Maîtres mots

  • Il y a longtemps que notre pays est beau mais rude.

       --Newspaper editor Olivier Séguret, 25 January 2012

    The USA are entirely the creation of the accursed race, the French.

       --Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), writing to Nancy Mitford, 22 May 1957

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French Freedom of Speech

  • Charlie Hebdo magazine, which published a cover illustration calling Marine Le Pen, head of the right-wing Front National, the "secret Down's syndrome daughter of De Gaulle," who did in fact have a daughter with Down's. The president of a Down's syndrome association, Handi Pop', has announced it is suing.

Today the cheminots are:

  • "À nous de vous faire préférer le train!"
    "Voyager autrement"
    "Avec le SNCF, tout est possible"
      --Former ad slogans of the SNCF (French national trains), each in turn quickly dropped

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Go back to school in Paris!

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Lilies-of-the-valley is an easy call: May is the month of Mary, the original person called by this name (...flos campi, et lilium convallium...)

Thanks! I never knew the answer to that one.

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Today's quotation

  • Tell me about the violence of the powerful! The violence they make people suffer! The worker is there to shut up and suffer! Well, no– from time to time a few people have to put up with having their shirts torn. A shirt is nothing!

    Actually, now it's a song, and you're going to be hearing "Tear off his shirt!" at all the demonstrations. It's become a chant of pride against humiliation.

    It's disgraceful. I tell you it's disgraceful. What have these guys done? Are they drug dealers? Are they people who plan to escape with their money to some tax haven? What on earth do you expect? Do you expect these guys to come and say, "Oh, sorry massa, sorry my lord, it won't ever happen again"?

    I'm telling them: "Do it again! Think about these five men!"

      --Always quotable French leftist politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon today on BFMTV, speaking of the employees of Air France. On Monday last week, angry employees tore the shirts off two Human Resources managers who had come to a union meeting to announce 3000 layoffs. Air France lost €1.830,000,000 in 2013 and €198,000,000 in 2014.

    Parlez-moi de la violence des puissants ! De la violence qu’ils font subir aux gens ! L’ouvrier il est là pour se taire et souffrir ! Eh bien non, de temps à autre il y en a qui se font prendre la chemise. La chemise c’est rien !

    Si, maintenant c’est une chanson, et dans toutes les manifs vous entendrez "Tomber la chemise" parce que c’est devenu un chant de fierté contre l’humiliation.

    C’est une honte. C’est une honte. Qu’est-ce qu’ils ont fait ces gens ? C’est des trafiquants de drogue ? C’est de gens qui comptent se sauver avec de l’argent dans un paradis fiscal ? Qu’est-ce que vous voulez à la fin ? Que les gens viennent et disent : 'pardon notre bon maître, pardon notre seigneur, jamais nous ne recommencerons.'

    Moi je dis aux gens : 'Recommencez ! Pensez à ces cinq-là.'

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • French Prime Minister Manuel Valls returned from a quick trip to Saudi Arabia having agreed on €10 billion worth of arms deals (in principle; some haven't been signed yet) with the human-rights-challenged regime.

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