“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, April 30, 2007

a collector speaks.

Other people collect butterflies. A hobby that gets you outside, and puts you in scenes of great natural beauty, and sharpens your sense of microscopic differences.
LI’s hobby doesn’t come with such healthful after-effects. We like to collect leftists who preach far right policies, in the name of the left. These people can’t ask for the salt without assuring all and sundry that asking for the salt is a leftist value. No, an enlightenment value. No, a universal value, comrades!
Figaro – which, for those not in the know, is a conservative paper – published a simply beautiful specimen Friday. Just as the ardent collector, spotting a patch of vetch, is on the q vive for anthrocera purpuralis, the collector of these apostles of true, of core, of hardcore leftism knows to venture into areas like the Wall Street Journal Editorial page, or transcripts of the Hugh Hewitt program, to scoop up some really great specimens. As they feed in these areas, they become much less shy – even garrulous. One of their traits, then, is known as the Nick Cohen maneuver – as they advocate, say, small scale massacres of dusky mannikens on what C. Hitchens likes to call, with manly insouciance, the killing fields, they throw out truly piteous echoes about the ‘betrayal of the left’ By which they mean that somehow, behind their backs, so dastardly machinatins have merged together the stalinists and the islamofascists in a fight to collective agriculture under Shari'a law. So betrayed are these specimens that inevitably their incomes, and media appearances, go up and up. It is wonderful that unlike other subgroups - Satanists, vampires, Christian strippers, etc. - which are represented in the media (usually on afternoon talk shows, although is Jerry Springer still on?) by real members of the group, the subgroup of the left is never represented except by members who have hurt feelings about it. And who are continually addressing it.

These specimens do take out of that immersion in the left subgroup the idea that everything is about the left. Which adds of course to the comedy. What better place to address the comrades than from the columns of Figaro? With a program we can all get with: deregulating that market, invading this or that barbarous country, spending more money on those missiles. Etc. As anyone can tell, a lefty program par excellence. Those interested in evolutionary issues should notice that there is usually a path of development here, going through the Cuba stage, the Mao stage – essential, the Mao stage, for creating the tendency to grandiose statements about cultures about which the speaker evidently knows nothing – going through a nice bashing liberalism stage, and finally settling on a perpetual urging of free markets, free minds, and neo-imperialism as the true and onlie heritage of Marx’s good gray beard.

Our specimen today is called Alain Boyer. Figaro’s headline writer gave his piece an exquisitely ridiculous title: Si vous êtes vraiment de gauche, votez Sarkozy ! For those who don’t read French, the translation is: If you like escargot, you will just love my recipe for Feces Alexander! Boyer begins with an almost Berman-like seriousness (nobody does this thing better than Paul Berman) with a reference to those two outstanding beacons of the left – Max Weber and – oh, shades of Gluckman! – Raymond Aron. The point of invoking them is to gild, with academic jellies, a dismal cliche about the difficulty, o saints, of bringing about properly lefty ends if you don't compromise a little with the worst reactionary economic policies ever to bankrupt a country.

My beating heart! This is truly the golden age - when in my lifetime has effrontery so easily shaded into imbecility right before my very own peepers? I love it. My butterfly net is all aquiver.

Boyer rings some bells to come, to his own satisfaction and that of all the comrades in the hall, to these paragraphs ringing with that degree of absolute nonsense we've all grown used to in this country:

‘Without incentives, who will take risks? If a measure which “honors” social justice, from the 35 hour law to refusing to lower the percentage of taxes or protectionism is admittedly counter-productive from the point of view of the real promotion of that same value, we must renounce it.

Today, seeing the state of the country, we must have the courage to propose certain “liberal” reforms, incentive producing and negotiated with those who, as the CFDT, have decided to no longer consider politics in a democracy like a war, a zero sum conflict, but like a deliberation followed by compromise.”

Etc, etc. The end of the article paraphrases De Sade: “Français, encore une effort pour promouvoir les valeurs de gauche !” Translated, this reads: “wasn’t that tasty? and I had my maid write this whole fucking thing! I especially imported her from Morocco for that purpose, and presented to her my big bad incentive. Now I’m off to New York to have it translated for the WSJ!”

But let's see. I imagine translation first to the Guardian. We will see. The Blairists will just orgasm over this.


amie said...

LI, you are some intrepid explorer! Wandering into the Amazon rain forest is nothing compared to perusing Figaro, given the strange unnameable noxious specimens one encounters in the latter, and for which the antidote is not readily available on the market.
Not sure that such explorations are the royal road to appearances on MSNBC or France 2, but look on the bright side - whereas the Amazon rain forest and its denizens are pretty much doomed to extinction, the mutants at Figaro are ensured of infinite glory by dint of sniffing the Patron's ass, eulogizing every fart as the rhapsody of freedom!
I don't know what i could add to your comments on M. Alain Boyer, save to say that he is also giving a valuable philosophical lesson, i.e, you have to know the side the bread is buttered on. And if you don't have bread and butter, tant pis, you're like the abandoned in Chaplin's The Gold Rush who celebrate Thanksgiving with a dinner consisting of eating their shoes.
I'm surprised that M. Boyer did not evoke Ron and Maggie weeping into their chocolate martinis over how they were so misunderstood, and their quoting from the Gotha program through hiccups: from each according to his ability to each....
aw hell, you know how this goes!

roger said...

Amie, I tried my hand at foretelling the future in that last sentence. Don't you think, though, Boyer is just the kind of creep they will use in the Anglosphere? I haven't seen his face - I can't imagine his hair competes with BHL on the hair front, but surely his assurance that he'd just a leftist doing his leftist task will pull in the suckers.

Maybe eat your shoes can become the ump slogan - mange tes sabots, racaille! to incentivize the work force.

amie said...

LI, I haven't seen M.Boyer's face either, but yup I can totally see his 'leftist' take doing the rounds to much applause in the anglosphere. (I do wish it could be in your translation.)
Meanwhile, over at NouvelObs, Onfray is fighting the good fight for the role of imbecile lefty du jour!!!

amie said...

LI, Happy Mayday!


roger said...

Onfray is a slogan puppet, ain't he?
He was the guy who shed tears over the "stalinist" PCF, and tried to engineer the ridiculous Bove candidate. There's nothing like crowning a party/movement with a celebrity candidate to destroy said party/movement - vide Nader and the Greens. I do love how he can easily couple supporting a man whose claim to his candidacy is that he is known on tv with his intransigent purity.
As Stalin said about the Pope: how many battalions does he have? Onfray has about a zero constituency, thank God.