he spat on our graves


In 1946, Boris Vian—novelist, poet, playwright, songwriter, jazz trumpeter, screenwriter, actor, and general scourge of anyone failing to have enough fun in Paris in the postwar era—came to New York. He made the trip from France by submarine, caused a small international incident upon arrival, and had lunch. Then he ventured forth to discover America.

Vian was impressed by the state of American progress, which, he concluded, was far ahead of that of his native country, and not so impressed by American girls, whom he deemed silly things with large behinds. He ran into Hemingway but didn’t recognize him, and failed to say hello. He went to see the Empire State Building, only to discover that it had recently been demolished. He came across the Surrealist André Breton living in Harlem camouflaged as a black man and calling himself Andy. He spent a morning sitting in front of his hotel, hoping to see a lynching, but was disappointed.

more from the New Yorker here.