Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Evaluating the Minister of Culture

When Sarkozy came into office, we heard a great deal about the importance of measuring the performance of ministers and evaluating policies. It was all going to be done very efficiently, even using American consulting firms and their supposedly proven methods. In the event, whatever evaluation may have been done has hardly been transparent. And recent remaniements suggest that the judgment of ministers is based more on political calculation than policy evaluation.

Today, however, has decided to do its own evaluation of a ministry close to its beat: culture. The journal has published an extensive dossier on all aspects of the culture ministry's operations. You can consul it here.

Russell Shorto Responds

I was critical of Russell Shorto's piece on Marine Le Pen, and Mr. Shorto has responded in comments. I reproduce his response here so that no one will miss it:

I’m a bit late in adding my two cents here because I only just noticed these posts about my profile of Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s NYT Magazine. As to Mr. Goldhammer’s remarks that I allowed Le Pen to get away with things, I believe the piece covered nearly everything he says it should have, by way of offering counterpoints. The counters were not necessarily directly following her comments, however, and many were in the words of others I quoted who oppose her. I was in this case a journalist writing a profile--so letting her make her case and also putting it in historical context and giving room for contrary views--not a blogger or editorial writer The one point he raises that I did not include was about what the consequences would be of France pulling out of the euro. A good line to pursue, but in a 3000 word piece you have limited space to cover topics. To my mind, the main point of her rise, and thus of my article as well as of followups on my own blog (, is the extent to which the new far right is taking on pieces of leftist economic agenda. I agree with randcoop that the success of Le Pen and others is related to the failure of the left to articulate answers to current crises. That failure--and the success of this new movement--needs much more attention in the U.S. Russell Shorto