Poor Frederic Beigbeder! Rich, recognized, appreciated. A house by the sea. A woman who loves him and beautiful children…
We would thank life for less than that. But the French writer finds a way to complain.
Certainly: it is not because we have everything that we are happy. Beigbeder suffered like everyone else. But from there to pose as a victim as he does in Confessions of a slightly overwhelmed heterosexual, there is a margin.
This new book (his 16th) begins with a scene of desolation. Overnight, her home was tagged by angry feminists. We blame him for having signed a petition against the penalization of the clients of prostitutes. This assault serves as the starting point for a long plea in defense of the 60-year-old white male – which he is – a “species” that is not very popular today.
Beigbeder is an intelligent, sensitive, shrewd man. His essay is not a masculinist manifesto in the strict sense. He denounces Harvey Weinstein, regrets his friendship with the pedophile Gabriel Matzneff, says he is fundamentally in solidarity with the movement
His point of view is defended. He knows he is “slightly overwhelmed” and accepts it. This confession allows him to reflect on his place in the world.
But his approach is less convincing.
A chapter is devoted to his detox. Beigbeder was known as a coked reveler. He settled down, good for him. We are more perplexed when he recounts his quasi-initiation stays in a monastery and in an infantry regiment. Is it in the army and the Church, two historically colonialist institutions, that Frédéric Beigbeder seeks to update himself?
The last part, devoted to male desire, is the drop (of sperm) too many. It is time, according to him, to put an end to the ambient “heterophobic” discourse, which he equates to a form of neo-feminist racism. He admits that the straight white male only thinks about ass. He apologizes. But what do you want, it’s not his fault! This “frightening desire” is an inevitability with which men and women unfortunately have to deal, for better or for worse…
We know Beigbeder’s talent for provocation. If the book was intended to be ironic in the 14th degree, our apologies.
Otherwise, we are skeptical. Partly made up of already published texts, Confessions… digs into the surface. The author admits his discrepancy with the current world, but does not seem in a hurry to remedy it, claiming instead his Catholic conservatism and his well-anchored failings. “I was a young jerk, I’m an old jerk,” he repeats ad nauseam.
Will this “confession” help save his soul? We can understand, in any case, why it arouses the ire of feminists in France. Signing sessions were disrupted by protests. We preferred his brilliant Barrage contre l’Atlantique published last year, a real literary success.