Showing posts from April, 2012

Who Gets to be French


By KARL E. MEYER Published: April 11, 201

THE French language is justly renowned for its clarity and precision. Yet on a seemingly simple matter its speakers stumble into a fog — who or what can be defined as French? The question arose afresh in the wake of the Toulouse killings. No one doubted that the perpetrator was 23-year-old Mohammed Merah, a native son of Algerian descent. But was Mr. Merah French?Enlarge This Image Federico Jord√°nImpossible, declared four members of Parliament belonging to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s center-right party. In a joint statement, they insisted that Mr. Merah “had nothing French about him but his identity papers.”

Nonsense, retorted the left-wing journal Lib√©ration: “Merah is certainly a monster, but he was a French monster.” A childhood friend of Mr. Merah provided a poignant elaboration: “Our passports may say that we are French, but we don’t feel French because we were never accepted here. No one can excuse what he did, …

My comment on Britney Griner in a response to a piece in Psychology Today

Once we sweep aside all the sentimentality and extraneous issues,resentments, and name calling, we are still left with the issue of athletes having an unfair advantage, whether it comes from Mother Nature's laboratory or the BALCO laboratory. The whole world (witness the Tour de France) and especially America (Barry Bonds, etc.) want a level playing field even if it includes climbs in the alps. Fair advantages translate to talent and physical characteristics that stay within a certain domain. Height alone in basketball would be considered a fair advantage.

The Britney Griner case very much parallels that of Caster Semanya. When at the '09 world championships, the 18-year-old South African looked over her shoulder on the home stretch and pulled clear of the field with such placid ease that it made Usain Bolt seem tense in comparison, there were bound to be questions, just as there are with Mr. Griner. In the sport of track and field, one does not go from 2:04.23 to 1:55.45, win…