Encore une fois, Atlas of Prejudice 2, in French

Atlas-des-prejuges-2-de-Yanko-Tsvetkov With 35,000 sold copies in less than five months, the first volume of the French edition of the Atlas of Prejudice (Atlas des préjugés) exceeded my wildest expectations. Added to the numbers from the other editions and volumes, the Atlas of Prejudice series reached 70,000 copies sold worldwide!

This leaves me incredibly confused because, being finally super famous, I have difficulties to determine if I should start snorting cocaine immediately or wait until the counter passes 100k?

The French edition climbed to number 6 in the official Top 10 bestseller books list of Amazon France! And this is for all the books available on the site, not a mere genre-dependent subcategory. It was featured on one of the most popular French TV shows, Le Grand Journal, and the way it was welcomed by the French public completely destroyed the old Anglo-Saxon stereotype about how self-absorbed and humorless they can be.

Come to think of it, few of us (who don’t speak the language) were aware the French had such a vibrant satirical tradition until that horrible terrorist act exposed it far and wide. It’s a shame that it took a tragedy to catapult Charlie Hebdo’s comedic brilliance over the Channel. Several days after the attack, I experienced one of the most surreal moments in my life when randomly looking at the TV screens in my gym I spotted a couple of objects that looked familiar during a report about the premiere of the special Charlie Hebdo editions in the bookstores. Right on the counter there was a pile of my Atlas of Prejudice. I felt complemented and embarrassed at the same time. On one side there was the satisfaction about my recognition. On the other, the idea that the book sales may have been boosted by this horrible nightmare felt like a dagger through my heart. Bittersweet doesn’t even come close to describe it.

Making fun of people can be a dangerous job and contrary to common belief, the risks are not necessarily determined by the author. There are hordes of touchy people on this planet who take themselves and their holy ideas far too seriously. This realization was the main theme of the second volume of the book, which was published in France on April 8. You can get it from Amazon France, Fnac, or from your nearest bookstore. French-speaking Canadians can order it through their regional Amazon store. Here’s the official blurb, in the language of Voltaire and Piaf:

Nous n’en avons pas fini avec les stéréotypes nationaux !

Après le formidable succès de l’Atlas des préjugés (tome 1), l’auteur a poursuivi sa chasse aux idées reçues en imaginant 40 nouvelles cartes et infographies qui stigmatisent nos préjugés.

le monde vu par les Vikings ou Christophe Colomb ; les plus grands stéréotypes européens ; l’Europe vue par les conservateurs britanniques ; la carte des plats immangeables…
Comme l’humour est parfois plus efficace que les longs discours, l’auteur a imaginé des cartes satiriques, souvent décalées et toujours drôles sur nos préjugés nationaux.
Un livre à mettre entre toutes les mains.

2 comments on “Encore une fois, Atlas of Prejudice 2, in French

  • If I may, I would like to add something to your lines about the Charlie Hebdo attack. As a young French student, I have seen a shift in public opinion after those murders : people generally expressed their opposition to the violence of this episode, claming how wonderful Charlie Hebdo was and how they loved that paper. Truth is, everyone hated this paper, which was the symbol of a particularly extreme press. It wasn’t about criticising religions in a funny way, we could feel a kind of hate in these drawings… believe me, I’m an agnostic. And on the top of it, journalists who were known to be often exagerating the “facts” described in their article. And we have to open our eyes on this violence carried by Charlie Hebdo, because it caused the violence of the answer. To despise and lie about a whole community can only cause these problems. And what an hypocrisy to only talk about the victims as pure innocents ! No one had to die, but they surely had to answer about the pain they were causing, but the trials they were in weren’t public.
    I hope I could add a bit of a different point of view on the French January events, but France itself is still torn on this matter.

    • I think I am aware of all this, to the extent possible for someone outside France. I think the solidarity response to the Charlie Hebdo events wasn’t because people suddenly started to agree with the hardcore satire it promotes. On the other hand, criticism towards religions shouldn’t always be funny, given the fact that religions are not organizations of comic relief clubs. I absolutely disagree that anything Charlie Hebdo did can be equated with violence. I personally want to live in a society where assholes are free to be assholes, if that’s their choice. And if I ever say that I stand behind them, that won’t mean I approve their behavior. What I approve is their freedom to choose.

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