religious effort.  wiki:

    The Buddhas of Bamyan (Persian:بت‌های باميانbott-hâye Bāmyān; Pashto: د باميانو بتان‎) were two 6th-century monumental statues of Gautam Buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan,


    They were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols. An envoy visiting the United States in the following weeks said that they were destroyed to protest international aid exclusively reserved for statue maintenance while Afghanistan was experiencing famine,

  17. Let’s not lose the distinction of  art and religious artifacts being destroyed for the purposes of persecution and the opportunity to rethink public art and religious memorials, sometimes because of the history they represent.   They are not the same

  18. usatoday:

    WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders finished ahead of Joe Biden in the first major national poll of the year that did not find the former vice president leading the pack of potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

    When asked whom they would support from a list of 20 candidates – including “someone else” –  29% named Sanders, and 24% named Biden in an Emerson College poll released Monday. They were trailed by South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was the pick of 9% of likely Democratic primary voters.

    California Sen. Kamala Harris and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke each came in at 8%, and 7% picked Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro got 3%, as did entrepreneur Andrew Yang. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker got 2% and the rest of the field got 1% or less.

    Biden has seen his support drop. In February, he led Sanders 27% to 17%, and in March, the two were tied at 26%. Now, Sanders has a 5-point lead,” said Spencer Kimball, director of Emerson Polling.

    “While still early in the nominating process, it looks like Mayor Pete is the candidate capturing voters’ imagination; the numbers had him at 0% in mid-February, 3% in March and now at 9% in April,” Kimball noted.

    The survey is the first of more than three dozen 2020 polls listed by RealClearPolitics dating back to October to show Sanders ahead of Biden, including the Emerson poll in March in which they tied.

    In December, a poll by McLaughlin & Associates found Sanders with a 1-point lead, but RealClearPolitics does not include results from that firm.

    The latest poll from Morning Consult – which posts updates on the 2020 Democratic race every week – indicates the Emerson result could be an outlier. Its survey, based on 12,550 interviews conducted from April 8-14, found Biden with 31% support among Democratic primary voters and Sanders with 23%. Harris finished third at 9%, followed by O’Rourke with 8% and Buttigieg with 7%.


  19. patd…  I am thinking like an artisan and an artist.  If I had artistic skills that someone might want to tap me to say…  replace the stain glass windows…  but I was told that I had to duplicate what was once there…  I’d say no thank you.   That stain glass artist from 800 yrs ago had his vision of god…  I have my own.

    Daniel Chester French made a beautiful statue with the Lincoln Memorial.  If it gets gutted and we want to replace it…   let a new sculptor come up with his/her own version.  Telling an artist to replicate someone else’s work is the opposite of art, IMO.

  20. renee, does that extend to restoration of stuff like the acropolis?  da vinci’s last supper?  repairing chips, chunks and cracks?   or do you mean only that complete reproductions are no-nos?

  21. Parthenon…….now there’s an old God-building for ya

    Dottir sent me some snapshots of the Pantheon ….DAMN cool god-building

  22. patd…  there’s a world of difference between someone that restores and someone that creates art.  Your questions say that you don’t understand creating.   I’m not sure I can help you.


  23. Mr Pogo,
    Mrs Pogo can still see Saint Chapelle and Chartres. They aren’t far from Notre Dame. I studied them a bit in Art History. Both are exquisite. Neither of them had a historic fortune teller like Nostradamus or a fictitious bellringer like the Hunchback, but you can’t have everything.

  24. patd… upon rereading my above statement it sounds snarky…  I didn’t mean for it to come out that way.  It’s just frustrating sometimes trying to explain to someone why I have to do what I do.  I can only relate my own experiences.

    When I was much younger, I wove rugs.  I did learn how to weave in the Navajo style…  but of course, I did not copy their designs…   I did my own designing.  There was a shop that opened up in a neighboring town that sold Persian and Indian (from India) rugs.  The owner had lots of people who wanted their rugs to be restored and someone gave him my name.  He wanted me to work for him restoring rugs badly…  was willing to pay me really good money to do so.   I did have the skills to do it, but I turned him down.  I wanted to create rugs…  not restore someone else’s work.   Because it’s what I not only want… but it’s what I have to do.

    I’m trying to convey how I, as an artist, thinks.  And from that perspective…  I would hope that the French would be willing to allow…  hell, make that welcome…  some living and breathing artists of today to put their stamp on a rebuilt cathedral.

  25. god monuments for our times

    1. A 3,000 foot tall gilded $ sign.

    2. 100 X lifesize trump w/rhinestone skin and eyes (I’m gunna sue ! Those are diamonds and sapphires!)

    shiny brass hair (That’s solid gold ! I’m gunna sue !)

    and a drab green glass jacket (I’m gunna sue ! That’s MY Masters jacket done in real emeralds !)

    In the front are the brazen collection box and the grill for sacrificing Hispanic children that operate the exit.

    3. A gigantic monolith draped in the emerald and diamond effigy of the saudi flag; before it kneels a naked trump, his forehead on the ground. At the rear of the trump there is a place where worshippers can place their noses and receive the henna mark of the true believer.

  26. W/13 M!LL!ON people going to get the Notre Dame experience, the emotion, every year, it is probably in the long term financial interest of the Republic to help restore the magnificence and attractive qualities of the pre-fire building.

    If 31% of the gawkers are foreign, and each spends only $100 in Paris while seeing the Cathedral, that’s $400M!LL!ON/yr. If the tax revenue is 20%, the government take is $80M!LL!ION, so the repay will be complete in only 3 years.

  27. The Pyramids, Egyptian, Middle American and Hindu are ALL fire proof !

    How unfair is that ? trump should make a speech about the unfairness.

  28. XR, great suggestions. I visited Chartres when I was there and agree that it’s a terrific alternative.

    KC, as for me the distinction you note is clear. As to the latter, I have no idea what the church will do with the restoration – whether it will try to restore, recreate or create anew. And I know virtually nothing about the church hierarchy and whether it has any real influence when it comes to such things as restoring iconic burned cathedrals. Has Pope Francis put a statement on ND yet?

  29. Alexandra Petri has what in my opinion is a wonderful piece on the cathedral, its past and possibly its future.

    A great book is burning, one of the greatest ever written.

    That an edifice like Notre Dame Cathedral could survive so much and then, in an instant, by accident, be engulfed in flames and devastated in a matter of hours causes, in 2019, a sensation that is at once harrowing and dully familiar. We assume that things are durable because they have lasted. But in the words of G. K. Chesterton (words that always occur to me at such moments) “to be breakable is not the same thing as to be perishable. Strike a glass and it will not endure an instant; simply do not strike it, and it will endure a thousand years.”

    “A vast symphony in stone,” wrote Victor Hugo of Notre Dame in his novel of the same name. “The colossal work of a man and of a nation,” he continued, “combining unity with complexity, like the Iliads and the Romanceros to which it is a sister production; the prodigious result of a draught upon the whole resources of an era — in which upon every stone is seen displayed, in a hundred varieties, the fancy of the workman disciplined by the genius of the artist — a sort of human Creation, in short, mighty and prolific as the Divine Creation, of which it seems to have caught the double character, variety and eternity.”

    Perhaps the fragility of the durable should be more readily apparent. Nothing is so instantly and painfully scarce as that which used to seem ubiquitous and permanent – the song that one day seems on the radio everywhere, then soon is confined forever to that summer; the toddler spilling beans all over your Facebook feed; Blockbuster Video; Borders Bookstore; your face. You see these things every day; there is no need to capture them. The cathedral looms permanently over the city; it is almost too obvious. You need not capture something so present. Then in an instant the permanent vanishes, and the ephemera is what endures.

    This is why Hugo thought the book would destroy the cathedral. “Now, what immortality is more precarious than that of a manuscript? But a building is quite another book, a substantial and durable one.” Yet the book has not destroyed the cathedral. It has helped save it, has helped make it worth preserving. “In printed form thought is more imperishable than ever: it is volatile, intangible, indestructible; it is in the air we breathe. In the days of architecture, thought became a mountain, and boldly possessed itself of an age or a place. Now it becomes a flock of birds that scatter themselves unto the four winds of heaven, and occupy at once every point of air and space.” And in it, once more, we find the cathedral, preserved in ink, ready to be rebuilt.

    Not her usual fare.

  30. renee, snarkiness is a form of creativity too.  no offence taken.    my comments were meant to be about restoration and repairing what was damaged since most of the edifice is still standing. those examples of deteriorating artifacts (palmyra, parthenon, big buddhas etc like ND) were all religious expressions that became more than that over the centuries.

    had the whole thing tumbled down into a pile of rubble, then yes, welcome the artists’ new visions to the blank canvas and fresh palette on the Île de la Cité.

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