Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mélenchon Is Rude

I'm sorry, but this diatribe from Mélenchon is completely uncalled for. He may not care for Le Parisien, but the journalist is doing his job. He's a worker, for crying out loud, and Mélenchon, for all his eloquence, is a brute. It's shameful to treat anyone this way, and if Sarkozy did it, Mélenchon would be the first to flay him for it. I do not like this man, and if I thought he had any chance of winning the presidency, I would be alarmed. As it is, I think it's regrettable that he now represents the left of the left.


Mélenchon: Les journalistes sont de "petites... by ecoledejournalisme

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

How interesting you posted this, as it dates from two years ago but which I rewatched just the other day, to remind myself of what a nasty SOB he is. His performance on France 2 tonight did nothing to alter my assessment. I'm going to write something about this before April 22nd.

Arun

Cincinna said...

Melanchon is the leftist version of JM Le Pen. Both bullies, arrogant, pugnacious street brawlers who are rude, crude, disrespectful and dangerous.
Two sides of the same totalitarian coin. What exactly us the difference between them, what they stand fir, and their clientele?

Anonymous said...

Harshness in the defense of decency is no vice.

Nathaniel Davis said...

Like many highly-intelligent satirists before him (Kierkegaard, Karl Kraus) Melenchon disdains the press. I personally find it refreshing to see a politician who does not kowtow before journalists, who realizes the insidious effects of their parasitism, and is willing to call them out on it at the risk of "bad press." (It was Kraus who put it best: "How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.") For Melenchon this is an issue more important than rudeness or politeness (and I'm frankly surprised, Mr. Goldhammer, that you lay so much value on politeness-- It's a very American way of looking at politics, no? "I like the guy, so I'll vote for him"). Melenchon might not be the most sympathetic candidate out there, but I applaud his willingness to undiplomatically reject the attempts to drag election politics into the gutter in order to sell a few papers.
Furthermore, "shock journalist" is not a form of labor that will be supported in the 6th Republic.

Anonymous said...

Such a sad whimper: your delicate sensibilities are offended by Melenchon's language. Nothing to say about the substance of his complaint? Nothing to say about the pandering of Le Parisien? Nothing to say of Melenchon's salubrious effect on the election, specifically the pushing of Hollande to pursue decency in his policies (which he isn't otherwise inclined to do)? What a silly attack this is.

--dojero

Anonymous said...

Art:
Not sure why this offends you to the point of lamenting Melenchon's leadership of the Left of the Left. I mean, Melenchon -- I'm not sure what I think of him myself -- can be brutal with his words (real brutes don't bother with words so much), but let's acknowledge that Le Parisien is a rag which represents everything he opposes, so it's not altogether surprising that the exchange would be salty and tense. The defense of the journalist "just doing his job" and being a worker only goes so far; lots of workers do jobs that are objectionable to leftists(lobbyists for big tobacco? web-designer for exxon? sub-prime mortgage seller?). Not the same as the Sarkozy "pauv' con" incident, where a powerful man insults a worker who asked a difficult question in a public setting. Even if you think Melenchon is a jerk, which might be true, why not focus on critiquing his platform or campaign?
Nick

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Look, I think Mélenchon's economic proposals are fundamentally flawed, and I've written about them in the past. I don't feel obliged to rehash those criticisms every time I mention his name. But I also dislike his attitude toward anyone with whom he disagrees about anything, which is richly on display here: he is contemptuous, dismissive, overbearing, unwilling to hear out explanations or engage in debate because--he would have you believe--there is no counterargument he hasn't considered. Having had some experience in political debate with ideologues, I recognize a type, and it's a type that I detest. And no amount of vituperation against bankers, bloodsuckers, capitalist running dogs, imperialist lackeys, or captains of pedalos is going to persuade me that this man is at bottom a democrat. He's a commissar-in-waiting, or at least pretending to be one. He seems to have become intoxicated by his own revolutionary rhetoric to the point of think that the enragés may be on the verge of storming the Winter Palace. Once the campaign is over, he will return to the obscurity from whence he came, because he has nothing constructive to offer. He is the mouthpiece of inarticulate dissatisfaction, not the political philosopher he takes himself to be.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. I think your description of the type is probably on point. I will go look up your previous posts on his economic program -- I am really interested in the debate on policy between Hollande-Melenchon-Poutou, as opposed to which of them is likeable. That's easy; Poutou's the only one I'd want to have a beer with.
Nick

Anonymous said...

Number of comments on this post seems to reflect why Melenchon is getting so popular. I do not share the same conviction but in the actual sterilize backward-forward thinking from parties leader he is more close to the people and refreshing.

Journalist are not exempt for critics and former story between Melenchon and the Ptit journal of Canal + is a good example.

Could he be a surprise? :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Art, Mélenchon is an intolerant ideologue.
He's also a bully.
A bully who speaks French extremely well. (Remember these people who voted for Jean marie Le Pen because his French was so good?)
He doesn't need to offer actual policies since he knows he won't get elected. He's just there to represent people who are angry and want "more".
People who go to his meetings are happy they went, including some who didn't want to vote and weren't interested in politics , that doesn't harm anything.
His policies won't harm anything either since I doubt he'll get elected, so...
As for the level of discourse and civility, I believe Sarkozy has lowered it much more, especially since he then became president.
I doubt he'll fade into the (political) woodwork though.
Myos

Anonymous said...

Goldhammer reveals far more of himself than he does of Melenchon. Like most "liberals", his hatred and fear of the real left shines through. Melenchon isn't a "thug" because he roughly chastises a rag journalist...that's not what really bothers Goldhammer. He reveals himself with his vitriolic comment "And no amount of vituperation against bankers, bloodsuckers, capitalist running dogs, imperialist lackeys, or captains of pedalos is going to persuade me that this man is at bottom a democrat."

That's because Goldhammer isn't opposed to the bankers and other capitalists. He's only too happy to mollify them in the way in which Hollande has promised to do.

We can only hope that Melenchon doesn't disappear into the woodwork after the election. His loud voice for the non-bankers must continue to be heard.

Boris said...

To "Anonymous": what is the "real left" supposed to be? The one that's in a time capsule, and use the exact same rethoric as when Brejnev was running the USSR?

France's "real left" is a sad, sad joke. A trotskyite movement divided in two or three chapels. A Stalinist party that's repainted itself in new colors to avoid oblivion, and half of the PS who pretend 1983 never existed. They're what's left of an ideology that's tried to collectivize this planet, and failed miserably. Please take them with you in Mr Cheminade's nuclear tunnel to Mars. Might have better luck in outer space.

As for mr Melenchon, for all his culture and skills, he remains a thug who thinks bullying his opponents into submission amounts to a democratic debate.

I can't help laughing when, confronted to statistics from INSEE or OECD, he discards them flat out, to oppose hairy numbers from "the economists of the Front de Gauche". That's the economists of the Party Communiste Francais. Some reference...

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous above: there ARE legit economists who don't agree with OECD stats. Economics has ideologues too as the current debt crisis has shown.
Discounting all of the left as so many Cheminade wannabes does not show much tolerance for democratic debate either.
And while I do not agree with Mélenchon and regret his bullying style, he does serve a purpose for many angry people, allowing them to convert their fruitless anger into something positive (a sense of collective self, of purpose.)
Myos

FrédéricLN said...

What Mélenchon represents is an old, and valuable, French tradition: as we understand our "democracy", the absolute power of the elected King — oops, President — and his servile Court should, at least, by vocally balanced by the protest of the people under the walls of his palace.

That's Mélenchon's role — calls to a undefined "résistance", mass meetings under the red flag, with huge announces of mass spendings (around 120 billions according to his own campaign) nobody will have to assume.

And once "the people" have had their time, sort of recrational time, to demonstrate before the movie cameras, then they are tired and let the King reign and govern for some years.

He gives Hollande the opportunity to play the other role "de gauche", the Mitterandian one: cold mindset, black suits, ambiguous sentences, total ignorance of what would really happen after May 6th (oh yes: the State budgets will be audited. Just as if Hollande couldn't read the Cour des Comptes report by his old friend Didier Migaud).

That was brillantly told in the lyrics by Telephone, "Ex-Robin des bois" (Formerly known as Robin Hood?), better known as the "face B" of the big hit "Cendrillon", 1982. http://musique.ados.fr/Telephone/Ex-Robin-Des-Bois-t4244.html

"Pour que tout reste comme avant, il faut que tout change", as said in the movie "Le Guépard". The duet at the left paves the way for this perfect immobility that can last several weeks or months until bankruptcy.

isabelle said...

Tout d'abord :
Quelle est la question du journaliste au départ qui a provoqué cet emportement ? N'est-ce pas hasardeux / est il tout à fait professionnel de faire une analyse sans avoir cette information ? N'est-il pas intellectuellement malhonnête de faire de telles conclusions sans le contexte ?

Sinon :
Mélenchon oui, va trop loin dans l'individualisation d'un reproche à une profession.
Mais faire le rapprochement avec Sarkozy, c'est rapprocher des choses qui ne sont pas de même nature. Ce n'est pas du "casse toi pauvre con" ou à la menace pour un journaliste de France télévisions de perdre son boulot parce qu'il ne lui a pas dit bonjour...



Mais le problème ne serait-il pas qu'il a fondamentalement raison ?

Crise écologique, fondements de la crise financière, crise sociale, crise géopolitique avec armement massif (les US dépensent aujourd'hui plus en armement que pendant la 2nde guerre mondiale par ex..., les journaux ne parlent pas de ces sujets alors que sont eux qui font réellement la caractéristique de notre époque .... et les journalistes ne s'en rendent plus compte.

Il ne faut quand même pas oublier que les media sont le chaînon indispensable du débat public sur nos intérêts collectifs
Et étant donné les crises actuelles, il y en a marre d'avoir une profession qui n'est pas à la hauteur de ce à quoi aujourd'hui la société est collectivement confrontée...

isabelle said...

Tout d'abord :
Quelle est la question du journaliste au départ qui a provoqué cet emportement ? N'est-ce pas hasardeux / est il tout à fait professionnel de faire une analyse sans avoir cette information ? N'est-il pas intellectuellement malhonnête de faire de telles conclusions sans le contexte ?

Sinon :
Mélenchon oui, va trop loin dans l'individualisation d'un reproche à une profession.
Mais faire le rapprochement avec Sarkozy, c'est rapprocher des choses qui ne sont pas de même nature. Ce n'est pas du "casse toi pauvre con" ou à la menace pour un journaliste de France télévisions de perdre son boulot parce qu'il ne lui a pas dit bonjour...



Mais le problème ne serait-il pas qu'il a fondamentalement raison ?

Crise écologique, fondements de la crise financière, crise sociale, crise géopolitique avec armement massif (les US dépensent aujourd'hui plus en armement que pendant la 2nde guerre mondiale par ex..., les journaux ne parlent pas de ces sujets alors que sont eux qui font réellement la caractéristique de notre époque .... et les journalistes ne s'en rendent plus compte.

Il ne faut quand même pas oublier que les media sont le chaînon indispensable du débat public sur nos intérêts collectifs
Et étant donné les crises actuelles, il y en a marre d'avoir une profession qui n'est pas à la hauteur de ce à quoi aujourd'hui la société est collectivement confrontée...

Anonymous said...

worth noting that the author of this video was not a journalist at all, but rather a journalism student. and a kindly, fresh-faced one at that.

i agree that the american approach to electoral politics - the "could i drink a beer with the candidate?" litmus test - is absurd. but so too, as art has noted, are the ideologues who refuse debate on the pretext that they've already worked out a perfect politics.

and of course, the anti-journalism trope is one with a long history in modern france - in particular on the far right - and while there is some very real truth to the accusations of clannishness and collusion, it seems to me a tired excuse for a lack of electoral success. this is melenchon at his unabashedly populist worst. what thinking person can be impressed or inspired - politically - by his prestation here?