“Paris Burning”

I don’t recall whether or not I blogged about the riots in France last November–I was in San Francisco for the week–and I’m not inclined to search around, but I did follow the goings on pretty closely. I lived in France for a coupla years in the early 90s.

What the hell happened? I read news stories about what’s going on now and I ask myself who are these people? I mean: sure, they’re commies alright–just as are most people here in the U.S., nowadays. But I hadn’t taken them for utterly insane, in a completely-unable-to-function sort of way.

As a legacy of this long tradition, the choice in France now is between
popular legislation — that is, useless legislation — and the street.
Thus the paradox at the heart of the protests: Those who want power
exploit the mobs to maneuver themselves into position, but having
gained power cannot use it to achieve anything worthwhile, lest the
same tactics be used against them. The fear of the mob has created a
cadre of politicians in France who are unable to speak the truth and
thereby prepare French citizens for the inevitable. No one in France —
not one single politician, nor anyone in the media — is willing to say
it: France’s labor laws are an absurdity, and if they are not reformed
at once, France will go under

(Claire Berlinski. Emphasis, mine. Whole thing, here.)

And yet, you have millions of people up in arms, with striking going on all over the place because some politicians, in a lame attempt to fix the unfixable, are suggesting only that they may eat their cake and have it too, but what they really want is to eat their cake and have everyone else’s too.

It’s the absurdly impossible chastising the merely impossible. Fortunately, reality is never cheated. We have only to wait. I told those morons 15 years ago, you know. Guess what I heard in reply, most often: "Oui, mais, en France, nous avons le système social le plus développé du
The world’s "most developed social system," or not; it aint escapin’ the fundamental requirements of reality, nor ultimate justice.

(link: Hit & Run)

Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.


  1. Hank on March 28, 2006 at 14:58

    "France's labor laws are an absurdity, and if they are not reformed at once, France will go under."
    I think it's too late. France is already gone under.

  2. Billy Beck on March 29, 2006 at 06:56

    And on top of all that: one of my most memorable moments from Usenet past is when Martin McPhillips posted in the Whitewater group: "It's France here now." That was '97 or '98, I think. I don't recall exactly when, but the phrase drilled me instantly, and it really doesn't matter exactly when he said it because it's about an era and it's really fine.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.