David Bouchier: A Few Well Chosen Words

David Bouchier’s weekly essays are full of unexpected observations and whimsical opinions. Listeners will relish his entertaining, enlightening, and sometimes exasperated commentaries on the routines that carry us through the year, the surreal rituals of politics, the unsettling experience of foreign travel, and the confusions and comedies of everyday suburban life.

You can hear David Bouchier on-air Monday mornings or by subscribing to his podcast, A Few Well Chosen Words.

Deadly Villages

Aug 19, 2013

Two hundred years ago almost nobody lived in a large town or a city. Now almost everybody does. So there is certain nostalgia for the long-lost world in which our ancestors lived among familiar faces in small communities on the human scale. When we look for a second home or a holiday getaway we imagine not downtown Detroit but a charming village in Vermont or England or the south of France.

The Heat

Aug 19, 2013

It's been hot – hot in Long Island and Connecticut, and hot in Europe too. How hot is too hot? It depends where you happen to live. In Saudi Arabia, a hundred degrees is scarcely worth noticing. In Antarctica, people get out the sunscreen and frozen drinks when the thermometer creeps above forty. In Britain, any temperature above seventy is treated as a dangerous heat wave.

Onward and Up

Aug 19, 2013

There are few things more annoying than having someone tell you about a book you haven't read, or a lovely place you haven't been to, or a gourmet meal you didn't have a chance to eat. So I won't do that this morning. Instead I'll tell you about a TV series that you probably haven't seen.

Revolution Now

Aug 19, 2013

Yesterday was Bastille Day, which is hard to miss if you happen to be in France. There are parades and patriotic speeches in every town and village, and often fireworks and festive dinners too. This year's celebration marked the two hundred and twenty-fourth anniversary of the French Revolution, and it had a special poignancy because of the ongoing turmoil in Egypt. Revolutions have a way of going wrong, or going nowhere, but this doesn't seem in any way to diminish their popularity. The Arab Spring has produced a whole series of popular uprisings since 2010, with no very clear result.

Do you ever get the uncomfortable suspicion that you are a fraud and an imposter? I've been feeling that way lately because I'm in France, and I have to pretend that I know what is going on. This must be a problem for everyone who tries to navigate a foreign culture. In order not to look like an idiot you must act as if you understand the language, the culture, the strange things for sale in the market, and even the driving.