Saturday, March 31, 2007

Fresh Piffle Served Daily

Think the artist-general of the great continental suicide pact just has it in for Bush’s policies, and not America? Three decades of Plantu don’t hide a great deal.

  • The 70’s: Jimmuh Carter rips his (naïve and overly) friendly mask off, as if he did.
  • The 80’s: Reagan is beneath contempt, but characterizing Queen Elizabeth II with incredible indignity is fair game.
  • The 90’s: the culture that tch-tchs the prudish view that their president shouldn’t be getting blowjobs from subordinates was tch-tching the president getting blowjobs from subordinates.
  • The 00’s: all and anything to degrade W, all the time.

The French exception

They have two unemployment rates (a new one was just imposed upon French authorities by Eurostat because even the EU finds the French figures more than dodgy) and both vastly underestimate the reality of the situation.

Stating the obvious

EU reports no progress ... No kidding.

Fwance, ton militantisme politique fout le camp

Talk about jobs that only foreigners will do. Clear Channel has the monopoly for putting up French political campaign posters this year because no one in France wants to do it.

Since 2002, French political parties have a choice: get their militants to put up the posters (for free), or subcontract the work to a private sector company. French political party members, who traditionally did this kind of stuff for zilch, no longer seem to be sufficiently motivated.

With 1 million posters to be displayed in front of 85,000 polling stations, Clear Channel's French subsidiary won the 3 million euro contract. Clear Channel has in hand signed authorisations from all 12 Presidential candidates, including the most extreme America haters on both ends of the French political spectrum: José Bové and Jean Marie Le Pen. Clear Channel will be paid by the French préfectures (with French taxpayers' suckers moolah) to the tune of 2.02 euros for the posting of large format posters and 1 euro for each small format poster. The multinational estimates the profit margin to be 50% for this contract that will entail 8 days of work for 1,000 people starting on April 9 at midnight. Tell that to the 3 Trotskyst candidates and the altermondialiste globophobic-Luddite running to the extreme Left of the French Communist Party.

The American multinational was the only company that answered the call to tender. Something that saddens the campaign team over at José Bové's place. "We looked into this and no other company seemed capable of putting up the posters", according to Bové's Financial Director Roland Mérieux (... and what about your altermondialiste minions? They don't want to work for free while they await the advent of the French inspired post-capitalist era?).

Clear Channel is surging on the French political campaign market, having taken on the work for 7 of the 16 Presidential candidates in 2002, the French regional and the European elections in 2004, and winning a monopoly for this year's Presidential campaign.

Despite an ever growing French hatred of all things American and the constant use of Uncle Sam as a bogeyman by French candidates on the Left and the Right, Clear Channel has pledged to deliver a professional service for all the French presidential candidates, from one political extreme of the spectrum to the other. "All French political parties will be treated equally without any judgement as to their positions" declared Philippe Jay, Director of Business Development and Institutional Relations at Clear Channel France. La classe, quoi !

The Rancor

The last of three telling extracts from Andrei S. Markovits’ Uncouth Nation:

This rancor against Europe in American mass public opinion is of a completely different magnitude from anti—Americanism in Europe. In American politics and society; Europe is—if anything—a sporadic and insignificant element of the public discourse. For most Americans, Europe as such is a lovely vacation spot, something fine, quite tasteful, old, safely remote, and—basically—a matter of indifference. Surely this very indifference provides additional grounds flir Europeans’ anti—Americanism, since it intensifies the European notion of Americans’ narrow—mindedness. But, above all, this American disinterest offends European pride. It is, as everybody knows, worse when one is not hated but simply ignored.

Even linguistically there is no American counterpart to the European concept of “anti-Americanism” The word “anti—Europeanism” certainly exists as a concept, but except for the Europhile readers of the New York Review of Books, this is an almost unknown, and above all unused, concept for most Americans.49 Until the very current debate conducted on both sides of the Atlantic about anti— Americanism, the term “anti-Europeanism” did not really exist. Chat these two terms—and by implication their social reality as well - do not have at all the same weight in their respective historical anti-societal contexts is demonstrated by the following bit of Internet research: if one enters “anti—Europeanism” into Proquest, a search engine for scholarly journals and papers of record in Great Britain and the United States, 669 entries appear. For “anti—Americanism” the tally comes to 14,170. Google yields 2,420 entries fir “anti-Europeanism” hut 1 [6,000 for “anti—Americanism,” which in the world of search engines is the equivalent of “no longer countable.” Gerard Baker performed a similar experiment with Yahoo. Entering “anti—Europeanism in America,” begot 358 items. But “anti-Americanism in Europe” gave him 21,400, whereby the round number, as Baker properly notes, is simply Yahoo’s way of reporting “we haven’t got a clue how many are out there hut here’s the first hatch.”
This is confirmed by Herbert j. Spiro’s research. In a historically oriented essay about anti-Americanism in Western Europe, Spiro writes that expressions like “anti-Europism” or “anti-Europeanism” do not occur in either American linguistic usage or ways of thinking.’ This does not mean that even the slightest anti-Europeanism in the United States should be tolerated or justified. But to equate it with the phenomenon of European anti-Americanism would simply be wrong, both analytically and politically. The former is the temporary, marginal affair of conservative Bush fans who make themselves look laughable before the American public with things like “freedom fries,” while the latter is a resentment occurring on the entire European continent whose potential for politics and society is becoming clearer with each passing day. Gerard Baker wrote the following perceptive passage about this issue:

I will wager that, rough as the diplomatic road may get with the Europeans, no American will throw a brick through the gaslit windows of bijou brasserie chains in the Midwest, or carve rude messages about German labor-market rigidity into the back of a Porsche 944,
For even’ Euro-hater in the conservative establishment there arc. at least half a dozen Americans ready to laud Europe. The cultural elite still likes to decry US TV and it longs for the virtues of British television, blissfully unaware that almost every piece of trash on American TV screens -from American Idol to I’m a Celebrity, Get lie Out of Here - has a British provenance Many will chatter fondly about French cinema—though I doubt any of them has actually seen a French film since Belle de Jour. You can still reduce Americans to whispering awe by telling them that you attended Oxford or the Sorbonne, even though the average State University of Wherever knocks the best European academic institutions into a cocked hat. And they might scoff at the nonsense of medieval pageantry but they will roil over like a royal corgi at the prospect of an honorary gong. And it is not just the National Public Radio—listening, Chablis—swilling, cosmopolitan elite of Washington and New York I am talking about, either. out in the great heartland, you will find attitudes to Europe that are far from hostile.

The phenomenon is well captured by die words of Paul Lee, chief operating officer of BBC America: “There is no door you can’t open [in America] with a British accent.”

Friday, March 30, 2007

Great Moments in French History

Socialism blows.

Hot wheels

French youths' car torching makes it into State Department warnings to Americans abroad:

In the historic center of the French city of Strasbourg, cars face nonmoving threats as "vehicle arson has come into vogue here with an unofficial New Year's Eve competition" among vandals wrecking numerous autos each December 31, the report for France says.

Curiouser and curiouser

As things get more Orwellian in Europe, they get less Orwellian elsewhere.

Apartheid? Sure, why not? Call it Apartheid. What's the Harm in That?

A 33 year old employed Frenchmen is called a “alienated youth” for lack of any other reason given to avoid noticing the ugliness around them. His incitement to riot should be understood. Plantu reinterprets political Dada, and from the mouths of reds, we find willful and fake charges of class-warfare 7 sur 7...

« Ségolène Royal, the Socialist candidate, said the riot was a legacy of Mr Sarkozy's time at the interior ministry - including the November 2005 riots - which had worsened animosity between police and young people from ethnic minorities.

"Naturally passengers should pay for their ticket. But for a simple stop-check to degenerate into such violent confrontation proves that something is not right any more," she said »
...and a legacy of any other undefinable mist in the air that sounds nice too.

Some Definitions

The second of three curious extracts from Andrei S. Markovits’ Uncouth Nation:

Lest there he any misunderstandings or conceptual uncertainties as to what exactly I mean by anti—Americanism, here is the definition offered by Paul Hollander:

Anti—Americanism is a predisposition to hostility toward the United States and American society, a relentless critical impulse toward American social, economic, and political institutions, traditions, and values; it entails an aversion to American culture in particular and its influence abroad, often also contempt for the American national character (or what is presumed to he such a character) and dislike of American people, manners, behavior; dress, and so on; rejection of American foreign policy and a firm belief in the malignity of American influence and presence anywhere in the world.

Alvin Rubinstein and Donald Smith second Hollander’s definition of anti-Americanism with their own in which they see anti—Americanism“ as any hostile action or expression that becomes part and parcel of an undifferentiated attack on the foreign policy, society; culture and values of the United States.” And ‘Todd Gitlin offered the following trenchant view on this topic: “Anti-Americanism is an emotion masquerading as an analysis, a morality, an ideal, even an idea about what to do. When hatred of foreign policies ignites into hatred of an entire people and their civilization, then thinking is dead and demonology lives. When complexity of thought devolves into caricature, intellect is close to reconciling itself to mass murder.”15 Agreeing with all three of these definitions, I see anti-Americanism as a generalized and comprehensive normative dislike of America and things American that often lacks distinct reasons or concrete causes. Ant-Americanism has all the tropes of a classic prejudice. Beyond that, anti-Americanism also constitutes a well-identified and well— established “ism”—thus bespeaking its entrenched institutionalization and common usage as a modern ideology Indeed, with many of the major “isms” of the twentieth century; such as “communism,” “socialism,” “Leninism,” “fascism,” and “Nazism,” either moribund or certainly past their prime as ideas and, above all, as movements with international appeal, a definite global charisma, and the panache of antinomy and a direct challenge to the existing order; “anti-Americanism” might indeed have assumed at least partly such a function in the world, By being “anti-American,” one ipso facto seems to stick it to “the Man,” even if West Europeans, in notable contrast to people of the developing world, objectively constitute the very same “man.”

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Vinvin en Amérique

Bonjour, America!

Cyrille de Lasteyrie, better known as Vinvin, might be a nominee for le Français le plus sympathique de l'année.

En Irak, la situation s’améliore

Article de Guy Millière paru dans Les 4 Vérités.

Stating the obvious

Fred Thompson rags on Zeropean radical pacifism.

Paris riots filmed via cellphone cameras

A short sequence shows tear gassed French youths trying to recover after fleeing to the Paris Métro subway. And here are some still shots of the action.

Personality Crisis

France has a little problem with its identity.


The official description of this blog is
What expats and the mainstream media (French and American alike) fail to notice (or fail to tell you) about French attitudes, principles, values, and official positions…
It was born three years or so ago, in response to the ugly responses, in France, in Europe, and around the world, to 9-11 and the War in Iraq.

In that perspective, it is vital to check out what is going on now with the Total oil company. We have always said that it is not enough to notice (and analyze) the anger (foreign or domestic) directed — the anger conveniently directed — at Washington's foreign policy; one must also see what is not spoken, i.e., what remains — conveniently — hidden beneath the "root causes", i.e., the hardly-mentioned benefits or advantages (whether financial or "merely" psychological) of those clamoring "No oil for war!"

As Frank Hart reminds us, the Wall Street Journal does a good job of describing the decades-old scandal.
The company and [Chief Executive Christophe] de Margerie deny any wrongdoing, but the Total experience is all too typical of the way European firms cut deals with dictators while their own governments provide political cover.
Never must we forget that this includes — and this is far from an innocent detail; au contraire — lots of self-righteous clamoring against the sins (supposed or real, but in the final analysis, rarely greater or even as great as the castigaters' own sins) of the greedy, the treacherous, and the simple-minded American leaders, American capitalists, and American citizens.

The Five-Year-Old Utopia that they've been told is the only hope for mankind

(…As in five-year-old child…) If and when you have three quarters of an hour available, do take the time to listen to Evan Sayet (thanks to btesh) — and don't forget to check out his blog.

From the blog:
John Kerry, in so many words, recently called those who serve in the American military "stupid." This is important not just because Kerry is a United States Senator and the Democratic Party's most recent standard-bearer, but because it is the way Democrats in general feel about those who serve others.

The definition of a Democrat today is narcissism. With nothing bigger than themselves to believe in -- not G-d, not America and typically not children which a great many do not have for one reason or another and those who do typically consider them nothing more than playthings ala Madonna or pawns in their political activities ala Rosie O'Donnell. It is not a coincidence that one of the groups most likely to vote en mass for the Democrats are unamrried, childless women and children themselves (college kids).

With nothing bigger than themselves to believe in they become their own gods. And jealous gods at that. Jealous of those who would give their service to things like Jesus or America or their children. Their efforts are expended, then, trying to undermine others' belief in the things that take reverence away from them.

It's not surprising, then, to find so many of these narcissists are found in positions that basically demand "look at me!" "revere me!" "I'm like a god!!!"

So you'll find them larger than life on the giant movie screen, and bringing you "the truth" on the nightly news and being in position to lecture to the children in classrooms where they are they only ones to give voice to their beliefs.
Don't forget that Evan Sayet is a comedian, though:
George Bush could be Jesus Christ himself and liberals would say, "Well, sure. His father got him the job."
And check out some of the other conservative jokes on Luke Ford. My favorite was a Jeff Wayne joke:
I have the solution to gays in the military. We should have a separate gay army. Scare the hell out of everybody. "If you don't settle down, we'll send our gay army over there. They take prisoners."


Continental divide:
Disputing the oft-asserted claim that Europeans work less than Americans because they have perfected the art of living, Messrs. Alesina and Giavazzi contend that European idleness is the predictable result of stultifying labor market regulations, high taxation, and the excessive power of Europe's labor unions. In France, Germany, and Italy especially, shortened work hours are now coupled with diminished productivity and lack of technological innovation. In 1970, the authors note, Italy's gross domestic product per capita was 68% of America's; by 1990, it had reached 80%. Today it is back down to 64%. At current rates of relative decline, Italian GDP per capita will in 25 years time be one third that of America.

And why is this a problem? After all, a country with one-third the GDP per capita of America is still a rich country. It is a problem because relative decline tends to become absolute decline.

I’m So Disillusioned

I though they would be different. I thought they farted daisies.

It must be America’s fault.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

So Much for that “Accidental Tourist” Argument

Australian David Hicks is seen holding a bazooka in this undated photo taken in Kosovo. Hicks, a 26-year-old from Adelaide, southern Australia, has been captured by northern alliance fighters in Afghanistan. The Australian government says he has trained with the al-Qaida terror network.

In spite of it being an RPG, justice delayed remains justice denied, even if he was a foot soldier who doesn’t deserve any, so with Hicks’ defense using stalling tactics, one can obviously only blame George Bush for the detention of this “Man of Peace”, of course.

Newsflash to Australians wondering “whose victory” a Hicks hearing is: no-one in the United States, save for the usual desperate defenders of their own world-view from reality cares who David Hicks is.

Quite predictably for the Borg hive-mind of the Daily Kos, they have managed to objectify opposition to terror as support for the right while they support someone also known as Abu Muslim al Australia which makes no sense at all in Arabic, aka Abu Muslim Philippine, and aka Muhammad Dawood, which at least has the name “David” in it.

Their love seems to know no bounds.

Too little, too late

Flyers are being distributed door-to-door in the notorious Nine-Three Paris suburb begging residents to support the police before the worst occurs. The first thing wrong with the flyer is ... it's written in multisyllabic French which won't get you far in the Nine-Three. Thanks to Jawa Report.

French youths riot, like Clockwork

French socialism and Nanny State policies are, at last, leading up to the implosion of this flacid excuse for a country.

Ah, pour une splendeur c'était une vraie splendité, miamiamiamiamiam. Et quand c'est arrivé au Scherzo je me suis reluché aussi net cavalant et cavalant sur des nogas genre tout ce qu'il y a de léger et de mystérieux, et en même temps je taille tailladais à grands coups de mon britva coupe-chou dans tout le litso du monde, qui critchait. Et il y avait encore à venir le mouvement lent et ravissant dernier mouvement avec les voix qui chantent. Pour ce qui est d'être guéri, je l'étais.

Support French youth

T'en veux ?

Just do it. Turn up the sound or you won't hear it above the rioting outside.

The antiwar movement didn't shorten the Vietnam War by a single day

[To the question,] "What was the purpose of the 1968 Tet Offensive?" [Colonel Bui Tin, the NVA officer who received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam in 1975,] replies, "To relieve the pressure Gen. Westmoreland was putting on us in late 1966 and 1967 and to weaken American resolve during a presidential election year."
In "Dangers of the Fifth Column", Benjamin Duffy compares Iraq and Vietnam.
"What about [Tet's] results?" asked [reporter Stephen] Young. The colonel replied, "Our losses were staggering and a complete surprise; [Commanding General] Giap later told me that Tet had been a military defeat, though we had gained the planned political advantages when Johnson agreed to negotiate and did not run for re-election � If the American forces had not begun to withdraw under Nixon in 1969, they could have punished us severely."

Tin simply confirms basic intuition. The antiwar movement didn't shorten the Vietnam War by a single day. It made the war longer and bloodier, and it eventually resulted in our nation's first unequivocal military defeat. The movement didn't prevent a single name from being etched onto that black wall. To the contrary, our boys could have been home years earlier, and South Vietnam could be a free country today if the antiwar movement hadn't acted as Hanoi's useful idiots.
Benjamin Duffy proceeds to wonder what questions some people should ask themselves.

Last night's Jungle Boogie at the Gare du Nord

The Kids are Alright ... Tear gas and mob violence. Paris au Printemps.

Art Imitates Art

Ah, another day in paradise...

The youths responded by throwing trash cans and other objects at the officers. A group of youths smashed the windows of a sporting goods store and looted boxes of shoes. Others attacked automatic drink dispensers and set fire to an information booth.
While “yoofs” riot over the police arresting a crate-jumper, we discover EUtopia reaching another pitched peak of civilization:
Inspired by the success of up-market wine centres in California and Australia, a French wine merchant from Bordeaux this month opened a new 20 million-euro (26-million-dollar) complex, the first of its kind in France.
For-shame. On one hand they start modeling the wineries wine-snobs and enthusiast can visit after those found in California and Australia, not to mention the composition of their wines, but can also take solace that their massive sums of “humanitarian aid” have been well spent in Gaza.
A huge sewage reservoir in the northern Gaza Strip collapsed Tuesday, killing five people in a frothing cascade of waste and mud that swamped a village and highlighted the desperate need to upgrade Gaza's overloaded, outdated infrastructure.
Similarities can be readily found with the Gare du Nord, a massive, sprawling complex of creepy old access tunnels and modern concourses punctuated with evidence of 70’s élan that I like to call the Bronze-anodized aluminum Age, and only slightly more evolved than the Stone Age. But I digress...

They get to join others who are also full of shit. Pitched luddism should find this just: Imagining whirled Peas, Greenpeace occupies a nuclear power plan in what may be a misguided attempt to repeat the great Gaza surfing challenge:
We want to denounce the dangers of nuclear power in general and the EPR in particular," said a Greenpeace spokeswoman Adelaide Colin. France derives more than three-quarters of its electricity from nuclear power, the highest ratio of any country in the world,
It’s a great moment for reality.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Underworld with Bayrou

As Don Chiracone gets ready to retire, which potential successor will receive the support of the gangsters of France? Since the UDF claims to represent the center (uniting the left and the right) and since the expression "the Middle" in French is synonymous with the Underworld, it was only natural that La Baf would conclude that the Mafia would place its support behind François Bayrou, the man who unites all "the families", and that it would pull its latest prank (starring Jixie Juny) at the UDF's Zénith convention, in front of 6,500 supporters…

Anti-Americanism: Comparisons to Anti-Europeanism

The first of three extracts from Andrei S. Markovits’ Uncouth Nation:

Just as an imagined America has served all kinds of purposes for Europeans, so too have the different notions of Europe that Americans created in the course of their history served to sketch out a sense of “being different” for Americans, The phenomenon of America as Europe’s counterimage and vice—versa has best been characterized by Bernd Ostendorf, certainly one of Germany’s most profound America experts, a compulsive folie à deux for over three centuries with a remarkably stable set of choreographies, but with a rather uneven, historically specific set of performances.”

I detect, however, an important difference in the respective agencies of folie à deux on the two continents: Whereas, in the United States, the carriers of prejudice and antipathy toward Europe have been located predominantly (if at all) among the lower social strata, American elites (especially cultural elites) have consistently extolled Europe, and they continue do so.

This love for and emulation of European tastes, mores, fashions, and habits remained a staple of American elite culture even during the country’s most nativist and isolationist periods. Practically all sophisticated culture in America is European. One need on]v look at the humanities departments of any’ leading American university to observe this continuing cultural hegemony, which, even in the persistent attempt to negate its own Eurocentrism, resorts to ideas and methods that are completely European. American elites continue to he completely fixated on Europe, in spite of the repeated fear voiced in Europe that America might be drifting toward Asia. That dr ft exists—although only partially—in the economy, hut by no means in the realm of culture A European vacation after final exams remains more or less obligatory for every graduate of an elite university in the United States. Every aspect of the consumer profile of American elites—from classical music to cuisine, from ears to vacation spots, from interior decoration to preferences in clothing—shows a clear predisposition for Europe and things European.

In massive contrast to the negate and pejorative—at best ambivalent—notions that the word “American” conjures up in Europe, “European” invariably invokes positive tropes among Americans (elites and mass alike), such as “quality,” “class,” “taste,” and “elegance,” be it in food, comfort, tradition, romance, or eroticism (as in European massage, European cleccr, European looks ... and the list can go on and on). Every Madison Avenue ad agency knows full well that the best way to sell quality and rare curiosities to American elites is to conjure up European associations.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Free 50% Off Tibet

He got the Douste!

Il rayonne, Douste. Mais vachement!

- Val, who is still cracking up at this

Today on Arrêt sur Images, the foreign minister known far and wide for his sympathetic head-tilt told a Chinese journalist that France loved China because they are a great civilization and because China has never waged war on anyone outside of their own borders except the South Koreans, Russians, and Vietnamese.

I suppose threatening Taiwan is okay, though too... right?

Inside the dark side

EU Black Box.

What future?

Begging for Billions

Someday, they might have “a declaration” celebrating another successful 20 year plan:

Barrot warned that if steps were not taken, the project could nose-dive. “The US’ future [version of] GPS would take the place of Galileo,” he said.
“In any case, profitability would be limited. The applications on which many expectations have been pinned would be delayed.
“But I can’t believe that scenario because it would represent a great European defeat. Industrial instincts will kick in very quickly. And, member states have their pride.”
Galileo, and all the purported economic value that goes with it was due to be betamaxed before it was even initiated.
A university in the US has cracked the secret codes of the European satellite system Galileo's first satellite in orbit, making it doubtful that the €3.4 billion project will pay for itself through commercial fees as promised by Brussels.

"That means free access for consumers who use navigation devices," said the scientist who broke the code, Mark Psiaki, in a statement
Nonetheless we hear the sounds of whistling past the graveyard, The shell company that is supposed to run Galileo is trying to sell something that’s already available for free. Go figure. Good luck, spacedog.