It’s Time to Take Bernard-Henri Lévy Seriously

Blake Smith in Foreign Policy:

For nearly half a century, Lévy has been one of the most visible public intellectuals in France and a master at manipulating philosophical and political controversy. With his good looks and outsized ego, Lévy is a compelling performer. He is also an irresistible target for critics from the left, right, and center. The inaccuracies and incoherencies of his voluminous body of work have been exposed in a number of unflattering biographies, of which the best is Philippe Cohen’s 2005 book BHL. The media’s tendency to thus refer to Lévy by his initials, BHL, suggests that he is, like LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), an iconic national brand—and perhaps nothing more than a label. Since the earliest days of Lévy’s career, rivals have denounced him as a cynical, vacuous pseudo-philosopher who puts intellectual culture in the service of self-aggrandizing spectacle.

More here.