Thursday, January 29, 2009

Femme debout!

Charles Bremner accuses Ségolène Royal of "settling scores in an extraordinarily vindictive way" in her new book, Femme debout! which he says "confirms that France was lucky to have escaped the rule of a slightly deranged woman." Whoa! Talk about "extraordinarily vindictive!" Bremner hismelf seems slightly unhinged by Ségo. She does that to people. (I would add that Bremner's choice of photograph, intended to make the candidate look like la folle de Chaillot, is hardly a model of restrained journalism).

That said, I think that Ségo is ill-advised to make her persecution central to her political identity, no matter how painful that persecution was. Having claimed last week that she inspired Obama, she should now take inspiration from him in return and develop a little cool, or what the New York Times today calls "Aloha zen." In any case, the title of her book, Femme debout!, which Bremner translates as "Woman Standing!" is no doubt intended to convey an image of dignity and strength under attack, an image belied by the widely publicized excerpts from the text. I would be tempted to hazard a rather freer translation, borrowed from a recent film: "Dead Woman Walking!"

Strike Thread

So, how does the general strike look from where you are? Reply in comments. The image of the royal couple is from Marseille.

Sarko Booed and Shoed, Prefect Booted

The president's visit to Saint-Lô on Jan. 12 didn't quite go as planned: his motorcade was pummeled with hurled shoes, his supporters couldn't get through the police lines to reward him with accolades, and there were scuffles in the streets. Now the prefect of La Manche, Jean Charbonniaud, appointed just six months ago, has been sacked.

Which proves that the the wheels of government can be made to turn rapidly when urgency requires.