Thursday, August 16, 2007

It’s Becoming the Anus of Civilization

Pretend provocation, pretend sensitivity: This cartoon was published the day after the Feast of the Assumption, not that it really means much to your average Le Monde reader numb to the genuine beliefs of others. That very fake form of concern by way of telling oneself how fair one is, is the first step to not realizing how offensive this (and they) really are.

Virgin Mary matronly EU apparition: "What? The French only have 9 weeks of summer vacation and Bulgarians get 16? I foresee strikes at back-to-school time!"
Vacationers (who look like Plantu’s derisive characterization of Americans:"No-one will belive us."
The EU angle? There isn’t one. I suppose he’s trying to imply something about either traditional France or the EU commenting on the horrible “Anglo-Saxon-like” mechanization of their lives through the mere realization that there are schoolkids in Europe who get more vacation than they do.

News-people thinking that their own work is news. The public is predictably expected to bang their spoons on their high-chairs yelling “Me Me Me!” But this all comes out of a news item Le Monde brought out itself by reporting a survey of some of nationally mandated school schedules in Europe. More than one EUvian? Then think of it somehow connected with the EU and therefore paint it as a criticism... somehow.
In fact none of it is the case. As with many things the root cause of this great social horror is that someone actually reported it.

Big whoop. It IS in fact an indicator. If you look at the poorest and least intellectually developed or successful parts of Europe and the Middle East, they all have very short school seasons. This is due to a combination of weather and poverty. In fact in Germany, the summer school break used to be limited by law to 45 days or so. Their point of pride at the time were that Gerd and Uta were not dimwits. Meanwhile let’s teach François and Ingrid to demand more of something from the anonymous, objectifiable, all-powerful “other”

So, like all fake issues and fake buzz, how far can these detached Parisian take this? Invent a fake social problem, nay, a plague dogging their very lives! Serguei:

Girl on phone: "I’m in school in Denmark, François."
Surfer (too old to be a schoolkid anyway): "Maybe next year then, Ingrid."
Cupid: "That’s not the way to construct a single Europe."
Conclusion: the government and the rest of society should be responsible for your love lives, and that Anschluß unification means that Bulgarians and Danes should be forced to do as you.

Hence the title.

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