"PARIS - There it was, magically empty, on a discreet corner, never spotted by the tourist magma; my favorite little table since the 1980s at the Cafe de Flore in St Germain. I took possession, ordered a Welsh rarebit and a glass of Chablis, and was back in business, reading and watching the world go by for the first time since the fall of King Sarko.
First impression; where the hell is my bookshop? The venerable La Hune, right across from my point of view, looked like it had been hit by a Hellfire; thank Zeus it had moved nearby. Second, and more auspicious impression; the Flore was BHL-free; that is, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, aka BHL, was busy promoting his next war somewhere else.
BHL is not merely a philosopher/writer/film maker; he's first and foremost the CEO of a gigantic PR operation erected to the perennial glory of BHL. He virtually rules the French cultural arena, the way Christopher Hitchens thought he ruled in the US and Britain.
May we live in tawdry times; if only Sartre was alive to kick BHL back to his intellectual kindergarten. BHL recently arrived at the Cannes Film Festival carrying a smatter of Libyan North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) rebels as pets - companions of his "liberation" adventure such as Mustapha El-Zagizli from Benghazi, proudly displayed as the "prince of the shabab", and General Ramadan Zarmouth from Misrata.