The More Things Change…

…the more they stay the same. I’ve finally returned to some of those books I started last year but for one reason or another never finished. One of these is David McCullough’s John Adams, which is such a pleasantly interesting read I wonder how I ever put it down in the first place.

Some things are indeed timeless. Writing about Abigail Adams’ time in Paris, McCullough notes:

The whole French way of life seemed devoted to little else but appearances and frivolity, everybody bent on a good time, going to the theater, to concerts, public shoes and spectacles. She wondered when anyone ever did any work. In London she had seen streets swarming with people, but there they appeared to have business in mind. Here pleasure alone seemed to be the business of life and no one ever to tire of it. Not even on the Sabbath was there pause… (p. 304)

Over two-hundred years later, little has changed. Although France has finally abolished its mandatory 35-hour workweek (“workin’ nine to four, what a way to make a living“), it still faces many hurdles in implementation. They’d better watch out, lest they be working more than the Germans