Monday, June 9, 2014

The Emancipation of Marine Le Pen

Jean-Marie Le Pen has made another of the "gaffes" for which he is famous, proposing to make "an ovenload" of artists who denigrate his Front National. It's hardly news that the elder Le Pen is a past master of such dreadful double-entendres. This time is different, however. For the first time, his daughter has denounced her father's statement as "a political error" that has damaged the party, a sentiment in which she has been joined even more vocally by other party stalwarts, who have remarked that JMLP "a manqué une bonne occasion de se taire." In addition, Gilbert Collard has implied that because JMLP is now in his dotage, he has become a political liability to a party attempting to move from the cold into the mainstream and ought to retire.

In response to these events we have the usual chorus of conventional wisdom. JMLP's dérapage, some say, is actually proof that the FN has not changed and remains the neofascist bastion of anti-Semitism that it was. Others insist, on the contrary, that the swift condemnation of his remarks by top party leaders proves that MLP's FN is intent on shedding its old image and consolidating its new status as a, if not the, party of the governmental right.

One thing is certain: the FN can now actually envision wielding power, and this prospect has modified its approach to political rhetoric. It doesn't need to provoke to garner publicity. It has put forth a substantive critique of existing policy with which it can attract enough votes to ensure constant press coverage. JMLP's logorrheic excesses are no longer useful, and his daughter will do what she can to stop them. But the old man is cantankerous enough to defy her, and old men can be tough to deal with. I'm old enough to know.


Mitch Guthman said...

I really don't have a clue about whether this is just a kabuki performance where JMLP throws red meat (perhaps sausages would be a better metaphor)to the true-believers while his daughter makes a show of being shocked and repulsed at his vileness.

The only thing I can say for sure is that if it isn't all an act, this is one astonishingly dysfunctional family.

DavidinParis said...

@ Mitch, I agree 100% with the 'dysfunctional family' observation. Perhaps it is Kabuki theater or the old man who has lost what little he had of the frontal lobe (the part that more or less suppresses or dark side). Either reason is enough for the French to re-examine their 'protest vote' (the excuse de jour).

Cincinna said...

My contention has always been that MLP will go nowhere as long as her father is alive.
I totally disagree with those who say he is just a dotty old man gone gaga. He is a sharp political operator, as is his daughter, as her recent tough interview In Der Spiegel proved. She knows exactly how to answer questions. It is possible they are just playing the old "good cop, bad cop" routine: he makes one of his notorious anti-Semitic remarks, this time against Patrick Bruel, a very well liked entertainer, and daughter dearest gently (but firmly, rebukes Daddy dearest). He throws his troops some red meat, she says he made an error.
France still has to contend with this odious family, père et filled and now gendre. Never underestimate their political abilities, nor their true beliefs.
Euro-skeptics have a place at the table; the discussion about turning over nation sovereignty and cultural identity to an amorphous bureaucracy in Brussels should be had. A woman with political aspirations who is the belle of the ball who dance at the Nazi Ball in Vienna does not.
Neither, IMHO, do the people who are calling for criminal proceedings against JMLP, When you try and squelch speech for "hateful" speech, what kind of speech will be attacked next?
Perhaps the VI ème République, which is surely coming, will provide for First Amendment protection. The fourth amendment would be a nice addition as well.

Guillaume Durocher said...

The statement was in an aside in a lengthy weekly video. The teaming masses (and even most FN supporters) would not hear of this if journalists weren't combing his statements for manufactured "gaffes."

A definition of "fournée" according to wiktionary:
(Quelquefois) (Figuré) (Familier) Un certain nombre de personnes qui sont nommées à la fois aux mêmes fonctions ou dignités.
Il ne sera pas de cette fournée pour la Légion d'honneur.

And making anti-FN pieties is a sure way for bobo-artists to increase their chances of getting a Légion on behalf of the regime.

Anonymous said...

Nobody listens to Karl Rove anymore, except for the French Extreme Right, it seems.
It's so easy
1° someone in the party (fox news favorite figure of sorts, but not too high up) says something outrageous.
2° most media outlets scream, outraged, and provide free publicity.
3° someone in the party (higher up) speaks "reasonably" and condemns
4° media outlets congratulate the person who then becomes "mainstream" along with her ideas
5° the newly respectable person and ideas are now legitimized.
Rinse and repeat until it takes (or until a particular position is legitimized in relation to what used to be the party line before, which is reased from "memory".)
JMLP is not gaga. He knows exactly how to use the media and so does his daughter.

DavidinParis said...

@ anon:

BINGO! (and well summarized too).

brent said...

I agree that Anon has it about right. He leaves out the step though where JMLP (or M. Durocher on his behalf) says 'Dérapage? What dérapage? An oven is just an oven, a batch just a batch. Why are you so hypersensitive?' The sick little comedy wouldn't be complete without these lines, so thank you, M. Durocher.

DavidinParis said...

IT was the French media that caught this, not the anglo saxon media that did not pick up on the potential use as an equivalent of the word 'batch' (i.e batch of cookies or amount of bread that can fit into an oven). I personally would have to rely on the ears of a real maternal francophone to know if it was the 'double entendre' that it has been claimed to be. So, maybe Durocher has a point? If so, is this a tempête dans une théièr?

bernard said...


my view is that it is both Kabuki and the display of a severely dysfunctional family. Kabuki because while most of the time MLP controls herself, every once in a while she expresses herself (a journalist married to a Jewish exec of Publicis was a victim recently...). Dysfunctional family: the hilarious show of his ex-wife when she finally quit the doomed marriage in the nineties etc. An analyst woulld have a book to write.

Guillaume Durocher said...

Here's the relevant passage of the video:

Make your own opinion..

The second half of the video when he criticizes Gilbert Collard and the Rassemblement Bleu Marine makes me think this is a rather sad affair..

Guillaume Durocher said...

And Bruno Gollnisch on the matter:

I imagine he feels torn between Marine and Jean-Marie. He is very much part of the "old guard" which it seems is being phased out..