Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ideas Made Flesh

"Incarnation"--it seems to be on everybody's mind these days. Guaino sees it as the secret of Sarkozy's success. And now Malek Boutih has brought it up in a gathering of ambitious young cubs ready to challenge François Hollande for leadership of the pride and drive him off into the jungle to die. Arnaud Montebourg wanted to put across the idea that this wasn't just a revival of the Nouveau Parti Socialiste. That didn't work. Time for something new. But Boutih wanted assurances that this new effort wouldn't be just another "font of ideas not promoted by people." Incarnation, you see: politics in the Sarkozyan era needs bodies. Thinking isn't enough; you have to jog and cycle. L'homme est un coureur pensant (n'en déplaise à Pascal).

It would appear that there is no shortage of eager (self-)promoters ready to mount their vélos (and Bertrand Delanoë has made it easy for them, having stationed vélibs, bikes free for the temporary taking, at convenient spots around Paris). Manuel Valls was there, getting himself looked over as a présidentiable, no doubt to the consternation of Montebourg. But everybody made the right noises for now: this was a time for "collective ambition," not "personal ambition." The last thing these forty-somethings want is to reproduce the system of courants, which were less like streams than scavenging packs hunting in the tracks of the éléphants. Or so they say. Libé's metaphor for the quadragénaires today is lionceaux, but in the right light they look more like éléphanteaux.

See also here.

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