What do your shows reveal about you?
I like dialogue, not a simple question-and-answer exercise. As a journalist, you have to know how to listen to others. “The word is half for the listener, half for the speaker,” wrote Montaigne. My father, very religious, was of Bahai tradition (syncretist religion recognizing all prophets, Editor’s note) and my atheist mother. Everyone lived with their beliefs and spoke to me about them. The news segment that I host reflects the diversity of opinions and, even, a way of thinking against oneself.
Your favorite work?
Memories from beyond the grave, by Chateaubriand. I bought sticky paper to reinforce the cover of the edition in La Pléiade, which has been with me for twenty-five years.
The person who meant the most in your family?
My mother who suffered a lot. She was forcibly taken from my grandmother, who was, as they said at the time, a “child mother”, to be placed in an orphanage. She told us about it and even managed to laugh at the tragic moments.
The object that crosses generations in your family?
A Persian statuette representing an ancient warrior. After leaving Iran, my father kept it throughout his tour of Europe.
A gene you’re happy to have inherited?
My mother’s little touch of madness. A very free way of thinking. She loved this Benny B. song from the late 1980s But you are crazy !
Which beauty will save the world?
The faith. I am fascinated by this phenomenon which can generate the worst fanaticism, but is necessary to defend humanist ideas. It is all the more admirable and fascinating for a skeptic like me.
A spiritual place where you like to take refuge?
The Port-Royal-des-Champs site in Magny-les-Hameaux, in Yvelines, a place of intellectual excitement where Blaise Pascal and Jean Racine went. I also often pass in front of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires, in Paris, which has a link with Richelieu, whom I admire.
You are offered immortality. Do you sign?
Yes, of course, right away. I find that there is nothing better than life in the small pleasures of everyday life, even among elderly and diminished people. I remember my father at the end of his life, eating a rum baba with delight, in the sun.