Sunday, July 01, 2007

European Regime Change Fantasies

A film screened at the Venice Biennale put on display the continental complex: a desire to be the wise euro-jockey riding the American horse, one whose failure has elicited decades of passive-aggressive euro-rationalization, euro-tantrums, and throwing their tows out of the euro-crib.

BHL plays one of the candidates with an accent only an American electorate would thing to overlook. As reported by Erik earlier from Le Monde’s fawning interview:
[Former campaign advisor] Jim Mulhall: We set it in the context of a real campaign. In the United States, when a candidate throws their hat in the ring, their told what the race will consist of.
It is what we tried with Bernard: “OK, if you want to be president, here’s what you have to do to appeal to American voters.” At the same time, it was a chance to get Francesco’s opinion on the way political campaigns run. It was important for us to have a critical eye. ...An American president must set up his biography to fit that ambition. Very specific images were chosen, which characterize a modern democratic candidate to lead modern America: Opposition to the war in Iraq, but at the same time being strong and uncompromising on security to not to leave to the Republicans with a monopoly of the flag.
Bernard has certain points in his biography which point out these values.
Every last bit of this is horseshit for one simple reason: it looks at Americans as a bunch of zombies, and looks at a part of America through the same drinking straw use to resent it. Imagine for a moment the hackles that would rise should any foreigner, American or otherwise turned the same mirror on any election in France, Germany, the UK, Italy, or Spain. Imagine that the audience to whom this appeals (as predictable and easily amused as the voters this filmmaker thinks he’s writing about) thinking that their own elections are any better. They aren’t.

Spain’s last election for leadership turned on a population that caved in to terror. The UK just transferred power without the consent of the voter. Italy chose a party which has to live the threats, and is thus driven by parties of less than a thousand people. I could go on, but I wont. I’ll leave that to these film-makers who make a living gazing at other people’s navels. Get a euro-life.

Mulhall got one thing right: the American Democrats unwittingly have a light turned on their practice of looking and seeming like something will be bought off by the voter, everything like trying to pretend to their candidates being “common” (which shows you where their condescension places them above you in their minds), to “focusing like a laser beam” on an economy they had no part in repairing, to incessantly demanding social healing by creating as much class struggle, internecine anger, and resentment as possible. Apart from toying with the "no politics at all" image of the "third way", they don't seem to have any other views, platforms, or prospects.

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