Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Fear of Youth

A short history of la peur des jeunes in France. A good example of the kind of innovative mixed-media journalism at which Rue89 excels.


I'm from New Jersey, so I know how to translate Marine Le Pen's remarks on the national identity debate:

"Le président Sarkozy a lancé une proposition de débat, le FN dit chiche", a-t-elle déclaré. "À sa proposition loyale, le FN attend une réponse loyale" a poursuivi Marine Le Pen, en affirmant que son parti avait été "le premier à porter la question identitaire dans le débat politique".

In Jersey English:

"Ya think ya can muscle in on my territory, tough guy? Fuhgeddaboutit!"

She also wants un "Grenelle de l'identité nationale", estimant que le débat ne pouvait avoir lieu que "dans un cadre solennel à l'échelon national." I suppose Sarko could always assign Frédéric Mitterrand to take the meeting with Marine.

We can expect an endless round of this posturing right up to the regional elections.

Pasqua's Hole Card

Facing jail time, Charles Pasqua has now moved to have the defense secret classification lifted on items pertaining to Angolagate. "Blame it on the dead guy" is a time-honored stratagem when all other options fail and "honor among thieves" must be sacrificed in the interest of the living. And if Mitterrand knew? Would that make rake-offs and kickbacks less shady? It doesn't matter. At 82, Pasqua's interest is to drag out the procedure until it no longer matters.

It seems that the decision on defense secrecy will fall to Hervé Morin. This is not among the president's powers.

Douche Froide

I don't usually bother raising eyebrows over the money politicians spend on themselves. Even professors have been known at times to dine out or junket on the taxpayer's dime. But this item caught my eye:

René Dosière, qui a consulté le rapport, s'est penché plus spécialement sur cet aspect, en insistant sur "un dîner des chefs d'Etat pour un coût de 1.010.256 euros, soit 5.050 euros par personne", et "l'installation -pour 4 heures !- d'une douche à l'usage du président, pour un prix de 245.772 euros".

Oui ou Non?

Oui ou non? So difficult to tell them apart. After all, both have three letters. Perhaps the Assemblée Nationale should adopt English as its official language. This would aid the deputies, who could be told to push the button with the long word, YES, rather than the short one, NO.

Villepin's Game

Dominique de Villepin seems to enjoy the little game he's playing: pretending that he's a serious rival--a "republican alternative," as he puts it--to his nemesis Nicolas Sarkozy. Yesterday he tried to plant a dagger in the back of another ambitious dreamer, Jean-François Copé, by insisting that he and the UMP Assembly leader were hand-in-glove: "Je travaille avec lui et je pense que c'est quelqu'un qui a une capacité à agir, un pragmatisme tout à fait essentiel dans le jeu politique."

Pretty soon the UMP will start to resemble the PS.