November 26, 2002

Emmanuelle Interviews the M...

Emmanuelle Interviews the Merde-in-France Guy: Entertaining y should all be called 'The Pravda'
Favorite French TV show: The Sopranos
Favorite French food: Pakistani extra spicy
Favorite French wine: Irish Whisky
Favorite French cheese: Babybel I also like Emmanuelle's comment near the end about her labor-strife-ridden homeland:

The mere thought of living in Paris gives me a rash and makes my brain go on strike.
Is my wife going native? Or is it just pre-annual-visit dread of massive labor shut-downs and depressed, over-vacationed Parisian neurotics?

Posted by at November 26, 2002 01:28 PM
Comments

The only strike remotely resembling a Paris strike is when New York garbage collectors or subway employees do it.

A Paris strike is started by "mysterious forces inside a union" and then spreads to every other union. Then all articulate their demands which are the same. Once started, both NY and Paris strikes seem to go on until they have caused so much damage that everyone gets fed up. However, Paris strikes seem to draw the entire French Left into the streets for weeks. Woe to anybody caught in Paris when a strike starts. When I got caught there the students at the universities got involved and the violence was pretty bad.

Posted by: Howard Veit at November 26, 2002 04:22 PM

Come on Howard, it's not always as bad as that... except perhaps in 95, when the entire country closed down for several weeks.

Yesterday's strike was probably the worst for a year, and ties in with a number of areas of interest for the French left. They're still smarting from their rejection by the electorate in April and May; they want to remind the government that you have to do more than simply gain the support of the people to make changes over here; also, the 'Prudhomme' elections are coming up, and unions want to remind their people who can make the most trouble for bosses.

(Prudhomme elections allow French workers to vote union reps on to the arbitration boards which handle redundancies and so on. Few voters of any political colour are likely to cast a vote for someone who promises to swing things in favour of management, so the far left tends to do very well.)

Sometimes worse than these one-off days of action are 'mouvements sociaux' which plague certain lines of the metro (particularly mine, which seems to be run by bolsheviks) - these are called unpredictably by public service workers for just about any slight.

When you consider that French public service workers are by far the most pampered in any large industrial nation, one can't help but be baffled by their selfishness and seethe at the government's cowardice in refusing to face them down.

One of the many depressing aspects of the French return to work in September is the new list of demands issued by the unions. This year was worse than usual. Chirac's new administration seemed to be prepared to make tough changes to France's decrepit system and things looked almost bright for a week or two but then, as usual, the unions arrived at the gates.

French tv news showed both sides settling down to business at the ministry offices and it soon became clear that it was going to be business as usual for France.

Posted by: Neil Dodds at November 27, 2002 01:51 AM

This guy from merde in france is quite precisely an American version of a poujadiste. Basicaly a shopkeeper who refuses to pay his taxes and is afraid of changes.
Those taxes that granted him a free education at the Sorbonne, Sciences-Po and the CNAM.
He expressed his philosophy when he was
trolling around :
Live a better life through software development and the adoption of neocapitalistic ideals. Fuck the poor, fuck the lazy, fuck the whiners, and most of all fuck you.
Though I’ll agree there’s a lot to be said about france, I see nothing but hate, bitterness and inaccuracies here. I’m probably missing the fun part.
Just check his latest post :
The Paris intelligentsia is shell shocked by recent court decisions clearing authors of inciting hatred. In October Michel Houellebecq was found not guilty of inciting racism for saying 'the stupidest religion is Islam' during an interview to promote his book
Wrong, the paris intelligentia has actually supported Houellebecq
The book [réver la Palestine] openly supports holy war, suicide bombings, martrydom, and opposes Israel's right to exist
It’s not “a book” (like the rage and the pride), it’s a novel, in wich a Palestinian character express the views of a Palestinians teenager. It’s called a fiction
Perhaps Flammarion is just trying to increase literacy rates in France's suburbs?
Flammarion also publish Houellebecq books, and is a subsidiary of Fallaci’s publisher. Or is it the fun part I’m missing ?

Obviously the guy has an integration problem (though he’s not living in Sarcelles).

Merde in France may be usefull if one need to nurture his prejudices and clichés, but it won’t help much otherwise.

Posted by: philippe at November 27, 2002 02:52 AM

Oups, bad link about Houellebecq.

Posted by: philippe at November 27, 2002 02:54 AM

Didn't I mention his blog would make you hiss too? It makes me cringe a lot, and you did a great job finding his post on an anarchist website. But I like the fact that this provocative blog exists.

Merde in France is still more informed that any anti-French comment of James Taranto in the WSJ's Best of the Web. Where are the French bloggers when you need them? French blogs commenting on French politics are almost non-existant -or abandoned after a few weeks. Why is that? I'm glad this guy started one, and I wish there were different voices out there too.

I find some humor in his cranky posts and I think some of them are not to be taken too seriously -the guy keeps living in France after all. He employs people there, pays (presumably) high taxes there and complains about it as loudly as my (non-entrepreneurial) French friends do.

That is, until they have kids, become sick or until their life (or their loved ones') takes an unlucky turn. Then they tend to better appreciate the generosity of the French society, the public schools and remarkable health care.

Posted by: Emmanuelle at November 27, 2002 09:13 AM

Yes, I'll agree with you it's a good thing to see provocative blog about france. Any kind of political blogs actually. There're good 'a-day-in-the-life' french blogs, but none about politics.
And I'll also agree he's well informed.
But it's not a french blog, and I felt especially pissed off to see those worn out 'cheese eating surrender monkeys' american clichés so popular in the blogosphere, from instapundit to chloe and pete, just because they are written from the inside. I don't think it's because the guy is so good, but because he fits a lot of bloggers agendas.

Anyway, une tempête dans un verre d'eau, sans doute.
:)

Posted by: philippe at November 27, 2002 10:14 AM

Philippe,

All of your points are well taken except
the one about 'trolling'. The comments in question
were not posted by myself (indeed, I should hope
that I can express myself better than that in
English or in French). I am perfectly capable of
standing by any of my commentary but I cannot and
will not stand by commentary that I have not made.

I am not familar with the site in question but
after having perused its content I'd put it up
there with 'Le Monde Diplomatique' in terms
of relative worth and viewpoint.

I will be sending you an e-mail (copied to
Emmanuelle) to explain what I think is up
with that.

In any case, I am happy to count you among
my readers and perfectly willing to respond
to any of your comments and questions
at merdeinfrance@hotmail.com

Posted by: Bill at November 27, 2002 11:05 AM

Sorry Bill if I jumped too quickly to conclusions it was you behind this post.

Posted by: Emmanuelle at November 27, 2002 11:50 AM

Being an american (among others) living in Paris, and having lived in france as a whole for over 11 years now, i feel I can make a justifyable comment here.

While the french will always be, well french. I have found that France is a good mix between the "market driven" US and the rest. Emmanuelle, si vous continuez de lire ces messages, je deteste Paris aussi. Les gens la sont les plus desagreables des tous les Francais.

Posted by: SamayG at December 2, 2002 02:05 AM

This guy is French, no doubt about it. Only the French can bitch like that about France - they all do it.

Posted by: Christophe at December 4, 2002 10:57 AM

Emmanuelle,

Many thanks for your interview with Bill, the author of merdeinfrance.

Even though you do not share Bill's political outlook, you managed to maintain a civil tone, and I commend you for that.

Merde in France is one of my favorite web sites, I check it every other day. Living in Europe myself, it is my impression that the intellectual underpinnings for anti-American sentiments, while these sentiments are found not only in France, frequently originate in France.

Especially the Germans sometimes follow almost slavishly the lead of the French in opposing and obstructing U.S. policy at every turn.

One other thing. This whole Euro "safety net" thing is just a myth. Being down and out in France or Germany sucks just as much as in the U.S.

The prime beneficiaries of the huge transfer payments are the social workers and other civil servants. Their clients come in a distant second.

Posted by: tictoc at July 30, 2003 07:34 AM
Post a comment







Yes





acquaintances who have lived in the US for over 25 years, but are always going on and on about how great life is back in India, but never seem to want to move back. Instead, they force themselves and their families into all sorts of cultural conservatism (attempting to arrange marriages, only watching indian movies) in order to maintain the feel of "back home" in their new homes. It seems to me that Bill feels quite comfortable criticizing France and adoring America as long as he stays in Paris, but would he ever move back to the States, and how would he enjoy life in say, Texas, or even California, after having spent 20 years in Paris? After perusing his writings, it seems that he's more interested in maintaining his "americanness" and difference from the french in order to be special (remember the guy in college who was really into being Irish or German in lieu of having a personality) than making some sort of political statement.
Emmanuelle, si vous continuez de lire ces messages, je deteste Paris aussi. Les gens la sont les plus desagreables des tous les Francais.

Posted by: SamayG at December 2, 2002 02:05 AM

This guy is French, no doubt about it. Only the French can bitch like that about France - they all do it.

Posted by: Christophe at December 4, 2002 10:57 AM

Emmanuelle,

Many thanks for your interview with Bill, the author of merdeinfrance.

Even though you do not share Bill's political outlook, you managed to maintain a civil tone, and I commend you for that.

Merde in France is one of my favorite web sites, I check it every other day. Living in Europe myself, it is my impression that the intellectual underpinnings for anti-American sentiments, while these sentiments are found not only in France, frequently originate in France.

Especially the Germans sometimes follow almost slavishly the lead of the French in opposing and obstructing U.S. policy at every turn.

One other thing. This whole Euro "safety net" thing is just a myth. Being down and out in France or Germany sucks just as much as in the U.S.

The prime beneficiaries of the huge transfer payments are the social workers and other civil servants. Their clients come in a distant second.

Posted by: tictoc at July 30, 2003 07:34 AM
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






= true; } else { document.comments_form.bakecookie[1].checked = true; } //--> /body> document.comments_form.bakecookie[1].checked = true; } //--> /body>