On Frank Kimbrough’s album Solstice and the late Paul Bley.
As a journalist, I have often had to explain to an English-speaking audience the rise of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant prejudices in France. But on election night, I found myself in the temporary offices of the radio show France Culture in midtown Manhattan, explaining to a French audience the triumph of the same prejudices in my own country. Struck by (though far from relishing) this irony, I was reminded of a novel I’d reviewed for the London Review of Books last year, Michel Houellebecq’s dystopian Submission, in which a demoralized France elects an Islamist presidential candidate backed by the Gulf states. In the final pages, the hero, a pathetic white male academic named François, converts to Islam because he fears being deprived of a future in a country where darker-skinned worshippers of Allah have taken over. Our president-elect is a Muslim hater, not a Muslim, but he, too, was catapulted to power with help from influential friends abroad, and his millions of supporters were driven by related fears of finding themselves without a place in an increasingly multicultural society—victims of what the French fascist theorist Renaud Camus has called “the Great Replacement.” Read More