Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Another article on the elections ...

I try to define Macronism and its success in The Nation.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very nice aicle, Art. The progressive versus revolutionary optimism reminds me that inHamburg, from where I write, the G-20 is meeting in a few weeks.
The revolutionary optimists are mobilizing in Sternschandze and St Pauli, looking more like the heirs to Madame Lesfarges than Robespierre. Merkel and Macron have to reply to this challenge if market reforms in France are to grab traction. Melenchon will surely use the G-20 meeting to again ave the flag of revolution in France, pledging only wiping away all the old structures can renew the moribund system Frenchnon-voters (and some voters this year) reject.
Please write a bit about the G-20 meeting coming up and Macron's positioning of himself in Hamburg, as I believe it represents another test of Macron's vision, and the possibility of further Franco-German cooperation in opposition to the "free traders" opposing them n the EU.

mpz13 said...

Sorry but this not as "enlightening" as usual.
You write before linkoing to The Nation : "I try to define Macronism and its success" and after 3 775 words into the piece, you write, - second sentence of your last § : "Macronism remains to be defined".
Well... I sure will "ronger mon frein" and wait for the "immense surprises in store".

Anonymous said...

Counterpoint: Danish modernist furniture is quite nice! It is unfairly associated with tasteless excesses that were popular during the same period. Macron's spiel about running France as though it were a start-up, however, would have sounded dated five years ago.

mpz13 said...

Hum...The REM régiment manoeuvering by the whistle at l'Assemblée Nationale, the Versailles congress before the prime minister speech, the Trump invitation for the July 14 th military parade, the "pensée complexe" of the president too sophisticated for interviews, the official picture overloaded with symbols and their explanations in the media... I am afraid I have a rather clear picture of what Macronism intends to be and I don't like it.

Anonymous said...

@ the comment above: VGE is the only president with a good portrait officiel, but this overstuffed thing from Macron is certainly the worst ever. (The pre-VGE ones are merely stuffy.) Who would have thought Macron's picture would be tasteless? I would say that his love of smartphones and silicon valley marked a gap in his otherwise exquisite taste- but then, why three books? One was enough for Mitterand. I suppose, in light of Trump, we should be grateful to have a president who reads: but why lower our standards because of the Americans?

Lapinot said...

I like it, with the nature and culture and France and Europe, apart from the placement of his arms and hands. Okay, that's quite a big 'apart from' but once you've had an exclamation mark in your political movement all bets are off.

Mitch Guthman said...

@ mpz13,

I share your unease but if there's a glimmer of hope here it's that Macron wasn't riding his white horse in the photograph.

Robinson said...

@ Mitch Muthman: Ha! I don't like all the bric-à-brac, but Macron thank god leaves the grateful French citizenry to imagine him on horseback.

To my taste Sarkozy's photo was as bad, or nearly. Leaving Tump to one side, Macron has far to fall if he is to match Sarko's vulgarity. The exclamation point in En Marche! is dire, however.

Anonymous said...

All I remember of Sarkozy's was the comically conspicuous middle jacket button on his 90s bag of a suit...

Anonymous said...

Macron's portrait is the epitome of of bad taste. He wants to make us think of a Dutch or Italian portrait from the Renaissance, striking a significant pose in a significant setting surrounded by tasteful symbols of his good culture and e-commerce dynamism. It is really only a small step up from Trump getting himself painted in shades of brown à la Rembrandt, or Saddam Hussein on a white horse. What is most embarrassing about the photo is that Macron clearly thinks that it is some sort of deep statement about himself.

Angela Merkel never studied with Paul Ricour, but in her quiet way she is a cultivated person (she gave an entire interview explaining her love of Wagner- a touchy subject in Germany, of course). She would never be so pretentious as to pose for a photo like this. Even Cameron or Schröder would know not to. The last European leaders I can think of who had this sort of vanity are Blair and Aznar. And... Berlusconi.

Alexandra Marshall said...

@Lapinot -- Hahahaha zing!

Art, God love you, you know that Danish moderne is having its biggest revival since it was a thing?

I appreciated how you treated the role of ideology in the parties today. It has a more abstract and academic air in French political culture. Everyone French I spoke with about this election who came around to Macron did so because of that question. "I'm tired of hearing about these solutions that have no possibility of real world success... Just give me some practical solutions..." was the refrain.

mpz13 said...

@Mitch. Be patient. The equestrian statue is not on the budget for year one, it will come later. I'm sure Xavier Veilhan - who is an habitué of Versailles, is already briefed and working on it (spoiler: the horse will be blue). Something tasty and classic but also crunchy- modern, probably to stand in front of the Pyramide du Louvre.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with the official portrait as far as official portraits go. The symbolism may be obvious, but what exactly was the symbolism of Hollande's official portrait, standing on the lawn of the Elysée Palace?

I don't understand all the snide remarks about Macron, although I know that Arthur and most of the people who post here are probably nostalgic leftists. I hope they are not admirers of the bombastic, pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-socialist clown Mélenchon. Macron will only satisfy the sans culottes if he appears without a tie, or perhaps in a teeshirt haranguing la foule of unbowed France.

Art Goldhammer said...

Last Anonymous: You're wrong. I'm a soft pro-Macronista and have no use for Mélenchon.

Anonymous said...

I don't see three books, only one, open, behind the phones.
Anyone knows what they are?
The picture does reflect who he is and unlike it better than either Sakrozy or Hollande's.
(Myos)

Unknown said...

To me the book likes like a La Pléiade . Brown cover , so XXth century. Given Macron's reported affinity with Esprit , I'm going to guess Camus (ideologically proximate), and I'm further going to narrow it down to les "Essais"... How did I do ? ;)

Philippe

Anonymous said...

I believe the books are DeGaulle's Memoirs de Guerre, Gide's Nourritures terrestres and le Rouge et le Noir. Macron did a little video explaining it. I don't love the photo, but I don't read as much into these things as some of the other writers here. The Gide was an interesting choice, I thought.

Anonymous said...

Hollande's portrait was an (inferior) imitation of Chirac's, which was pretty good. As one of the writers above has said, Giscard has the only genuinely striking one. Only in France are these things supposed to be striking statements. Their British and German equivalents are unpretentious snapshots of the subject looking glum. The official portraits of US presidents have been uniformly terrible since Sargent painted Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt long ago. Sargent's TR is an interesting precursor to the photos of Macron and Giscard, which try to convey dynamism in a similar way. (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Theodore_Roosevelt_by_John_Singer_Sargent,_1903.jpg)

Jerry Brown, the eternal Governor of California, got his portrait painted by Don Bachardy, an artist of real talent (he was Christopher Isherwood's partner). That is the only recent official portrait I can think of that has artistic merit. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gubernatorial_portrait_of_Jerry_Brown).

I am more impressed by Mitterrand reading Montaigne than by Macron's choice of books, but then I've always hated Nourritures terrestres. Les faux-monnayeurs would have been a more interesting choice, although the title might have given the wrong impression.

Anonymous said...

Mémoires de guerre... please , no !

"le style naturel de De Gaulle est endimanché jusqu'au ridicule" (Jacques Laurent)

Philippe

Anonymous said...

Well, you can hardly blame the president of France for trying to associate himself with Charles de Gaulle!

FrédéricLN said...

thanks Art, the paper is un précis de macronisme. Une définition en extension, the landscape in full. The kind of papers which would make French readers feel comfortable with Obama-ism or Trumpism.

The point of a commenter about enlightment suggests imho that the landscape is smoky, after the electoral battle and before the next battle, the one never knows now from
where it will come. No elections ahead before Summer 2019. But certainly many fights to be fought. Let us look for the sudden shine of reflectef light that will reveal the spade.

As you underscore, Macron perfectly understood the nature of French politics. I hope he will keep the same cleverness now that he is standing in the empty place, accroché à la table qui le porte.

Anonymous said...

mpz13 got to the core of the problem. Macron's photo is a very minor story in itself, although I've enjoyed all the art criticism on this blog. It is revealing, and it becomes more revealing in light of various other recent bits of news. The idea that Macron's thought is to complicated to be revealed in an interview is ridiculous: were De Gaulle and Mitterand simple minded sloganeers who communicated only in soundbites? And why on earth invite Trump for July 14? I am so amazed by this development that I have nothing to say and await commentary: I have no earthly idea why Macron did it or what will come of it. Perhaps it is a good idea? I tend to have opinions about this sort of thing, but on this point I just don't know what to say.

Anonymous said...

Why did Macron invite Trump? It is pretty obvious, really. The one hundreth anniversary of America's intervention in World War I would have been commemorated in any event. Trump is head of state, he represents the United States, therefore....

De Gaulle and Mitterrand would have understood.

Anonymous said...

Added to previous remark. An excellent explanation of Macron's invitation of Trump.

http://www.atlantico.fr/rdv/geopolitico-scanner/donald-trump-invite-au-defile-14-juillet-nouveau-coup-maitre-president-macron-del-valle-3097004.html

Anonymous said...

Most explanations I've heard about the invitation can be summarized with "French people assume that, like them, Emmanuel Macron has watched Le diner de cons". Most people who watch Les nouvelles de vingt heures think that Trump is easily vowed by compliments* and pump, so the 14th of July will be perfect to get something out of him.

* yesterday I went to Le parc du Puydu Fou. If you're in France and have never been, it's a must-seen in terms of rewriting history Disneyland. The bad guys who kill women and children are the soldiers of the Republic, although bad guys can be saved if they pledge fealty to the saints (for example, pillaging Vikings). The French flag doesn't appear till World War I. There are fantastic scenes with birds of prey or a horse that comes from under water (knights of the round table), which I genuinely liked because there was no hocus pocus revisionary stuff. I bought to mention a courageous admiral who goes to fight with Lafayette for Independence, only to be slayed by French revolutionaries upon his return to France.
Anyway, there's a LaFontaine garden with animated animals and of course there's a crow, a camembert, and a fox. I was surprised browser half the audience of all ages including an 8year old mouthing the poem as it was recited by the animals. "Any flaterer lives at the expense of those who believe him". French people by and large consider Donald Trump a buffoon and thus know he "doesn't know his fables".
(Myos)

Alexandra Marshall said...

Myos, a camembert? An animatronic cheese that people pay to see? I knew there was a reason I moved to France. Previously all I had in live motion dairy goods was Stew Leonard's on visits back to friends in Connecticut.