“C’EST NORMAL”. Adam Gopnik contributed the phrase “c’est normal” to our family language in this essay attempting to explain why out of two cafes side by side on the Rue Benoit—the Deux Magots and the Cafe Flore—one has been fashionable for many years (the Cafe Flore) and one has not (the Deux Magots). In this essay, Gopnik classified the three types of French explanations, which take place in a predictable sequence: 1. in terms of the unique individual; 2. ideological absolutes; 3. the nature of things. Gopnik’s example is a broken dryer, which can’t be fixed: 1. the only man who can fix it is not available; 2. fixing it will take a week because of store policy; 3. it is in the nature of things for a dryer to break down, dryers are like that (“c’est normal”).

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