Here are two recent news items that prove France is five million times classier than the U.S.A.:

  • The French consume almost 60 litres (that's 15.9 gallons) of wine per person each year — more than any other country in the world. Not like those boorish Americans, who consume just a bit over 10 litres of wine each per year and 50 billion pints of un-classy beer collectively.
  • The French government is bestowing the gift of a newspaper subscription on all French citizens when they turn 18. Sarkozy says it is the French government's responsibility "to make sure an independent, free and pluralistic press exists." (Which is why he's making it dependent on government help? Hmm.)

The last is what I really want to talk about. I'm wondering if this would actually work: Would people read print publications if they were literally dropped in their laps? On the one hand, young people don't subscribe to print magazines because they can get information online for free. They might read a print publication but after the subscription runs out, I think they'll go back to Internet.

On the other hand, I like print over Internet reading. I love that it makes me read methodically — turning one page and then another until I've read something from beginning to end without stopping to click with ADD-abandon on something more interesting.

This makes me think that France's plan to save the print (if not the "independent, free and pluralistic") press might work.

 

 
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Alisa Harris

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