Seminal French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy discusses two of his recent publications: Who Killed Daniel Pearl - an investigative exposé of the WSJ journalist’s infamous, untimely death - and American Vertigo, his travelogue survey of American culture. These books lend themselves to a broader discussion of cultural identity, especially as it relates to the Jewish Diaspora. Lévy contends that in France cultural identities are narrowly defined: One is viewed, first and foremost, as a Jew, a Spaniard, or an Algerian, for example. Lévy attributes this to France’s history of state religion (ie. Catholicism) and suggests that America fosters a more nuanced, subtle take on culture. The Nouveau Philosophe has attracted his share of controversy, and, accordingly, New Yorker journalist Adam Gopnik delivers a rigorous and thorough interview.
This event took place on January 29, 2006.