Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Autres temps, autres moeurs!

Is private life no longer taboo in France? Are the French becoming--horrors!--more American? More juvenile? One might think so upon learning that IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was mocked by humorist Stéphane Guillon immediately before DSK's appearance on RTL. Guillon's piece isn't particularly funny. Its humor derives exclusively from its amplification of DSK's randiness to Don Juanesque, not to say Gargantuan, proportions.

The subject of French political humor deserves a post unto itself. I may return to the subject. If only I could persuade someone with the funds to organize a colloquium at Harvard in which Jon Stewart and Nicolas Canteloup would discuss jusqu'où on peut aller trop loin (to borrow a phrase from Cocteau). From such a confrontation we might learn something important about the inner constraints and hidden sensitivities of the political cultures of our two sister republics.

Listen to Guillon (here) and tell me what you think. (Radical lampoon or alibi--discussion here.)

Three Economists Look at University Reform

Piketty, Paulré, and Laurent (who focuses on US universities in the crisis).