Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Torrid times in French politics

Objective methods make it possible to measure media buzz in a quantitative fashion. This statistical approach informs us, apparently, that Dominique Strauss-Kahn happens to be, at the present moment, the most well-known and asked-about celebrity personage in the universe. Jeez, you might say, this is crazy: DSK doesn't have anything like half the arse of Pippa [display]. Isn't it amazing, the way that buzz can evolve in just a few weeks…

From May 2002 to March 2004, during the presidency of Jacques Chirac, when France was governed by Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the minister in charge of youth, education and research was Luc Ferry.

The surname of this 60-year-old philosopher remains mythically magic in the modern French republic.

Luc's great-uncle Jules Ferry, a former mayor of Paris, was responsible for the glorious law that promoted "free, laic and compulsory schooling" in the Troisième République. He might be thought of as the spiritual granddaddy of all the smart (and less bright) republican schoolkids who created—and are still creating—the French nation as we know it today. A fabulous heritage!

Last Monday evening, on a French TV channel, Luc Ferry stirred up shit by declaring that many people were aware of the fact that a former French minister had once been found playing around with little boys in Marrakech. Needless to say, this sort of declaration cannot possibly be ignored by legal authorities, neither in France nor in Morocco. For the moment, everybody's trying to guess the identity of the alleged wrongdoer. This anonymous ex-minister risks a lot if the allegations were to be proven… and he might well compete with DSK, as soon as he's identified, for the title of the buzziest man in the Cosmos.

Now, even if many of us were to feel that this kind of notoriety is neither genuinely deserved nor advantageous for France, we might ask rhetorically: What the hell can we do about it?


  1. I've allowed this comment to appear (for the moment, at least) because it demonstrates one of the ways in which lurking merchants are working day and night to market their stuff. Somebody in the above firm is apparently equipped to find every blog that uses the word "torrid". Admire, above all, the debility of their general-purpose comment: "Love it! Good!" It's sad but also significant (in a topsy-turvy way) that the most amazing tool ever for global communication—the Internet—has been taken over by mindless fuckwits (and others), with nothing to say, who simply want to sell their shit.