While the plate glass tinkled and the atmosphere filled with smoke and tear gas on the Champs-Élysées, I was in a gallery on the rue Bonaparte, contemplating the knotty ethical problem of suffering and evil as the subject of aesthetic representation. The gallery in question was showing photographs of North Korea by William Lighter (of whom I had not previously heard, and in any case a pseudonym).

I prefer the rue Bonaparte to the Champs-Élysées, which appears to me to have become, socially speaking at any rate, a kind of Dubai-sur-Seine, in which hordes of people search for and buy exactly the same kind of products that they can, and do, buy in Dubai, and indeed everywhere else in the globalized world. Why they do so is to me a mystery; hell, pace Sartre, is not other people, but the taste of other people.

The rue...


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