Tuesday, December 22, 2009


PS, FN up; UMP, EE down. Modem, Gauche, NPA out.

Mitterrand's Book in English

Frédéric Mitterrand's book is to be published in English. Here is a statement from his publisher, Soft Skull Press (which I had never heard of until today):

As the soon-to-be publisher of Frédéric Mitterrand's memoir in the United States we have been following closely the current discussion concerning Mr. Mitterrand in the press. We'd just like to say that what is most surprising to us regarding the situation is that Mr. Mitterrand's story has for quite some time been public knowledge to the French people, and in the most high-profile fashion. The Bad Life was published four years ago and became a bestseller in France. The controversial passages have been known to us all along and, among other things, it was the frankness and thoughtfulness with which Mr. Mitterand discussed his life that drew us to the project. Whether you agree with Mr. Mitterrand’s story or habits, he approaches them with a compelling and thought-provoking honesty and we continue to stand behind this elegant and brave book in the same way we have since undertaking to publish it here. As a publisher, Soft Skull has always embraced controversial conversations. That which makes us uncomfortable certainly warrants further rather than less scrutiny.

We look forward to releasing The Bad Life quite soon.

Post Turns Populists Into Patriots

The Washington Post mistook the P in UMP for "patriotique" rather than "populaire," yielding this:

Some legislators from Sarkozy's coalition, the Union for a Patriotic Movement, have proposed a law to forbid foreign flags during immigrant weddings in city halls. And a small-town mayor from the Sarkozy coalition, André Valentin, warned during a government-sponsored national identity debate last week that "we are going to be gobbled up" unless something is done to halt the influx of immigrants, who he said "are paid to do nothing."

Le Point noticed the error, but the Post has not yet seen fit to correct it.

Can't Leave It Alone

The minarets thing: looks like the UMP can't leave it alone. Nora Berra stormed out of a meeting of UMP deputies today after Pascal Clément said that France would no longer be France when there were more minarets than cathedrals. An interesting idea: it doesn't of course matter that the cathedrals are empty, except for tourists, and have been for decades. As everyone knows, the French by and large don't practice their religion. But nonexistent minarets are apparently still a threat to a French identity based on nonexistent practice. You can hardly blame Muslims for drawing the conclusion that perhaps the attack on the burqa, which J.-F. Copé intends to bring to a vote next month, isn't really about protecting women after all.

The Swiss--in a panic over their four, count them, FOUR minarets--have apparently ignited a fire in France as well, and Marine Le Pen must be rubbing her hands in glee.