CULTIVATING LIBERALISM
FOR ALL CLIMATES
SINCE 1759
 
Google
 

Free alert to Candide's Notebooks
Your email:

JOIN ME AT MY BULLSHIT SITES

France’s Totalitarian Nostalgia
A Gift for Police Brutality

No, not that kind

The first thing that I think about when I think of France in political terms isn’t liberty, exactly (the Terror, yes; the bloodletting of 1848 or the crushing of the Commune in 1871 or Vichy France or France in Algeria anticipating the United States in Iraq, yes), although it’s not so bad on fraternity’s and equality’s score (a couple of things the United States could learn from). Nor do I think of French journalism as either particularly original or, the days of the Correspondance Littéraire, the pamphleteering of the Revolution or the few days of J’Accuse aside, groundbreaking. The originality of French journalism is in its ability to give plagiarism style (much of Le Monde’s international news is cribbed from other sources under Le Monde’s by-lines). That said, it’s still remarkable that the French government just made it a crime for amateurs to film live acts of violence and peddle them on the internet. Remember that amateur video of the savage beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles Police thugs sixteen years ago by a passing motorist? The French law was enacted on the sixteenth anniversary. Had, say, a bunch of CRS thugs decided to give the Rodney king treatment to a Tunisian in some Clichy back-alley—and been caught on a passer-by’s video phone, the passer-by could, first, have the shit kicked out of him by the same CRS gang (the guys would know that the incriminating evidence could not be made public), then be arrested for illegally filming an act of violence. Nicolas Sarkozy, possibly the next Lord and Savior of France, loves the law. It is to him one more way of preventing what’s oddly called “happy slapping,” a somewhat twisted fad that may have started in London where youths instigate an act of violence, videotape it, then broadcast it to the universe on YouTube or some such. That sort of thing may or may not be a problem. It certainly isn’t nearly as serious a problem as the government of an open democracy banning videotaping. Go after the acts of violence when you can. But the filming? “Professional” journalists would be exempt from the ban. Not much solace there. There aren’t many professional journalists in France. The amateur and citizen kind going back to Voltaire has usually gotten the job done better, precisely when showing up government’s overbearing ways.

| permalink
Bookmark and Share

THE DAILY JOURNAL
Read Pierre’s Latest at


 
The Latest Comments
 
GOOGLE GOOGLE NEW YORK TIMES NEWSPAPERS NETFLIX UK INDEPENDENT NETFLIX
 
  
RECENTLY IN THE DAILY JOURNAL: NOTEBOOKS ORIGINALS
RECENTLY IN THE DAILY JOURNAL: CRUMBS & CRIBS

   
 
Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe in Rojo   Add to My AOL Subscribe in FeedLounge Add to netvibes Subscribe in Bloglines Add to The Free Dictionary