I imagine naively that the natural resources and cultural antiquity of our douce (gentle) France are such that it's more difficult to disfigure the landscape than in a savage place such as my native land, where unabated primeval greed and dollars would seem to dominate all other considerations, including politics. In fact, even such a magnificent land as France can nevertheless be disfigured... once an outstanding asshole sets his mind upon such a task. Last night, on TV, I observed the nasty fallout of such an asshole. His specialty consists of earning a living by creating kitsch decorated roundabouts at the entry of French towns.
I don't wish to say anything more about this obnoxious personage, because I have no wish to publicize his idiotically horrible but lucrative operations. Sadly, elected representatives of small towns in France can no doubt be influenced easily by smart talkers of the kind of our roundabout decorator/polluter... who thinks of himself as an artist.
There's a gigantic problem in France (and elsewhere on the globe, no doubt) concerning industrial wastelands. Particularly when they're abandoned anonymously in a polluted state. It must be terribly frustrating for the mayor of a small rural community to have to deal with such a giant festering carbuncle in his commune. In rare cases, as in the mining regions of northern France, industrial wastelands might even be transformed—by osmosis and metamorphose—into touristic sites... but we shouldn't bank too much upon the promises of miracles of that nature. In general, abandoned and polluted industrial sites are dirty, and their cleaning up necessitates astronomical sums.
The excellent TV evening left me with a vague but distinctly positive feeling that France has surely woken up to this kind of dirty situation. Even while driving around ridiculous rural roundabouts, I have faith in the overall social intelligence of the French République.