Thursday, September 20, 2007

Counterpunch


Philippe Bilger, reputed to be one of the most brilliant of French prosecutors, has struck back at Rachida Dati after her much-criticized efforts to bring French magistrates to heel. She was "not chosen for her competence," says Bilger, who is generally counted as a supporter of the right, but rather "because she is a woman, a symbol, and the darling of the presidential couple."

Bilger is an interesting figure, not only because he is one of the most mediagenic of French lawyers but also because he has been critical of certain "excesses" of French political humor (see the previous post about caricatures of French politicians). He and Bruno Gaccio published a book of dialogues on the subject. Gaccio is of course the creator of the satirical TV show Les Guignols de l'Info, which skewers politicians. Bilger is critical of the way in which political humor can short-circuit reflection and regiment thought. Gaccio, a populist uninhibited by such scruples, is critical of the influence of money in politics.

Note, in this interview with L'Express, that Bilger is highly critical of the French consensus on speech law: he does not believe that negationist speech should be illegal, for instance. Bilger's blog is worth reading--and, soit dit en passant, his analysis of the Sarkozyan style and its effect on the media's coverage of the presidency is as lucid as it is stylish.

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