“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Monday, November 07, 2005



LI apologizes for the length of yesterday’s post. I don’t know what came over me. The fascination of the topic, the two Thai sticks, what... Anyway, I’m not going to go on at such tyrannical lengths again – without breaking it up into two posts.

Also, an email from a reader reminds us that we should have linked to the Colombia Journal site a post or two ago. LI especially recommends Eric Fichtl’s August article, which goes probing into Colombia’s recent history from the odd vector formed by media and grafitti.

LI is hoping that the peak donation period hasn’t passed. The first week of our drive we collected 200 dollars. The second week we collected 100 dollars, I believe. This is the third week. We’d really like to collect seven hundred more dollars, but more realistically, two hundred more is our goal. Please donate to us.

And finally: we are not really puzzled by the news from France. This emeute has been building for some time. In the U.S., there is a sort of laughable view of France – as there is of much of the rest of the world – in which the country exists only in strobic moments in which it interacts with or can be compared to the U.S. It is rather like the old disco days, when the multitudinous flicker of the house's special blacklights would reveal a world of dancers seemingly caught in some film strip of elaborate but obscure martyrdoms, disconnected naked poses bared to eyes that would seek in vain for the old instinctive continuities. All very dramatic, especially if you added coke or poppers to your dance card, but when the beautiful people went home or to the bathrooms or to fuck in the car, they still had to trundle the old daily carcass, that unglittering young thing as material as any mop, enduring all the ersatz hiatuses, with them to do it. So, too – to escape this ungainly metaphor – the French problem with its band of outsiders in the banlieus is not especially understood from the U.S. perspective. Much of the coverage in France has been disappointing, centering around Sarkozy’s Lepennian slip – calling the poor scum, saying he was going to ‘vacuum clean” the suburban slums, etc. Sarkozy is in an uncomfortable position, since his toughness was supposed to make the car burning insurrection impossible. But L’humanite, for instance, concentrating on Sarkozy as a cause of the insurrection is simply political bs.

From the U.S. pov, if we must have one, Sarkozy not only has moved to embody a sort of Nixon/George Wallace position in France, but he also – like Nixon – favors affirmative action. Affirmative action will go against so many French inclinations that it will be interesting to see where, if anywhere, such proposals go.

However, instead of analyzing the riots, we thought it would be more helpful just to translate a news account. Which we will do in an upcoming post – the one we thought we’d translate, we can’t find. It should be noted that the state of emergency declared by Villepen today originated with Le Pen’s party. We aren’t necessarily going to see a drift to the ultra right, but we certainly will see it if the Greens and Communists stick to the chorus that these riots are about Sarkozy. This is the time to really get into who is getting educated, who is getting the jobs, who is getting the health care, who is getting the infrastructure, who is getting the policing in France.

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