Clichés

Mount Arlington, NJ July 19 th 2013

Cliché: New Jersey equals oil refineries, motorways and Soprano suburbs. Well , in the last 3 days we rode some 160 miles of rolling hills, greenfields, nice old villages, forests and woods. Wrong cliché about the ” Garden State” , which deserves its moniker.
Last night our Lafayette Riders group of 26 riders was invited at the Lafayette College in Easton PA, to visit the collection of memorabilia about Lafayette that the College owns: original letters written by Lafayette to George Washington, clothes he wore, his sword, some books he owned etc….
Lafayette is one of the prominent figures in the history of American and French revolutions that has the most clichés attached to his person: traitor to his class for the aristocraty, traitor to the revolution for the left, air head pompous schmoozer for french intellectuals. None of these clichés is accurate, because they are too simplistic: he was a complex personnality whose life in the middle of very turbulent events, the American revolution and 15 years later the French revolution, was dictated by events more than by himself. We all repeat dozens of clichés which are oversimplified representations of realities which are always more complex. But the french author- today widely forgotten- Paul Valery said : ” what is simple is always false, but what is complex is not operationnal”.

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