The interview that nearly got Fauci fired 

Science Magazine / Jon Cohen

I know, but what do you want me to do? I mean, seriously Jon, let’s get real, what do you want me to do?

Anthony Fauci, who to many watching the now-regular White House press briefings on the pandemic has become the scientific voice of reason about how to respond to the new coronavirus, runs from place to place in normal times and works long hours. Now, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has even less time to sleep and travels at warp speed, typically racing daily from his office north of Washington, D.C., to his home in the capital, and then to the White House to gather with the Coronavirus Task Force in the Situation Room. He then usually flanks President Donald Trump addressing the media—and when he isn’t there, concerned tweets begin immediately. Shortly before he planned to head to the White House for a task force meeting today, he phoned ScienceInsider for a speedy chat. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: The first question everyone has is how are you?

A: Well, I’m sort of exhausted. But other than that, I’m good. I mean, I’m not, to my knowledge, coronavirus infected. To my knowledge, I haven’t been fired [laughs]. Continue reading “The interview that nearly got Fauci fired “

French Resistance hero Cécile Rol-Tanguy dies at 101

French Resistance member Cecile Rol-Tanguy, who risked her life during World War II by working to liberate Paris from Nazi occupation, has died. She was 101.

Rol-Tanguy died on Friday at her home in Monteaux, in central France, as Europe commemorated the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany to Allied forces. The cause of her death was not disclosed by French officials.

French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Rol-Tanguy on Saturday, calling her a “freedom fighter.”

“It was just what you did,” Cécile Rol-Tanguy told the author Anne Sebba in an interview for The Times in 2014. “I never was afraid in my stomach. If you are, you can’t do anything. If you arrive at a Métro station with the Germans in front of you there’s no point in turning round as there are probably Germans behind you.”

From 1940 to 1944, Rol-Tanguy was a member of the French Resistance, working with her husband, Henri.


Hear Camus’ 1946 lecture: “The Human Crisis” – even more profound today

Albert Camus delivered this lecture on “La Crise de l’homme” in 1946 at Columbia University, on his only trip to the United States. The lecture is presented here in English translation.

““I think my life is of great importance, but I also think it is meaningless.” – Albert Camus

00:20 Introduction by Shanny Peer, Director of the Maison Française
05:35 Introduction by Alice Kaplan, Professor of Yale University
11:50 Reading of ‘The Human Crisis’ by Viggo Mortensen
56:50 Discussion with Viggo Mortensen, Alice Kaplan and Souleymane Bachir Diagne

On April 28, 2016 a reading by Viggo Mortensen of a speech by Albert Camus, and roundtable discussion with Viggo Mortensen, Alice Kaplan and Souleymane Bachir Diagne Albert Camus originally delivered this lecture on “La Crise de l’homme” on March 28, 1946, to a very full house at the McMillin Academic Theatre at Columbia University,

on his first and only trip to the United States. 70 years later, to celebrate Camus’s visit to New York and Columbia, his lecture will be delivered in a dramatic reading by the actor Viggo Mortensen, in a version newly translated into English by Alice Kaplan.

Continue reading “Hear Camus’ 1946 lecture: “The Human Crisis” – even more profound today”

Five literary cities to visit in France

Visit the places that come alive in the pages of France’s best loved novels and poetry.

We need not congratulate the French any further on their abilities to make winningly bad pop music, always look good in Breton striped shirts and retire at the age of 52. Far less heralded is how the best French authors have managed to imbue their places of origin into their greatest works in ways that just beg for further exploration. Whether your urge, after reading Madame Bovary, is to seek out the provinces of France that Emma dreamed of fleeing from or whether you desire a night in the bawdy bars depicted by Balzac after reading A Harlot High And Low, here are five of the greatest French literary home towns.

Flaubert’s Rouen

Great Clock in Rouen city, France

Great Clock in Rouen city, France

Half-timbered houses lining the banks of the Seine, a towering Gothic church and bijou brasseries; the hometown of Gustav Flaubert plays a starring role in Madame Bovary where bored Emma meets Leon the lawyer inside the cathedral before embarking on a very carnal cab ride around the town and surrounding countryside, a passage which put Flaubert himself in the dock for an obscenity trial which he won. Heavily damaged during World War II, the town today is home to the Museum of Flaubert, a gallery where you can see images of the hospital where his surgeon father worked and the room in which Gustav was born.

More evocative is the Flaubert Pavilion in the small town of Canteleu, about 15 minutes’ drive outside the town. This is the only part of the house  where Flaubert worked and lived for around 15 years that is still standing, and it’s full of miscellaneous writing equipment, engravings and drawings that all belonged to the great chronicler of petit bourgeoisie frustrations.

Jules Verne’s Nantes

The Machines Of The Island Of Nantes, France

The father of science fiction would, one would assume, not be too surprised where he to return to Nantes today to see a giant mechanical elephant parading around an industrial wasteland. That is exactly how Jules Verne’s legacy has manifested in the form of ‘The Machines Of The Island Of Nantes’. Located in the middle of the Loire river the 39 foot high elephant (which you can take a ride on top of as it moves around the island) has recently been joined by an immense carousel which visitors can move about amidst a ballet of aquatic animals.

Stay the night in Le Plateau Jules Verne, a collection of Verne themed suites. The De la Terre à la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon) is a delight with a spaceship style sleeping bunks for kids and a stone cellar lined with cabinets filled with ephemera inspired by his books.

Balzac’s Tours

The largest city in the Centre-Val de Loire region was strangely modest about its status as the birthplace of one of the founders of the 18th century realist movement in literature until very recently. Balzac’s novels may be full with the noise of rowdy Parisian hotel bars and raconteurs bickering in cafes but the man himself was raised in a typically bourgeoisie household with distant parents who packed him off to live with a wet-nurse as an infant for four years.

Despite this far from loving upbringing Tours was a town he returned to again and again, describing it once as “amorous, buxom, blooming”; the town, and its Gothic Cathedral Saint-Gatien, the Abbaye de Marmoutier, and the grandiose Pont Wilson bridge are mentioned in more than 40 of his works. The most atmospheric spot of all is the Hotel du Theatre. Located opposite the opera house this is the intimate spot (called Pension Le Guay in Balzac’s time) where young Honore learned to read and write between the ages of five and eight. The hotel today has a dedicated Balzac nook where you can sip coffee (Balzac drank up to 50 cups a day) and get cracking on Le Comedie humaine.

Sartre’s Paris

The Church of Saint-Sulpice and Fountain in Paris, France

The Church of Saint-Sulpice and Fountain in Paris, France

There may not be quite so many Gauloises smokers and there are definitely fewer black polo necks on display but the outdoor tables at Café de Flore on the Parisian Left Bank still exude a bohemian air. This is where Jean Paul Sartre, along with his partner Simone de Beauvoir and a motley crew of the city’s intellectual elite would discuss essence, existence and (possibly) the larcenous price of a café au lait in this defiantly unchanging café- still with the Formica and nicotine stained wood interiors that the existentialist thinkers would have known.

From here it’s a five minute walk to place Saint-Sulpice,  home to Cafe de la Mairie.  This was where Sartre and Albert Camus would regularly meet during their tenures working on the radical left-wing newspaper Combat. It’s also known as the last place they met, a fierce argument in 1951 resulted in the two of them never speaking again. Over in Montparnasse Cemetery lies Sartre’s final resting place. Despite numerous infidelities and fallings out, Sartre and de Beauvoir were buried together (Simone died in 1986, six year after Sartre). You can find their modest grave by picking up a free map from the warden’s hut. The faded sandstone grave does usually have some brash licks of colour on it; lipstick marks from those who kiss the headstone. Hell is other people indeed.

Colette’s Burgundy

The medieval town of Semur en Auxois, Burgundy

The medieval town of Semur en Auxois, Burgundy

“My house remains for me what it always was, a relic, a burrow, a citadel, the museum of my youth”, wrote the grande dame of French letters back in 1907. Colette’s famously acute vanity and high self-regard suggests she would be delighted by the meticulous retro-fitting of her childhood home in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, 100 miles from Paris, into how it would have looked during her time there.

Away from the salon style furnishings of the house (think pianos, oil lamps and acres of terracotta and marble) the village, in the departement of Burgundy, L’Yonne, is also home to the Musee Colette. Housed in an ancient chateau and opened by her only child Colette de Jouvenel in the 1990s, the rooms are full to the brim with photos of Colette and her family. Around 100km east in the pretty town of Saulieu Colette’s favourite restaurant is still in business.  Called L’Hostellerie de la Côte in her time, the name may have changed to Relais Bernard Loiseau but the lusty Burgundian dishes of frogs legs and hazelnut liqueur soufflé are as rich and robust as she would have remembered

Source: Five literary cities to visit in France | Spectator Life