Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wayward Sons

Christine Lagarde manages to smile--once--for Apathie, but of course she thought of herself as doing a radio interview. She is as fluent as always but contrives to let drop that her sons abstained on Sunday and that she turned to them as authorities to help her understand why 50 percent of the French failed to grasp how magnificently the government had performed in the crisis. "Oh, ya know, ma, the regions--who understands what they're all about?" So the problem, she concludes, is one of communication, explanation, education. Which leaves open the question of why the sons of the minister of finance are so indifferent to politics. Perhaps it has something to do with the lawyerly, technocratic discourse that seems never to leave her. She could serve a government of the right or left with equally brisk confidence and competence. So why bother to vote? Everything said on the hustings and reported in the papers is just noise, right? In the end, all is well if people like Christine Lagarde are put in place to repair the damage and navigate cleanly between Scylla and Charybdis. That, at any rate, is the vibe she gives off. The room must be chilly when she and Tim Geithner meet.

5 comments:

sf reader said...

I don't understand the reference to Geithner? Your description of Lagarde's conception of her role (virtually non-partisan technocrat) seems to me to describe Geithner's self-conception as well. Could you explain further?

Unknown said...

sf reader, Yes, you've understood me perfectly. I expressed myself badly. I didn't mean that the atmosphere in the room would be chilly. Indeed, I think that Lagarde and Geithner understand each other perfectly. They're both cold technicians (hence my use of the word "chilly"). Of course Lagarde has criticized some of Geithner's moves, but she fully understands why he made them. I think these two respect each other, but they're representing different interests, and in their lawyerly/technocratic way they marshal arguments that serve those interests while doing their best to characterize them as the general interest.

sf reader said...

Ahhh, the chilly exhalations of the technocrats create a cyrogenic atmosphere - now I get it! To carry it further, ca chauffe when you introduce, say, Robert Reich into the mix! [Please excuse typed franglais, cannot get the diacritical marks to appear.]

Unknown said...

Google for "US International" keyboard. It's the easiest way to do accents on a PC without having to relearn how to type, in my opinion, and you can easily switch between the standard and international keyboards.

MYOS said...

about ministres, this article from Rue 89:
http://www.rue89.com/regions-en-campagne/2010/03/16/regionales-la-berezina-des-ministres-candidats-143031

It really WAS a thumpin'.