Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Short Break

There will be a brief hiatus in blogging. I'm off to Washington, DC. The U. S. Government, in its wisdom, has decided to consult me on the subject of French domestic politics. Imagine: now they'll know what you know, and they're paying for what you get for free. Back Friday night.

Copé Defends Valls

Jean-François Copé has crossed the left-right divide to defend Manuel Valls for his contested remark about the absence of whites at a flea market in Evry. But this is the kind of defense Valls doesn't need. Copé enlists Valls as a champion of "French identity": "Behind [his words], there is a reality, that of French identity." Which, Copé implies, is of course white-skinned. As Coluche used to say, "Ouais, tu sais, je suis un type normal, un Blanc quoi."

Of course if Valls ever does realize his wish of becoming the candidate of the Left, Copé might well be the man he faces on the Right. So Copé's "generous" defense of his potential rival is worth parsing. Valls, as I pointed out yesterday, tried to defend himself by donning republican garb. Copé takes a page out of Sarkozy's playbook: You're no more republican than I am, he says, and for me the Republic is synonymous with "French identity," tu sais, normal, et blanc, quoi.


I try not to do much Bruni-blogging. Respect for la vie privée and all, not to mention distaste for la pipolisation de la politique. But this! Woody Allen wants to make a film with Carla. Since Woody is the new Jerry Lewis--the American export whose appeal to the French is a tad difficult to explain--this might give Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis a run for its money. How can Sarko resist?

Maybe Woody is drawn to the saga of an older guy, not all that physically prepossessing, stealing off with a fetching younger woman. Sarko could be pretty convincing as a nebbishy Allen proxy.

Le Bac

Questions from this year's bac en philo:

Les sujets complets

Série L (littéraire), coefficient 7

- L'objectivité de l'histoire suppose-t-elle l'impartialité de l'historien ?

- Le langage trahit-il la pensée ?

- Expliquer un extrait de Le Monde comme volonté et comme représentation, de Schopenhauer.

Série S (scientifique), coefficient 3

- Est-il absurde de désirer l'impossible ?

- Y a-t-il des questions auxquelles aucune science ne répond ?

- Expliquer un extrait de De la démocratie en Amérique, d'Alexis de Tocqueville.

Série ES (économique et social) coefficient 4

- Que gagne-t-on à échanger ?

- Le développement technique transforme-t-il les hommes ?

- Expliquer un extrait de l'Essai sur l'entendement humain, de John Locke.

Crikey! Is it absurd to desire the impossible? A question from the philosophy bac in the science track!!? No wonder the students are on strike. This sounds more like a May '68 slogan than a subject for the philosophy of science to my no doubt coarse Yankee ears (coarsened by a B.S. and Ph.D. from MIT to be sure, so I have learned a little science in my time, and in my spare time a little philo as well). Cultivating paradox is one thing, philosophy of science is another.

Could it be that Sarko has a point about La Princesse de Clèves?

ADDENDUM: Charles Bremner's son takes the bac en philo.

This is chouette, if you go for beaux vieux purveyors of the higher bullshit.
Or if you'd rather get it from the left than the right, here's Enthoven.

Matt Yglesias has the correct answers (in a literal American sort of way).

Has Anti-Sarkozysme Run Its Course?

Bernard Girard thinks so. But then there's also this.