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Showing Some Moix-ie

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Share the post "Showing Some Moix-ie" Moxie (U.S. slang): “force of character, determination, nerve.” Or chutzpah, one might say, as Yann Moix, the avowed (ex?) anti-Semite who claims to have abjured his former prejudice to become a student of the Talmud, surely knows. Following the latest Moix scandal, the French might wish to modify the American slang for their own usage: “Moix-ie,” the impudent exploitation of tearful televised apologetics. I won’t rehearse the details of the Moix scandal for those who haven’t followed it. Details can be found here, here, and here. I will simply note that the revelation of the writer’s anti-Semitic and negationist past has obscured the memory of his two previous national scandals, precipitated in turn by his affirmation that he

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Moxie (U.S. slang): “force of character, determination, nerve.” Or chutzpah, one might say, as Yann Moix, the avowed (ex?) anti-Semite who claims to have abjured his former prejudice to become a student of the Talmud, surely knows. Following the latest Moix scandal, the French might wish to modify the American slang for their own usage: “Moix-ie,” the impudent exploitation of tearful televised apologetics.

I won’t rehearse the details of the Moix scandal for those who haven’t followed it. Details can be found here, here, and here. I will simply note that the revelation of the writer’s anti-Semitic and negationist past has obscured the memory of his two previous national scandals, precipitated in turn by his affirmation that he could not conceivably make love to a woman over 50 and then by his publication of a book in which he claimed to have been abused by his father, a claim vehemently denied by both his father and brother.

The extraordinary thing about this latest scnadal is not that Moix was or is an anti-Semite but that he has found so many Jews eager and willing to exonerate him of the charge, with the ineffable Bernard-Henri Lévy leading the way despite having been the butt of some of Moix’s most offensive caricatures. Of course, BHL was prudent enough to wait until Moix had aired his apology on On n’est pas couché, an infotainment show on which he was once a commentator and whose producer currently employs him as a personality in a TV show she is currently marketing. No doubt he wanted to see how the carefully rehearsed confession would play in Poitiers. Would Moix prove to be as consummate an actor on the small screen as BHL alleges he is as a writer, who, within 2 hours after the editor of La règle du jeu had set him a test, produced a review of a film by Berri, an obit of Fellini, and an article on Berlusconi.

Et je vois arriver un jeune homme au physique de boxeur qui, pour parler comme la regrettée Françoise Verny, n’a pas précisément une gueule d’écrivain et à qui je demande, pour le tester, d’écrire pour La Règle du jeu, d’ici la fin de la semaine, un texte sur un film de Claude Berri, un autre sur Berlusconi et une nécrologie de Fellini dont on vient d’annoncer le décès.

Deux heures plus tard, j’ai les trois articles, stupéfiants de virtuosité.

All this by a young man in his 20s, who now describes himself as a petit con (he was in fact a not-so-petit 22 and a student at a grande école at the time he drew the offending drawings and wrote the scurrilous pages) who spent his spare time not brushing up on Berri, Berlusconi, Fellini but rather in making obscene drawings of Lévy. Excuse me, but, in the words of Paul Nizan, “I was once 20 years old,” and I don’t believe a word of this.

Moix, like BHL, is an important asset of the publisher Grasset, whose director, Olivier Nora (also Jewish) has joined BHL for the defense. Both Nora and Lévy state that Moix confessed his “youthful” aberrations to them many years ago. Neither saw fit to say anything about them at the time, nor has either reacted to the report in Le Monde that at the age of 39 Moix committed the not-so-youthful indiscretion of contributing a preface to a book by Paul-Eric Blanrue entitled Le Monde contre soi : Anthologie des propos contre les juifs, le judaïsme et le sionisme. Was that before or after he began his study of the Talmud? We await to be told.

One has to wonder about the motivations of all these people. Le monde germanopratin is small and exclusive, and Moix seems to have wormed his way into its very heart. His charms must be very great indeed to have exerted such a spell.

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Art Goldhammer
Writer, translator, scholar, blogger on French Politics, affiliate of Harvard's Center for European Studies, writes for The American Prospect, The Nation, etc.

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