Archive for the 'Politics' Category


Where Are the Jobs?

The Guignols of Canal + went for the jugular this week, showing no mercy to unpopular French president François Hollande after the catastrophic first round of municipal elections. In this brilliantly–and painfully–funny bit, the puppet Hollande sings his desperate search for jobs, looking everywhere for them, including in bookcases and under his car. “Emploioutai!” he sings [...]

League of Justice

Last Sunday, four strangers sat down silently at Table No. 1. We were there to count votes for our precinct in the arrondissement’s mayoral election. Opening the majority of small blue envelopes with folded A4 pages produced legitimate results. Near the end of the evening, I unfolded a surprise vote in one of the small [...]

Around the Edges

Around 27 million tourists visit Paris each year, but only a small percentage of these people step outside of the city limits. A specially drawn footpath around Paris – and a new book detailing the route – aims to change this situation. Here I discuss the path and the Paris suburbs with its creator, Paul-Hervé [...]

Scenes from a Manif

Today marked a strike and demonstrations in many French cities by the equivalent of high school advanced-placement professors. The “prepa” protestors (short for classes preparatoires) are angry that  Vincent Peillon, the minister of national education, wants to add hours to the already heavy workload of these profs–or pay them less. It was moving to see [...]

Au Revoir, Ambassador Rivkin

Charles Rivkin, the 62nd US Ambassador to France and Monaco, will soon be finishing his term in Paris, and many of us will be sad to see him go. He’s the fifth ambassador since I’ve been living here, and although Pamela Harriman may have gone out in style (she died in 1997 after a stroke [...]

Can Anyone Fix France?

This New York Times article by Steven Erlanger is the best, and perhaps most depressing, precis of what is happening in France right now. In 30 years of shuttling between France and the US, I have never observed a more morose population. And that is among my friends who have good jobs. I agree with [...]

Subsidizing Intermittent Workers

France is facing a major budget deficit, estimated at 30 billion dollars (90% of its GDP). One of the biggest problems is that it has one of the highest government costs in the world: 56% of GDP, the second highest in the EU, while the economy is actually shrinking. One of the things that have come under [...]

Kiss Off

This anti-gay backlash in France mystifies me. The US looks more tolerant than France on this issue, which is rare. The latest: Movie posters for L’Inconnu du Lac have been taken down after bigots protested its image. The a-holes contacted JCDecaux, which rents out the billboards across the region, and the company caved. This is [...]

Reality Bites

François Hollande was elected to the French presidency on the promise to close his eyes and plug his ears and yell ee eee ee eee eee eee eee until the Dragon of Reality got bored and went away. Now it’s been a year, and the charmingly wishful ee eee ee eee eee eee eee policy [...]

“Nazimodo”

That’s a nickname I saw on Twitter for Dominique Venner, the right-wing writer who committed suicide in Notre Dame. In the modern equivalent of a suicide note, he blogged earlier this week about “vile” gay marriage and the invasion of “Islamists” in France. Is this an isolated instance? Or is suicide growing from a form of [...]

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