Friday, April 4, 2008

Interesting Ad

I'm not supposed to refer to the Google ads that appear in the right-hand column, but I can't resist quoting this one in full:

Looking for Government? Find exactly what you want today.

Google ads are displayed automatically and selected by Google's "intelligent" search engines, which analyze the content of the blog and choose ads to match. No doubt Google has discerned that the French are looking for a government, and I guess by shopping at Yahoo, the suggestion is, they might find what they are looking for for something less than they're already paying. Good luck to them. On trouve tout à la Samaritaine, as one pre-Internet advertisement used to claim. On trouve plus encore chez Yahoo, y compris des gouvernments.

O tempora! O mores!

This ad may not appear in your view of the page, because the ads are always changing, and Google's intelligent engines also take account of the tastes and habits of the reader as well as the content of the page. Caveat emptor! Caveat lector!

Haski Responds to Vaïsse

Yesterday I recommended Justin Vaïsse's riposte to Pierre Haski. Here is Haski's rejoinder.


Yesterday I praised Rue89. Today I must criticize it. Philippe Kieffer's review of a book by Olivier Duhamel and Michel Field on Sarkozy and the media, Le Sarkozysme, has a pretty title, to be sure--"Sarko-trafiquants"--yet it traffics in the same banalities as the media it accuses of being the accros who enable Sarko to go on "dealing," if I may borrow the review's conceit. And so we are treated to yet another recital of the symbolic accoutrements of Sarkozysme: "Ses pompes. Ses œuvres. Ses Ray-Ban, son Fouquet’s, sa Rolex..." And who exactly transformed these now familiar commodities into regalian paraphernalia as recognizable as orb and scepter? Why, the media, of course. And who better to unmask the process of transformation than two journalists who specialize in "mediology"? Who better to praise their skill at the task than yet another journalist, writing in yet another medium, digital print? The snake can go on eating its tail forever, while we bloggers, like a swarm of ants clearing detritus from the jungle floor, feed on the fuss.

Surely there are more revealing ways to approach the question of Sarkozy and the media. One might ask, for example, why there has been so little exploration by the media of the consequences of the reforms introduced in the first 100 days? How have firms actually responded to the detaxation of overtime? We've heard little apart from a triumphalist announcement by Christine Lagarde and the occasional debunking comment from this or that economist. How about an extensive survey of CEOs? What has actually changed in the universities? The media covered the reforms, Sarko's intervention, and the strikes, but since then? I mentioned Patrick Weil's op-ed the other day, but surely an enterprising reporter could collect the views of university presidents, faculty members, students, parents of students. What about the reduction of the ISF, or wealth tax? Have entrepreneurial energies been unleashed? Can one point to a single start-up attributable to the reform? Has any firm established abroad by a French entrepreneur returned home because of the reduction of the fiscal shield to 50 percent?

One could go on in this vein for quite a while. But why should a politician shun the quick high of the effet d'annonce when journalists waste their time rehashing the shooting-up without ever returning to Needle Park to describe the nodding derelicts the morning after? After such a party, ordinary journalism seems too much like dreary work. But must we endure the sermons of those who claim they mingled on intimate terms with the revelers yet never inhaled?