Say it loud - I'm elitist and proud

Friday, April 26, 2002

LE PEN UPDATE-HOW TO SWEAR IN FRENCH: Dan Hartung tells me that en train de foutre le camp below is "something like 'in the process of destroying itself', or maybe more mildly 'on the way out'. Foutre is approximately 'to fuck' hence not in your Larousse, and foutre le camp is 'fuck the camp' or idiomatically 'bugger off', 'get the hell out' or 'screw yourself'... or better yet...maybe just 'in full retreat'."

Thursday, April 25, 2002

THIS IS why today - Anzac Day - and not Australia Day (January 26) is our true national day.

Also have a look at the portrait of an Australian WW2 bomber crew. Go to the Australian War Memorial database, click on 'New Collections Database Search' then on 'Paintings by Australian artist Stella Bowen' below 'Collection Highlights'. It's the third one. Just days after Stella Bowen made the initial sketches, they were posted 'missing'. Only rear gunner Tom Lynch (back row, second from left) survived. I can't stop looking at those faces.

I WENT to a lesbian surprise birthday party last night. Despite being severely outnumbered - the only male, one of the few heterosexuals, and youth-and-hipness challenged - I had a good time.

The birthday girl works with Katie in book publishing, while her partner has a high-powered advertising job. They were at our wedding: when the time came for the catching of the bride's bouquet, Katie's brother got them involved, telling them, 'Commitment ceremonies count too!'

The party was at the Thai restaurant behind the Bank pub in Newtown. The duck salad Katie and I shared was very light on the duck and heavy on the onions, but others were happy with their satays and chicken curries.

Getting out at 10.30 was harder than getting in at 7.30: the Bank is hugely popular, especially for the Wednesday night lesbian pool competition. The great queues for the ladies' loos led to some trying the men's loos instead.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

That’s how Babel Fish translated «C'est l'élection de tous les refus» in Liberation today.

With the help of Babel Fish, Larousse, and 5 years of schoolboy French, here’s political scientist Pascal Perrineau’s view of Le Pen:

Who is the electorate of Jean-Marie Le Pen?
As in 1995, he obtained a good score (20%) among young people. Mainly among the 18-24 year-olds in difficulties, those who are having trouble finding work. He also scores better among men than among women. In the Le Pen vote, a certain uneasiness in the male condition shows through, in particular among young men with a low level of education, who do not have a foundation of reading to understand the transformations taking place in French society. Among some there is a crisis of sexual identity, and the machoism of Le Pen is the outlet for these anxieties. The Frontist vote was, as in 1995, most significant among workers (24%). Same news for the unemployed (30%): the expression of social breakdown worked in its favour. These are constants. Now we must add what’s new: the good score in rural areas, in particular in the Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc Roussillon, where support was very strong. One thus notes a strong gain in the rural zones or ‘rurbaines’ (rural-urban). Also a good score among the employed (18%). (But according to my Larousse, ‘employés’ can also mean ‘clerks’, so by extension I suppose it also means ‘white collar workers’.) The only group ‘secure’ from the FN are the senior executives (less than 10%).

How to explain the Frontist push in rural areas?
Chiefly an uneasiness in a certain category of the population regarding the opening-up of society: opening-up politically to Europe, culturally, and economically with globalisation. This is an anxious, open society of many people who have the feeling that the nationalist idea is en train de foutre le camp. (Can’t translate this!) They also have the feeling of being kept on the outside of this [opening-up] movement. In Brittany, where the population is accustomed to being on the outside, Le Pen performs poorly. But, in the old areas of the red South for example, there is a turn toward the people who are leading the fight against Paris. José Bové embodies these contradictions well: on the one hand the fight against globalisation, la mal-bouffe(?), the defense of culture and regional identity; on the other, the risk of a slippage, like his recent position on the Middle East where it has passed from anti-zionism to anti-semitism.

Did the FN consolidate its old zones of influence or extend its influence?
In its traditional strongholds, it continues to progress: the Alpes-Maritimes, Gard, Drôme, Haute-Savoie, Aisne, Nord-Pas-de-Calais. There is also a new dynamic to the west of a line from Le Havre to Perpignan. Le Pen is reinforced in the departments where Poujadist support was strong in 1956 (Lot-et-Garonne, Tarn-et-Garonne).

How to explain the abstentionist phenomenon?
This is the election of all the refusals. Refusal of others, of those at the top, but also refusal of the vote. Abstention is a smack at all the parties of government. This is a true crisis in politics. It is the last election of the cycle begun in 1962. Behind the destruction of the system, there is another message: the rebuilding. It will be necessary to renew the political class, the division of powers...On the right, as on the left, the building site is gigantic.

My fellow Australians: does any of the above sound familiar?

Monday, April 22, 2002

APATHY CONTINUES. After the record low turnouts in US and UK elections, now only 72% turn out for the French presidential elections, with the far-right Jean-Marie 'a mere detail of history' Le Pen coming in second place, putting him into the runoff election against Jacques Chirac. As Edmund Burke put it (via David Davis and Margo Kingston): "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing".