Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Peillon Won't Go Quietly

Vincent Peillon is refusing to quit his courant, which Ségolène Royal insists is hers. Plus belle la vie! Royal cashiered Hollande without a fuss and may have thought she could do the same with Peillon. No such luck. And so we will have at least another week of PS soap opera.

Herding Cats

Hard to imagine what this omnium gatherum of philosophers was like. Butler, BHL, Kristeva, and Zizek under one roof* is not my idea of a good time, and then you had all the rest, the dozens of non-divas. Just goes to show what chaos a government can sow by launching a debate on national identity. And if you listen to the audio clip, you'll see that, predictably, the debate begins with several voices asking if it should be taking place at all. Philosophers can always be counted on to ask the troubling questions.

*Actually, BHL phoned it in from New York: what else did you expect?

The Americanization of France


France is getting to look more like the United States every day. Ségolène Royal wanted to hand out "contraception passes" to high school girls. Her regional government would pay for the pills, and the school nurse would distribute them. Advanced, enlightened, a little risqué: how very French. But then Paris got wind of the scheme and invoked parental authority, family values, and all those other unhip things of a "moral order." How very American. Except that if Arne Duncan tried to emulate Luc Châtel, issuing orders to local school boards from on high, he'd be branded a Nazi by the champions of moral order. I would nevertheless like un Pass' contraception for my French memorabilia collection, even if it must remain a dead letter. Anybody got one?