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Consider:

"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"







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Wednesday, 3 March 2004

Topic: World View

Mel Gibson gets his audience in France...

On Sunday, 29 February 2004 I commented on how Mel Gibson's new film "The Passion of the Christ" was creating some uproar in France and might not find a distributor. Passions regarding anti-Semitism were running high. See Jerry Lewis, not Mel Gibson for that.

Well, the matter has been settled as I see from a scan of items from l'Agence France-Presse (AFP) by way of The Tocqueville Connection.

See GIBSON'S "PASSION OF THE CHRIST" TO BE SHOWN IN FRANCE

Here's the scoop:
PARIS, Feb 29 (AFP) - Mel Gibson's controversial film "The Passion of the Christ" will be shown in France despite rumours that it could not find a distributor, the Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported Sunday.

Gibson's production company Icon was quoted as saying that the name of the French distributor would be revealed Monday.

Marin Karmitz, president of the French National Federation of Film Distributors, angrily rejected reports that the film might be boycotted because of fears it could stoke anti-Semitism -- saying the row was manufactured as a marketing device.

"It was a deliberate tactic on the part of Icon to make themselves look like martyrs ... It is a totally unacceptable kind of marketing," he said.
It is? Unacceptable?

This Karmitz fellow doesn't know anything about marketing as we practice it here. And no wonder Vivendi made such a hash of their brief ownership of Universal. The French think us crass, but this seems just na?ve.

On a lighter note, I did also come across this:

PARIS STATIONS BREATHE SCENT OF THE SOUTH
PARIS, March 3 (AFP) - Nostrils were twitching at Paris railway stations Wednesday as olfactory advertisements wafted the scent of rosemary over commuters to remind them of the joys of holidays in the south.

Timed to coincide with the return to work after the winter school break, the week-long campaign was launched by the region of Languedoc-Roussillon which wants to boost its image as a tourist destination.

Posters set up on the metro system are equipped with tiny emitters which spray out essence of rosemary -- the odour which "best evokes the atmosphere, food and landscape of Languedoc-Roussillon," the region's tourist office said.

Perfume manufacturers have used olfactory advertisements in the past, but this is the first time the technique has been used to promote tourism here, the office said.
Will we catch a whiff of similar promotions in the subways of New York and Boston? Perhaps a strategic puff of nitrous oxide mixed with taco spices to make you think of visiting Los Angeles?

As for the French thinking of heading south, just don't take the TGV to get there. I once took the TGV nonstop run from Paris to Avignon. Nice trip. I wouldn't do it today.

See this: BLACKMAILERS THREATEN BOMBING CAMPAIGN ON FRENCH RAILWAYS
PARIS, March 3 (AFP) - The French government is being blackmailed by a previously-unknown group which has planted at least one bomb on the country's railway system and is demanding a ransom of more than five million dollars, the interior ministry said Wednesday.

Since December a group calling itself AZF has sent six letters to President Jacques Chirac and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, condemning France's political and economic establishment and threatening to explode 10 bombs on the railways unless the money is paid.

The government said it is taking the threat seriously and has activated the anti-terrorist section of the police as well as the domestic intelligence agency DST. A judicial investigation has been set up under the country's top anti-terrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere.

No group called AZF is known to the authorities, but it may be significant that AZF was the name of a chemical factory that blew up in the southern city of Toulouse in September 2001, killing 30 people and injuring around 1,000 others. The accident caused enormous local anger.

Police said there was not believed to be any link with Islamic terrorism.

The first letter, received on December 14, contained a series of denunciations of "politicians more pre-occupied with themselves than with the state ... a corrupt economy ... and a reductive education system" and ended with the words, "You will hear from us again soon."

In subsequent messages AZF described itself as a "pressure group of a terrorist nature." It said that 10 devices had been planted across the railway network, and that these had been fitted with timers to go off at intervals unless four million dollars and one million euros were handed over.
Actually this is quite refreshing. Not much of a political agenda here, and certainly no fanatical religious agenda either - these guys just want the money. Quite straightforward, isn't it?

Perhaps this group could ask for a bit more if they identified themselves with some religion or other, or against some religion or other. "Entrepreneur" may be a French word, but these guys need to get with the program.

Posted by Alan at 09:25 PST | Post Comment | Permalink
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