Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Curious Photo

Bernard Girard comments wittily and perspicaciously on the photo above. I would note one additional point. Some weeks ago a leak from the Elysée revealed that Hollande's staff was worried that in photographs of the president, his tie was never straight. Apparently, some modifications were made to the presidential wardrobe, involving a device to fix his tie to his shirt in such a way that he would appear somewhat less askew. Alas, the device seems to have failed him.

But the real point of this photo, as Bernard notes, is the descent into bathos, from tragedy to farce: the Kohl-Mitterrand handholding commemorated the consummation of the EU as the culmination of a generation's effort to ensure that "never again" would war and genocide darken the history of Europe. A generation later, however, and Europe is once again in grave crisis, if not yet close to war and genocide then at least close enough to the conditions that made intra-European conflict and ethnic hatred thinkable that one cannot help feeling that the feigned insouciance of this staged photo op stands as a warning of the failure of European leadership to recognize, let alone grapple with, what is at stake in Europe's institutional maladjustment.


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Anonymous said...
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