CULTIVATING LIBERALISM
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Mario Vargas Llosa : Deconstructing 1968
“When I returned to Paris, I discovered that my apartment was intact, for the revolution of May 1968 had not spilled over the perimeter of the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Contrary to what many people prophesied during those euphoric days, it did not have significant political consequences except to accelerate the fall of de Gaulle, inaugurate the brief five-year era of Pompidou, and reveal the existence of a left more modern than the French Communist Party (“la crapule stalinienne,” according to the phrase of Cohn-Bendit, one of the leaders of ’68). Customs became freer, but from the cultural point of view, with the disappearance of an entire illustrious generation—Mauriac, Camus, Sartre, Aron, Merleau-Ponty, Malraux—there was a discreet cultural retraction during those years, when instead of creators, the maîtres à penser became the critics, first the structuralists in the style of Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes, and then the deconstructionists, like Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida, with their arrogance, esoteric rhetoric, isolated in cabals of devotees and removed from the general public, whole cultural life, as a consequence of this development, became increasingly banal.”
—From “The Bad Girl” (2006)

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