The Little France syndrome
Friday, June 04, 2021
Little France syndrome
Well, at last the NYT emerges from its Macron daze to notice the sheer cretinism of the Macron cultural politics, driven by its far right allies, all swimming happily in their own shit and screaming about Islamo-gauchisme.
Meanwhile, the old retired fossils in academe, who made their bones in the 80s and 90s – those decades Francois Cusset labels the great nightmare, due to the proliferation of Nouvelle Philosophes and their wannabe companions, all using leftwing rhetoric to promote right wing economic and foreign policy – are also on the attack against the “Americanization” of the cultural agenda. This movement is in synch with Trump’s 1776 commission and Boris Johnson’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities which last month reported that, hooray, Britain has none, and never did anyway, except during a brief window in May of 1679 when somebody financed somebody else’s slaveboat which we think musta been Dutch – a total anomaly!
All of these can be called “Little” positions – Little America, Little Britain, and now Little France. The attacks on American “wokeness” are congealed in a rhetoric that is difficult to cope with. It seems so ridiculous that French academics, any of them, in this day and age would claim that France represents “universal values”, but of course – in spite of the past five hundred years of history, in spite of the evident and outrageous income and wealth inequalities between people of color and white French people, in spite of what you see the cops doing every day – there we are. It is a country in which, on the one hand, feminist groups graffiti walls with condemnations of femicide, and in which, on the other hand, tve-genic academics who have built careers on subpar academic work bemoan intersectionality – we have come to this, debates with the midgets all descending from Action Francaise.
The laughter that wells up in me is the contrast between this small French attitude – in favor the “universal” – and the subrosa massive support for the Americanization of the French economy – a process that has been going on since the “lefties” of the 80s quietly abandoned the defining left tradition while clinging fiercely to the title. It was so eighties – the leveraged buyout era. The entire vocabular of the regime of the president of the rich consists of banalities from American business schools, from “entrepreneurship” – restored to the French vocabulary! – to competitiveness, to the “burden” of the state on the dynamic private sector. It is a made in America circus. But nobody is talking about the droite-onclesamists. Nor, frankly, is anyone in the Little France corner really attacking Islamicists. The largest and most totalitarian Islamicist state – Saudi Arabia – is France’s friend, and more importantly, France’s weapons industry’s friend. So nobody is going so far as to say that we should boycott the Saudis, or block their gas pipelines, like with evil Putin. This is because Saudi Arabia is reformin’, plus they’ve been waging un mignon génocide in Yemen, and nobody wants to interrupt the cash flow there. Rather, the focus is on how Daech’s leadership is no doubt absorbing Judy Butler’s tomes, one after the other.
Georges Bernanos in Les Grands Cimetieres sous le lune wrote: La colère des imbéciles m'a toujours rempli de tristesse, mais aujourd'hui elle m'épouvanterait plutôt. You and me, Georges my brother.