Posts Tagged ‘french’

The Test Society blog proudly presents the first of a series of qualitative indicators on pre-fascist tendencies. This one, still in development, consists in spotting books displaying the notion of “vampire” to refer to any collective instance of the Great Oriental Menace, and openly getting a mainstream media nod. For today’s indicator hit, the vampires are the Chinese:  Philippe Cohen and Luc Richard’s Le Vampire du Milieu: comment la Chine nous dicte sa loi (advertised here, here, here or even here).

A more refined version of the indicator shall include in the future a correlation between the use of “vampires” and the use of political deictics, in particular of the resourceful “them or us” thing (today’s finding is a gem in that sense: the title reads “The Middle Vampire: How China Imposes its Law upon Us”).


In last week’s issue of Le Canard Enchaîné (muckraking) there is an interesting update about Sarkozy’s plans to sell Areva, the gem of national radiation, to his best friend Martin Bouygues (for an earlier report see also “French Radiance Selling Itself”). The idea is to merge it with Alstom through a holding company in which Martin Bouygues would have a 35 percent stake. See more information in English here (from Thomson Financial News and Forbes). To make it simple, Areva and Alstom would be both valued at about 20 billion euros. That’s a bit on the low side, considering that it seems that the future of the world is going to be Areva’s. As usual, Le Canard provides some facetious remarks from some anonymous source. Here, a collaborator of Prime Minister François Fillon:

“Passing the core of France’s nuclear industry — which is going to benefit hugely from the raise of investment in the power sector — to the President’s best friend, Martin Bouygues, is insane. Let’s be sure that there will be a scandal. Probably with a Putin-Berlusconi sort of touch.” (“Sarko veut offrir le nucléaire français à son ami Bouygues”, Le Canard Enchaîné, May 14 2008)

Come on, don’t be that bitter and buy some stock. This is also the French way.

Exceptionalism may apply to all sorts of countries. But, in France, it is a French specialty. French-reading readers, though, might want to have a look at the last issue on “The French Exception” of the very fine journal (this is a plug) Cosmopolitiques. The presentation of the issue (and more) is available here.

The amount of evidence in favor of the extreme but plausible hypothesis according to which Nicolas Sarkozy would be, in fact, a dangerous piece of fascist junk (but this is just a working hypothesis) is increasing slightly. This past Thursday, in a much commented TV appearance, he firmly praised against any amnesty to undocumented workers, in reference to recent strikes for work papers (see a couple of background articles from the International Herald Tribune here, here and here). But the problem is that he just confused “régularisation” (giving a work permit, i.e. a green card) and “nationalisation” (granting French citizenship):

“You don’t become French just because you’ve got a job in the kitchen of a restaurant, no matter how fancy.” (quoted in “Nicolas Sarkozy confond naturalisation et régularisation”,, April 25 2008, and in “Quand Sarkozy confond ‘naturalisation’ et ‘régularisation'”, Nouvel Obs, April 25 2008)

Ok, but let’s be fair. This may be just a temporary lapse of awareness, a sign of fatigue, a slight misunderstanding. Perhaps nothing to do with the “Français d’abord” economic unconscious.

(Well, to be checked.)

In the morning of Thursday April 17, 2008, at the Gare du Nord in Paris, passengers were boarding into the 8:25am Thalys train to Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. No border control to pass, since all countries involved are all happy members of the European Community, and their border control policy fall into the Schengen Agreement. But still, some vigilant agents from the customs authority were there to stop and interrogate passengers that look suspicious. Poor agents, torn by the difficulties of their almost impossible semiotic venture. Who shall they pick for interrogation? On the grounds of what? Is there something in a person’s face that should tell something meaningful about faulty behavior? Or should their drop any criteria altogether and put the fate of their vital task into the hands of blind randomness? Well, no. They found the solution to their epistemic quarrel in less than a second: pick the Negro.

See, some scholars took that seriously and started some action here (it’s a petition defending the abrogation of article 56 of the Lisbon Treaty which forbids any restrictions on capital flows).

Warning: when you take a flight from Paris to Casablanca, you may have the chance to sample some exquisite French administrative prose. Immigration cops gave this official leaflet to a passenger at the boarding gate:

“Sir, Madam,

You may have been asked to express opposition to the boarding in your same flight of a person who is in the process of being expelled out of the French territory on the bases of a legal decision. The following information is therefore brought to your attention. The decision of expulsion is a legitimate act. Any attempt at impeding or hampering the departure of the flight or at promoting protest among other passengers is a crime that will be punished by the law. Punishment is of five-years imprisonment and a 18,000 euros fee. Moreover, outrage and rebellion can translate into further prosecution, with penalties of six-months imprisonment and a 7,500 euros fee. If such crimes are committed in collective reunion, penalties are of one-year imprisonment and a 15,000 euros fee.” (from “Vol Paris-Casa du 27/02/2008”, Indymedia Paris Île-de-France, February 28 2008)

Quite terrorizing, isn’t it? Well, apparently some passengers of that flight thought it was still ok to say something before taking off when they started hearing someone screaming in the back of the plane, anyway. Seventeen CRS (French riot control forces) were sent into the plane to arrest some. According to the witness, the remaining passengers were, in effect, terrorized. Mission accomplished.