Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hooting and Hollering

One feels a certain impatience with politics as usual when a real crisis is threatening to transform the world as we know it, but faiblesse oblige. Some fans at a soccer match hooted La Marseillaise. Sarko won't stand for it. Any more booing of the national anthem, he says, and the match must be canceled (at the risk of provoking a riot, no doubt, but the police are of course at the ready to crack heads and turn farce into tragedy). The Socialists, who refused to vote for the emergency bank rescue bill lest they be seen as holding the president's coat, don't mind holding his coat, shirt, hat, trousers, and shoes on this issue of evidently overweening national importance. Le Figaro is apoplectic, Le Parisien sees an "affair of state."

I am reminded of the 1968 Olympics. American athletes raised their clenched fists on the victors' stand in Mexico City, and to judge by the reaction in the States, you would have thought World War III had broken out. The root cause was the same. Minorities, feeling mistreated at home, seized one of the few occasions when their expression would have unquestionable public visibility to manifest their existence and their discontent. Having no use for the proprieties of normal political discourse, they were only too glad to be rapped on the knuckles by sputtering elders. The anger was proof they'd gotten under the skin of the martinets, which is precisely where angry young cut-ups want to be. Outrage and overreaction are hardly remedies, as anyone who has ever dealt with an adolescent (or been one) knows.

The politicians ought to stop their useless scolding and get back to the urgent business of the day. If the United States can stop talking about flags pinned (or not) to the lapels of candidates, France can stop yapping about jeering at soccer games.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The best comment I have read on this charade is from Eolas.

As usual funny and scathing.

http://www.maitre-eolas.fr/2008/10/16/1111-allons-sifflets-de-la-patri-i-euh

Leo

David in Setouchi said...

Business as usual for the French govt..

(and had I been in the stadium, I think I'd have booed too, but because it was Laam(e) who was singing).