Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Mythmakers

The EU has commissioned a number of comic books that are supposed to laud their humanity. The theory, is suppose, is that it's supposed to make up for their incapacity to do any of the things that they're congratulating themselves about.

The book stars Zana, a field expert for the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (more commonly known as "ECHO") as she attempts to bring relief to the flood-stricken people of "Borduvia". Though the latter looks suspiciously like Af-Pak, the disclaimer assures us it is "a wholly fictitious story" in which "[a]ny resemblance to real people is entirely coincidental". Good to know.
That's right: this is supposed to be lauding some sort of extraordinary involvement in Afghanistan, where their MO for the past decade was to be passive-aggressive to the US.

The serious-seeming goes on, reflecting the reality that the only people they can send without howls of objection at home are NGO staffers for hire.
Integrated into this, mostly seamlessly, are explanations of how ECHO and the Commission more generally work: ECHO's division into regional "operational desks", Zana's drafting of situational reports for headquarters ("sitreps") and even the outsourcing of the EU's humanitarian work to NGOs (eg: the Red Cross or Oxfam getting money from the Commission for a specific EU project). The latter point is fairly important for understanding in general what the Commission does and does not do.
Sit-rep... gosh, you sound so BUTCH!

How's this for a winner?

"Adventures of Euro-Clooney and the Innovation Crystal Ball"
This weird self-importance can be easily explained. Paranoid delusions to follow.

Cousteau: The Next Generation

…voir Pierre-Yves Cousteau nager dans le sillage de son père promet d'être une bonne affaire. Très rentable même.
To commemorate the centennial of the (1911) birth of Jacques Cousteau (aka Jacques-Yves Cousteau), the famous Calypso skipper might make a smashing comeback on our television screens: his widow has decided to reboot the franchise by sending the commandant's youngest son, Pierre-Yves, to go dive in the same places that made his father world-famous decades ago, thanks to such TV documentaries as The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. In his Le Monde article, Guy Dutheil explains that the objective of the Fondation Cousteau is to have two seasons, of six one-hour episodes each, produced by a consortium of international TV stations, including the Discovery Channel. "Watching Pierre-Yves Cousteau swim in the wake of his father promises to be a good deal. Even a very profitable one."
Pour le centenaire de sa naissance, en 1911, le commandant Cousteau pourrait faire, à sa manière, un retour fracassant à la télévision. Francine Cousteau, sa veuve et présidente de la Fondation Cousteau, a donné son accord pour donner une nouvelle vie au film documentaire Le Monde du silence, qu'il avait réalisé en 1955.

L'idée de Mme Cousteau est "de revenir sur les traces du commandant, de repasser sur un certain nombre de lieux pour voir comment (...), cinquante ans après, ils ont évolué". Pour remplacer l'homme au bonnet rouge, mort en 1997, c'est son dernier fils, Pierre-Yves Cousteau, un scientifique et marin de 29 ans, qui prend les rênes de cette nouvelle aventure.

Deux séries de six documentaires d'une heure chacun seront bientôt mises en chantier. …

Aventure scientifique d'envergure, l'épopée Cousteau "nouvelle génération" est aussi une formidable machine de guerre audiovisuelle. Le tournage de chacun des douze épisodes devrait coûter près d'un million d'euros. Un budget trop élevé pour être rentabilisé par une seule chaîne. Le financement est apporté par une coproduction de télévisions internationales.

…voir Pierre-Yves Cousteau nager dans le sillage de son père promet d'être une bonne affaire. Très rentable même. En leur temps, les aventures de l'homme au bonnet rouge ont été multidiffusées par les télévisions "de plus de 120 pays. De la Chine au Japon en passant par l'Afrique, la France ou les Etats-Unis", rappelle Mme Cousteau.

How's Business?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Here's their Chance to Look Relevant

And OH what a chance it is. The EU "slaps" an arms embargo on Syria. Sounds great, and it's oh-so-easy to do - because virtually all of their weapons stock are Russian.

That manly, thug-ass bitch-slapping must really sting.

Pass the Dutchie By the Left Hand Side

No wonder leftists are in wonder of Jihadists who want to "smash the system":

Among the various vegetable crops growing alongside the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a row of marijuana plants was also discovered by CNN reporter Nic Robertson.
I'm sure it was just for his, like glaucoma, man, not to mention to take away any ambition he had to see daylight or leave his crib.
Bin Laden's associates were also said to have regularly purchased Coca-Cola and Pepsi from the local market in Abbottabad, and the shopkeepers have told reporters that they didn't prefer one over the other and usually bought both in bulk at the same time.

Some local residents have further told reporters that they often would not return balls accidentally kicked over their walls by nearby children, opting instead to pay for their replacement.
I wonder if he had a special courier just to bring him Doritos too?

Le Monde Magazine's Cover Article on Picasso Lauds the Painter's Communist Convictions and His Far Left Contacts

In his cover article on Pablo Picasso, Michel Guerrin manages to plunge us back into the 1950s love affair with communism, lauding the Communist painter to the heavens for his "generosity" with his "political gifts" for fellow communists, all the while conspicuously avoiding any mention (or study) of over half a century of history — for instance the 1990s opening of the Soviet archives and the disclosure of the Verona program, not to mention the tens of millions of citizens murdered under the likes of Stalin and Mao.

Thus we have the Rosenbergs as "martyrs of McCarthyism" while Michel Guerrin is in awe of Picasso's (communist) convictions and waxes poetic about his "political gifts" which form "another major chapter of the painter's generosity". Meanwhile, his support for a communist periodical is one "the most emotional aspects of his generosity" (the editor and the painter "go swimming together" and they "remain friends until Picasso's death"):
Les cadeaux politiques sont un autre gros chapitre de la générosité du peintre, qui est resté jusqu'à sa mort membre du Parti communiste. Il donne au Parti, à sa presse, au Mouvement pour la paix, dessine pour les époux Rosenberg, martyrs du maccartisme …

Le soutien de Picasso au journal communiste Le Patriote, à Nice, de 1957 à 1967, est un des aspects les plus émouvants de la générosité. … Il le fait par conviction communiste.

Konichiwa, Bro and Howdy-Do to our Reader in Lapland

It is far more exciting than the visitors from Cuba we used to get, whose I.P. addresses drew a puzzling blank from queries to the giant infobahn. We're so glad that your search for information in Le Monde about DSK has stared with our humble digital obelisk of the outré.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Five separate declarations over more than 12 hours: The E.U’s efforts to unify its foreign policy are not working well

…after Osama bin Laden was killed … the [European Union]’s senior figures put out no fewer than five separate declarations over more than 12 hours
reports Stephen Castle.
The last of these came from Catherine Ashton, who became the E.U.’s first foreign policy chief … 18 months ago.
The Belgian foreign minister, Steven Vanackere, criticized the slowness of her reaction, and his broader point was one that is increasingly little in dispute: The E.U’s efforts to unify its foreign policy are not working well, and this is not entirely the fault of Ms. Ashton.

… There are few better illustrations of those continuing turf wars than the reaction to the death of Bin Laden.

The first E.U. pronouncements were issued by Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, even though he has very few foreign policy powers. His two declarations were followed by a joint statement from José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, and Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council.

In their statement, Mr. Barroso and Mr. Van Rompuy asserted that the death had made “the world a safer place and shows that such crimes do not remain unpunished.” They described the operation as “a major achievement in our efforts to rid the world of terrorism.”

One E.U diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said, “Getting agreement on this was not easy, but the one thing they really did agree on was on doing this without Ashton.” Both men see themselves as being senior to Ms. Ashton because they operate on the level of world leaders, while her main counterparts are foreign ministers.

… It was not the only example of competition among E.U. institutions …

The confusion highlights a flaw in the Lisbon Treaty, which fudged the role of the key E.U. players, giving both Mr. Van Rompuy and Mr. Barroso some role in foreign policy.

In the world of Brussels power politics, officials seem reluctant to take a back seat, even if they know that doing so might be to the greater good of the Union. The result threatens to be a continuing proliferation of words — and less sign than ever that the rest of the world is paying attention.

In honor of our Humanistic Lesson-Givers

Russians in the news:

Cops arrest alleged cannibal after finding human stew
We have oh-so-much to learn from them, don't we? Let me reiterate that these are not rural North Koreans that we're talking about.


Germans' reputations, aside from the part about most of them just not getting it in most social situations, is about generally being prudish: risk averse, socially conformist, servile to social instruction, and so on. It's a funny thing, because one of the common memes that they delight in jerking themselves off to is the prudishness of Americans.

So it's rather puzzling to find the German Parliament banning condom vending machines in the Bundestag.

Ein Parlamentsautomat, an dem sie normalerweise Zigaretten kauften, hatte plötzlich ein neues Produkt im Angebot: Kondome.
The amusingly backward and anachronistic part about it all is that while they are discouraging smoking wherever they can, they still sell cigs in vending machines in the Bundestag's wash rooms.

Mind you, not selling kapuchas, presevatifs, or party hats in the john might keep Parliamentarians' quasi-anonymous dogging to a minimum, but... cigs? In THIS day and age? Tut, tut. After all, I think that they're growing too old as a population in general to need the barrier method anyway.

With thanks to evil genius for the tip (as it were).

Elsewhere: Like sheltered zoo animals incubated in a artifice, Europeans are finally being reintroduced into the natural environment, where they are about as unlikely to propagate as they are now.

Europeans to be taught about failure and risk-taking
This is something the little dears need to be taught against their will. It must be tough to just walk off of the plantation.

Obama's Bin Laden speech is a long way from the 2008 candidate's smug diction, “we’re no longer about bluster and unilateralism and ideology"

While [Barack Obama's presidential volley of star-spangled rhetoric, including 10 I’s, a me and a my in Sunday night’s 11-minute got-him announcement] sounds a lot like flag-wrapped, and probably effective, pre-campaign politicking, the raid leading to Bin Laden’s death takes a stone off the country’s heart. Mr. Obama, with seemingly justified pride and moral legitimacy, could well say (and did) — although the International Federation for Human Rights in Paris finds the operation’s legality open to question — “Justice has been done.”

But this is also a long way from the diction of a candidate who ran for the White House in 2008 with the phrase “we’re no longer about bluster and unilateralism and ideology,” and the suggestion that the United States’ potential for worldwide reach and military commitment has ever-increasing limits.
Pointing out the Apologizer-in-Chief's contradictions, John Vinocur notes in the International Herald Tribune that "this America has no other victories in sight".
In proclaiming the elimination of Osama bin Laden a victory for “the greatness” of America (and by obvious extension that of his own leadership), Barack Obama hopes to create an image of forcefulness for his foreign policy — and at the same time assure his re-election next year.

Consider this language: Killing Bin Laden “is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.” And, “As a nation, there is nothing we can’t do.”

Add to that, “We will never tolerate our security being threatened.” Plus, “We will be true to the values that make us who we are” and “relentless in the defense of our citizens and our friends and allies.”

Call it a presidential volley of star-spangled rhetoric, including 10 I’s, a me and a my in Sunday night’s 11-minute got-him announcement, followed up by a trip Thursday to New York and the ground zero of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America.

… Now, Mr. Obama is pitching We’re No. 1 to a country that, as Bill Clinton said, “hires you to win” — its Iraq intervention being regarded mostly as a fiasco, but one where the 2007-8 U.S. military surge avoided a dishonorable departure.

Yet this America has no other victories in sight that would rid North Africa of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, or Afghanistan of the Taliban, and everyone else of the departed terrorist-in-chief’s globally dispersed followers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The semifictional drama of Sarkozy's rise to power constitutes a sharp break with more reverential French film tradition

As if the life of Nicolas Sarkozy has not produced enough melodrama — especially with rumors now that his third wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, may be pregnant [since confirmed] — French moviemakers have produced a semifictional drama, called “La Conquête,” or “The Conquest,” that purports to take us behind the scenes of his rise to power.
That is how Steven Erlanger starts his article on the film which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival today.
“The story of a man who wins power and loses his wife,” is the tag line, a neat summary of the relentless Mr. Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign to succeed Jacques Chirac even as his second wife, Cécilia, falls in love with another man but returns to pretend all is normal until the final vote is cast — and then disappears.

The tale is meant to be Shakespearean, a drama of flawed, ambitious men and romantic, calculating women, a delineation behind the curtains of political scheming, betrayal, personal loss and the price of power. But it is also the story of a serving president, a sharp break with more reverential French tradition.

The models for the film, said the producer, Eric Altmayer, were Anglo-Saxon — “The Candidate,” “Bob Roberts,” “All the President’s Men,” “Primary Colors” and, of course, “The Queen,” the depiction of the British monarch’s struggle with Diana, Princess of Wales, and her death. The director, Xavier Durringer, has worked hard for verisimilitude, he insists, not for caricature or satire.

“It’s not a political film, but it’s about politics,” Mr. Durringer said. “It’s not a film about Sarkozy himself, but about the conquest of power.”

Mr. Altmayer said: “We tried to stay as objective as possible. We tried to come close to him, his vulnerability and contradictions, his good and bad.”

… [Sarkozy] is particularly fond of American films, personally pinning a high rank of the Legion of Honor on Clint Eastwood and giving a disquisition about his love of Mr. Eastwood’s directness and simplicity, contrasting it to the bourgeois, talky complexities of the average French film.

… The actor who plays him, Denis Podalydès, known for his work in the theater, wears a curly wig, but otherwise impersonates Mr. Sarkozy through his twitches, mannerisms and gestures.

…But the film clearly includes fictional moments, especially of intimate conversations, as Mr. Sarkozy tries to persuade Cécilia, his second wife, not to leave him.

The trailer shows one scene of Mr. Sarkozy storming out of a political meeting saying: “I’m a Ferrari. You open the hood with white gloves on.” At another point in the trailer he yells, “I’m surrounded by jerks!” In general, the film has him speak, in private, in a tough, vulgar slang. Another character calls him mad, and the actor playing Mr. Chirac pretends to shoot Mr. Sarkozy with an imaginary rifle.

…The filmmakers have worked on the project for years, with a script by a political historian, Patrick Rotman, but found little money from the usual sources. Gaumont, which gave its imprimatur and distribution network, contributed only a modest amount of money, and French television channels, which normally help finance French films, all declined to touch “La Conquête,” all except the paid cable channel Canal Plus, Mr. Altmayer said.

“It’s not a big surprise from the private channels — we are in France, don’t forget — and they are very close to the power,” he said. “I was a bit more disillusioned with public channels like France Television, but they never explained why. There is a kind of self-censorship that is very French.”

Mr. Durringer said that “around certain subjects there can be a kind of fear — when you are the director of a channel, you tell yourself that if it’s taken badly by the Élysée, you’re going to get fired.”

… There have been other French films about postwar presidents. A 2005 film, made after his death, showed François Mitterrand trying to write his memoirs, and there have been made-for-television films about Charles de Gaulle and others.

But this film is about a sitting president in a new era of politics and the media, which Mr. Durringer describes as one of celebrity and informality, when Mr. Sarkozy “is more in the media than any rock star or actor, more exposed in the media than Johnny Hallyday.”

The Break: Disappointment of Intellectuals Who in 2007 Were Enthused by Sarkozy's Pro-American and Pro-Israeli Views

During the campaign for the 2007 presidential election, some of the most media-savvy intellectuals regarded to be on the "Left", whose shared background includes the break with Marxism, the focus on the dissidents of the former communist bloc, the denunciation of totalitarianism, and the desire of an active France in the struggle against dictatorships and massacres, rallied more or less explicitly to that atypical candidate of the right.
Thus begins the paper by Marion Van Renterghem in Le Monde on the "small informal group of leftist intellectuals who in 2007 had shown or hinted at their political sympathy for candidate [Nicolas] Sarkozy, [and who] today have another point in common: in various ways and to varying degrees, the president has been a disappointment."
Nicolas Sarkozy, against all odds, was suddenly speaking their language. He promised "the break" with old-fashioned ideologies such as a French diplomacy filled with anti-Americanism, mechanically critical of Israel, in empathy with the Arab régimes, complacent regarding Russian nationalism, careless of human rights in the name Realpolitik.
More excerpts on Le Monde Watch

FYI, the pro-Western intellectuals' magazine is called Le Meilleur des mondes, a periodical named by Alain Finkielkraut as a homage to Aldous Huxley and his anti-utopianism…

Just Act Like a Rabbit in a Lab Being Rewarded with an Enphedimine Pellet, and You'll Fit Right in

The adherents of the apocalyptic religion of environmentalism never cease to deliver the same-old-same-old that they have for 25 years without noticing that they're repeating themselves, or that there's no "awareness" left for them to raise.

On that note, here's a way to blow two minutes of your life that you'll never get back:

It's genuinely awful too, I might add. I now imagine that you'll all feeling quite "aware" of this religious cult.

Observations of the Socialist Internationale in her Native Habitat

Elsewhere: who knew the French "cultural exception" was assumed by leftists to include rape and child molestation?

I'm not saying it's time for a presidential candidate who represents 'normality' over 'abnormality', or 'morality' over 'immorality'. But it is time for democracy without moral privileges.
Is a writer supposed to able to supersede the electorate? Why so uncomfortable with the idea of "normal"? Doesn't that just mean that it might reflect what's nominally acceptable to society as its' "lowest common denominator"?

Old socialist perv tries to force himself on a woman half his age. Libé readers only now nominally start to mildly question whether or not it might no longer be wise as a workplace fringe benefit. I'd say that they have a long way to go before they reach the 20th century. What do you expect from a country where employees still expect "lunch money". Bear in mind that these are adults that we're talking about.

Come on! Give Daddy some suga!

The typical reaction? That a European's attempted rape is somehow the fault of "American prudery"
oh, that sin-and-crime-laced word "sodomy"!
Sure, that's what we can tell the beurre qui batte to seure when her rectum gets prolapsed against her will.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Conspiracy Theorist Meyssan Is Convinced That the CIA Wants to Murder Him; But He Does Not Believe for a Second that America Killed Bin Laden

[in Syria] it is not Bashar Al-Assad who has his men fire into the crowds. [Thierry] Meyssan ponders if those wheeled militias are not rather composed of Americans. He is convinced that the CIA wants to kill him. But he does not believe for a second that America has just killed Bin Laden.
Of course it's not only the bloke who calls Osama Bin Laden "an Arab Clint Eastwood" and "a Muslim Robin Hood" who believes in all kinds of conspiracy theories. French society is full of such types — from Thierry Meyssan to Jean-Marie Le Pen. Meyssan, of course, is the fellow who wrote a book saying that no plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9-11. Thanks to Caroline Fourest's Le Monde column, Ben Laden pays a visit to Elvis, we now know more about the author of L'Effroyable Imposture (« Aucun avion ne s'est écrasé sur le Pentagone ! »):
Thanks to his book, Thierry Meyssan experienced a meteoric career on the international scene. The man does not know where to turn, between solicitations from his friend Hugo Chávez, receptions at Iranian embassies, contacts with China, his travels to Syria, and especially his new job: Hezbollah communications adviser in Beirut.

An odd path, all the same. In the 1990s, the same man was defending secularism and freedom of expression against fundamentalism. At the time, he was active in the Radical Left Party and in gay associations while claiming to be a Freemason. The secular left adored his "notes" on the extreme Catholic right, though often they were false or fictionalized. The Réseau Voltaire network, his small news agency, followed in the path of the Ornicar Project, an organization advocating sexual freedom against censorship and moral order.

That was already an amazing conversion in itself, since in his youth Meyssan had campaigned for Charismatic Renewal, a moralist movement inspired by American Pentecostalism. If he is to be believed, the church even "canceled" his marriage because of his homosexuality. And now we have him alongside the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, who string up homosexuals. Who can still believe what he says?
Throughout the years, this "bona fide Picasso of conspiracy theories" never stopped. At one time, it was the Opus Dei. Then it became the great "Mitterrand plot", with such a tangled web that it covered everything from the National Front's security service to the Musée d'Orsay (who worked there but Anne Pingeot, Mitterrand's hidden mistress!).

While the "work" of "our Sherlock Holmes" — especially since he started taking on his "fantasy machine", the CIA (involved in North Ossetia's Beslan hostage-taking and manipulating the Arab Spring) — might give you cause to rethink the alleged harmlessness of gays and the undeniable good in putting gay rights on the front scene, we turn to another conspiracy theorist.

As for Jean-Marie Le Pen, the former FN leader informs Caroline Fourest that "lots of things [in the hunt for Bin Laden] seem suspect to me." But not only does he think it may be possible that the Al Qaeda leader may have been long since dead ("I believe the Americans are capable of anything"), not only does he doubt the official version of 911, he also holds that… Pearl Harbor was a setup"!
On what basis? "Everybody knows that."

I'm only Asking Questions. What Could be Wrong with That?

It's amazing to think what a pair of hookers and a bag of smack will potentially buy you with a European Socialist.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hide the Livestock and Count the Silverware, the European Left is Coming

Or nearly did, in any case. By now, you've heard of the doings of another creepy old socialist perv. I have a few predictions: a handful to DSK's right and center will come to his defense to "protect France from frog-bashing". Expect the usual morally bereft obfuscation that have nothing to do with the charges, and in this case, a rehashing of the Clinton "definition of IS" defense that asks of a blowjob isn't just something banal to do, like playing chess or something.

Fellation, viol ? Je suis un peu dubitatif, parce que forcée de faire une fellation une fille a toujours une possibilité de se défendre : couic ! Et si le couic est suffisament fort, le mec est hors circuit ad vitam etaernam.

Je pense qu'il s'agit d'un coup monté par Sarko et Cie, mais cela n'excuse en rien DSK. Un type incapable de résister à ses pulsions basiques, alors qu'il sait les autres à l'affut et que ces autres n'ont strictement peur de rien pour conserver leurs prébendes, n'a rien à faire à la tête de la France.
It will include, as it did with his last foreign public indiscretion, the idea that the head of some transi alphabet soup racket's personal matters don't impact the transi alphabet soup racket. It will come with a lecture about who French society is mature enough to not need the kind of transparency the rest of the world does, and that these comrades require their privacy.

The extremists that the French like to call "the left of the left" will throw DSK under the bus, in the hopes of getting a real Stalin or Trotsky closer to the top of the party, and if not that, a trans-sexual ecologist with some kind of broad appeal to women between 29 and 54.

Of course a lot of the domestic criticism and abuse of Strauss-Kahn from the traditional French right comes quite predictably in the form of anti-semitic rants Frankly, he has a better chance of seeking asylum in Morocco where DSK maintains a second nationality.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Le Monde's Cartoons

Among the preeminent topics of cartoons regarding the troubles of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the Big Apple is the glee of his rivals, not only among the members of the right but also among his fellow (rose-carrying) socialists…

From Instapundit:
ROGER SIMON: IMF Head Strauss-Kahn: A Teachable Moment For The French? “A supposed leftist and one-time student communist, he lived the most extravagant personal lifestyle replete with three thousand dollar hotel suites, thirty-five thousand dollar suits (Strauss-Kahn is suing over this allegation by France Soir — but what if they’re only twenty thousand?), unlimited first class seats on Air France, Porsches, etc.”

UPDATE: Wall Street Journal: The stunning sexual assault case against the French IMF chief.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ya think? Arrest of IMF chief raises questions about organization‘s leadership amid European debt crisis.

MORE: Worse than a “crazed sex poodle:” Past Victim: Strauss-Kahn Was a ‘Chimpanzee in Heat.’ If this is what the French consider a “Great Seducer,” well, that’s just sad.

STILL MORE: Ron Paul on Strauss-Kahn’s arrest: ‘These are the kinds of people who are running the IMF.’

MORE STILL: A reader ventures a prediction: “When it comes the time for this incident to immortalized on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the bad guy is going to be someone from the right. Or, they’ll ignore the story entirely, and this one won’t be ‘ripped from the headlines…’.’ I’m not taking that bet.

Superior European Intellectualism at Glance


I'm sure it came with a long explanation about it being a thorough explanation of the essence of man. The whole, sad "everything and nothing" routine.

Christmas, 1968

This 1969 release is titles "Uberfordert" (EN: Overextended)
Featuring Wolfgang Domke. Transfixed at a table, a man drinks a lot of alcohol, eats a lot of beets and cream cakes in order to make himself vomit. During this hour long process he becomes disillusioned and talks about his concept of the future.

Uniting a Continent Through a Wacky Song Contest

Eurovision, a Continental battle of the bands that [was won by Azerbaijan last Saturday], is often dismissed as tacky, politicized and rarely capable of producing durable stars
deadpans Jack Ewing in an article on the Eurovision song contest that the New York Times accompanies with a slideshow.
Yet this wildly popular song contest may also be just the thing that Europe needs right now.

Since 1956, Eurovision has been one of the few cultural institutions that bind citizens of Europe together, proponents say, an urgently needed common denominator at a time when European solidarity is under strain.

… Europe, as defined by Eurovision, extends as far west as Iceland, as far south as Israel and as far east as Azerbaijan. … The campiness that has won the event a global cult following — especially among some gay people, researchers say — seems muted this year. The Eastern European countries, which normally set the standard for bizarre combinations of folk culture and Vegas glitter, are going easy on the sequins.

… some Eastern European countries, which began competing after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, have made winning a national mission.

…To be sure, the contest has some elements that seem typical of politics in the European Union, widely criticized for its byzantine decision-making process that produces mediocre results. The winner of Eurovision is chosen by a combination of professional jurors and telephone voting by viewers. Jurors and viewers cannot vote for their own countries, so they tend instead to choose their neighbors.

…Detractors point to the event’s negligible record of producing international superstars. With a few exceptions, like Abba, which won for Sweden in 1974 with the song “Waterloo,” and Celine Dion, who won for Switzerland in 1988 with “Ne partez pas sans moi,” fame for most contestants has proved fleeting.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bin Laden Depicted as "an Arab Clint Eastwood" and "a Muslim Robin Hood" Who Met His End at His "Fort Apache" Compound

Following Plantu's cartoon of Osama Bin Laden as the hapless victim of a brutal execution, you will be happy to learn that France's premier daily devotes 2/5 of an entire page in the daily to a conspiracy monger who calls the execution of Bin Laden "a perfect crime" (the title of Christian Salmon's column in Le Monde). (The rest of the page is devoted to an odd cartoon as well as to a piece by Adam Thirlwell praising Che Guevara's influence on the Arab Spring revolts…)

While his criticism of the White House's incompetence regarding the narrative of the Abbottabad operation has much to commend it, Christian Salmon suggests it is reminiscent of the odd "official version of the [2001] attack on the World Trade Center" (sigh), invokes the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard, and goes on to refer to Bin Laden as "an Arab Clint Eastwood" and "a Muslim Robin Hood" who "claims to be avenging the suffering of the Palestinian people". The founder of the Parlement international des Écrivains (International Parliament of Writers or IPW) then serves us the old canard of moral relativism that America's enemy and America itself are equally at fault.

Drawing his imagery from Hollywood films, and — explicitly — from Hollywood westerns, CNRS member Salmon claims the terrorism script was indeed written by the Al Qaeda honcho but with the help of the United States. Bin Laden is a "solitary hero", we learn, one "who appears and disappears at will," "defying the world's superpower" in the process. "Geronimo" was finally bagged, it seems (didn't Salmon just put the White House's entire story in doubt?!), during the final attack on his "Fort Apache" compound in Abbottabad.

The Al Qaeda leader represents "the figure of the vigilante" who "draws on the stereotypes of the Hollywood western, a legend or a myth that Bin Laden could never have created without the help of the United States, who participated in the production, in the staging, and in the broadcasting of the legend."

(To their credit, a number of Le Monde readers mention mental masturbation and/or wonder what fishy stuff Salmon has been smoking…)
Depuis le 11-Septembre, Ben Laden incarne ce héros solitaire, qui apparaît et disparaît à sa guise, narguant la plus grande puissance mondiale, un Clint Eastwood arabe, un Robin des bois musulman qui prétend venger les souffrances du peuple palestinien. C'est la figure du justicier qui puise aux stéréotypes du western hollywoodien, une légende ou un mythe que Ben Laden n'aurait jamais pu créer sans l'aide des Etats-Unis, qui ont participé à la production, à la mise en scène et à la diffusion de cette légende ; de George W. Bush, lançant la traque de Ben Laden par un avis de recherche "mort ou vif" comme dans les westerns, jusqu'au choix malheureux du nom de code de l'opération, "Geronimo", pour désigner la charge finale contre le fort Apache de Ben Laden, le compound d'Abbottabad.

France is Al Qaeda's Nr 2 Target

In an interview with Le Monde's Yves Bordenave and Rémy Ourdan, the top honcho of France's intelligence agency (la Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur or DCRI, known as an "FBI à la française") confirms that, after the United States, "France is Al Qaeda's number 2 target."

Bernard Squarcini's remarks tend to somewhat dilute the self-serving world view during the Bush years that France would not by worried by Islamist attacks (contrary to American airlines, it was smugly intoned, companies like Air France would never be targeted), thanks to Jacques Chirac's "heroic" opposition to Dubya's war against Saddam Hussein and to the attendant popularity with Arab and Muslim populations that would inexorably ensue for France…
…la menace principale pour la France est Al-Qaida au Maghreb islamique [AQMI]. Il y a une proximité géographique, une histoire coloniale passée, et il y a ces allées et venues et ces liens familiaux entre des gens en France et d'autres dans les pays du Maghreb et du Sahel. Il y a aussi une progression qualitative d'AQMI, et la France est en tête des pays menacés.

Ça se confirme avec la tentative d'attentat contre notre ambassade à Nouakchott [Mauritanie] : 1,7 tonne d'explosifs. Manifestement, ils ont un peu la haine. Depuis qu'elle a fait allégeance à Al-Qaida, AQMI a décuplé ses activités. …

S'il n'y a pas d'éléments nouveaux [de nouvelles menaces spécifiques contre la France], pourquoi le ministre de l'intérieur, Claude Guéant, a-t-il déclaré que la France "craint des représailles" ?

Depuis un moment, les communiqués de Ben Laden, de Zawahiri et d'AQMI nous ciblent de plus en plus. On le prend en compte. Les Américains sont la cible n° 1 et la France la cible n° 2 d'Al-Qaida.