Sunday, October 7, 2007

Details

My astonishment at the course of the "debate" about the DNA testing amendment continues to grow. The latest round turns on François Fillon's use of the word "détail." What Fillon said was:

"Les polémiques ont grossi jusqu'au ridicule un détail, en masquant l'essentiel".


This was enough to swell the polemics to a still greater degree of ridiculous irreality, as some critics alleged that Fillon had deliberately chosen the word détail to evoke Le Pen's notorious dismissal of the gas chambers as un détail of the Holocaust. Pierre Moscovici was more subtle. "I credit M. Fillon with good faith," he said, "I don't believe that he is any way complicit with the thought of Jean-Marie Le Pen." Was Moscovici in "good faith," or was he perfidiously suggesting what he explicitly denied? I see no way of deciding this point with any more certainty than one can judge Fillon's sincerity. The merits and demerits of the DNA testing amendment might emerge more clearly if the rhetoric were reeled in from the fantastic depths it has now attained.