I confess, not without a guilty conscience, to a certain weakness for Laurent Ruquier's various infotainment confections. In the old days there was On n'a pas tout essayé and then there was On n'est pas couché, which plucked Éric Zemmour from obscurity and made him a national object of adulation or opprobrium, depending on your tastes. Recently, Ruquier announced that he was dropping his tandem of chroniqueurs, Zemmour and the other Éric, Naulleau, and now it appears that they will be replaced by Audrey Pulvar (a TV journalist as well as Arnaud Montebourg's petite amie) and Jean-Jacques Bourdin, news chief at RMC.
So what does this change connote? A softer approach to the job, I suspect. I know Pulvar only from having seen her on On n'est pas couché and Bourdin only from the clip below, which nicely contrasts the acidulous style of Zemmour with the ecumenical blandness of Bourdin. There's no doubt that Pulvar will be easier on the eyes than either Zemmour or Naulleau, neither of whom has a face made for television, but the whole interest of the two Érics as commentators was a certain fearless feistiness. Neither man hesitated to tell authors to their face that their books were wretched, but they did it with a certain flair that for the most part rescued the critique from mere nastiness. Zemmour of course earned a reputation as a "neo-reactionary," misogynist, racist, and xenophobe, and there are any number of his statements on the show that were more than regrettable, but it was precisely the omnipresent threat of a sulfurous outburst that lent piquancy to his more substantive critiques, which could be quite intelligent. Naulleau, a less grating personality, could nevertheless be incisive. I found the frankness of both interesting in a country where most printed book reviews are bland and noncommittal. They never left you in doubt about where they stood. To judge by the clip below, Bourdin conceives his role quite differently. But perhaps his new position will draw on a different aspect of his experience.
Zemmour face à Jean-Jacques Bourdin by prince_de_conde