Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Politics of Translation

Gisèle Sapiro has published a study.

Another Bizarre Story for a Slow News Day

A sergeant in the Foreign Legion blew off the balls of one of his subordinates by firing three blanks between the man's legs at point-blank range. The sergeant is on trial today but has not been dismissed from the Legion, unlike the gendarme who wrote a satirical poem about Sarkozy. Apparently, in this man's army, it's worse to mock your superior than to castrate your subordinates.

Doldrums

The summer doldrums have come early this year. Sarkozy's disarray after the regional elections seems to have precipitated a sort of retreat into silence and/or the past: thinking he's still Minister of the Interior, he has come out swinging against crime. Meanwhile, nothing else seems to be happening, unless it's banning burqas or footballers sleeping with underage prostitutes. Which makes me wonder whether Marine Le Pen will attack Franck Ribéry with all the gusto with which she went after Frédéric Mitterrand. Ribéry has actually confessed, even if in his case the sexual tourism was undertaken by his partner, at his expense.

Meanwhile, intellectuals are sniping at one another: here, Michel Onfray has a particularly unpleasant go at Elisabeth Roudinesco. I'm not sure how Onfray rose to celebrity status. One year I arrived in France and there, suddenly, he was, in all the bookstores, stacked up at the FNAC, etc. The media seem to need a few celebrity intellectuals, and with BHL having reached the point of oversaturation, I guess Onfray is the new "it" boy. But hasn't anyone ever told him that it's bad form to respond to negative reviews and worse form to respond vituperatively. Irony doesn't seem to be an arrow in his stylistic quiver.