Topic: World View
Notes from France
Last week I commented on advertisers spraying rosemary scents in the Paris metros to encourage these urbanites to vacation in Arles or Aix or wherever. See the World View item from Wednesday, 3 March 2004 here.
Today we get this:
Anti-Advertising Group Takes Campaign to Paris Metro
Tuesday, March 09, 2004, Rebecca Harrison
The basics are this:
The whole item is long, with lots of detail.
The questions raised are discussed, and Metrobus, a unit of advertising major Publicis that manages the advertising space on Paris's public transport, and metro operator RATP, are determined to smash the movement and are suing the activists for one million euros in damages. The case goes to court March 10th.
Publicis claims that the advertising is in the public interest because it provides state-owned RATP with 65 million euros a year -- enough for 20 new metro carriages or 300 buses.
And about 270 people were arrested. Of those, 62 were charged.
Reuters also reports that philosopher and teacher Vincent Cespedes, who has written several books about the impact of advertising on young people, said an average Parisian is exposed to 2,500 ads a day, and that this feeds greed, alienation and depression.
He says that in France, unlike in other European countries such as Britain, there is no strict code for advertisers, only a watchdog that rarely intervenes.
In France, one quickly discovers, sex is used to sell almost anything from holidays to handbags, prompting campaigns by feminist groups that write graffiti over them there naked boobs and butts one sees on metro walls and street-side billboards all over the place. No wonder they didn't get the American outrage at Janet Jackson.
"Advertising, particularly in France, totally warps the image young people have of women," said Cespedes. "One of my pupils said the other day he reckoned white women were all whores because they'd sleep with you for a yogurt."
Obviously, I need to stock up on yogurt.
Over at the Washington Post I see this:
Le Pen Sees His Cause Catching On: French Far-Right Leader's Party Predicted to Fare Well in Regional Ballots
Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post Foreign Service, Monday, March 8, 2004; Page A12
Le Pen seems to be making the most of the two issues he sees as vote-winners: corruption among the ruling elite and immigration. He sees the latter as responsible for a host of ills, from rising crime to social tensions highlighted by last week's passage of a law banning Muslim girls' veils from public classrooms.
Le Pen, in the interview, said he opposed the law -- which bans all "ostensible" religious symbols -- because it fails to address what he calls the core problem. "It's not a problem of the veil," he said. "It's a problem of immigration."
"Immigration is out of control," Le Pen said. "We aren't managing the problem."
Well, he's seventy-five. And this former paratrooper says he regularly meets with Frenchmen of North African descent who tell him, "It's crazy to let in everybody."
Yep. We've got Pat Robertson and Lou Dobbs. They get Jean-Marie
Then I hop on the net to watch the French news on TF1 - as they stream the 13h00 and 20h00 broadcasts for me. And? "Quelque 900 personnes repr?sentant plus de 2.000 responsables de laboratoires ont sign? leur lettre de d?mission, ? l'issue d'une assembl?e g?n?rale ? l'H?tel de Ville de Paris ..."
Well, if you don't like watching the French television news in streaming video in French, here's the scoop -
See Thousands of French Scientists Revolt
Tuesday, March 09, 2004, Elaine Ganley, Associated Press Writer
Our friend Ric at MetropoleParis says there's always a demonstration of some kind.
This is today's:
Demonstrators in white lab coats? Cool. Not much like May of 1968, is it?
Well, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said Friday that the government was prepared to make available up to three percent of the gross domestic product for research by 2010. He pointed out that is at least $3.7 billion extra between now and the end of the current legislature's term in 2007. Didn't stop the protests. But he also said, "We won't do petty bargaining," in an interview published Tuesday in Lib?ration.
Four of France's leading scientists, including two Nobel prize winners, said in a document sent to Le Monde that the entire French research system, with underpaid and under-appreciated employees, needs a "profound revision."
And one Bertrand Monthubert, a researcher in mathematics with CNRS in Toulouse, said budget cuts have forced his unit to cancel some conferences, reviews and visits by colleagues from abroad. And he claimed young researchers change fields or go abroad -- adding that he knows "lots" of young researchers who have moved to other European countries or the United States.
Horrors! We don't want them! We hate the French because they didn't like our war.
Who cares? According to a poll published Tuesday in the daily La Croix, eighty-two percent of the French support the researchers' revolt.
Gloves come off in a very French row over defence of the language
Jon Henley in Paris, The Guardian (UK), Saturday March 6, 2004
Now here's one I like, but I used to teach literature and linguistics.
Wow! Good stuff!
Well, you can read everywhere about how English, the language, is really dominating the world. Will French survive?
Henley points out that 1986, according to EU figures, 58% of European commission documents were originally published in French, compared with just 30% last year. As for European council documents, only 28% were written in French last year, against 59% in English - whereas the two languages were level as recently as 1997, at about 42% each. The new mainly eastern European entrants joining this year, most of whose diplomats prefer English, will inevitably entail a further drastic reduction in the use French.
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
Yeah, and on the other side you have Pivot saying, "a language must continually evolve, open itself up, enrich itself." That's the way it is. His idea? Don't worry Anglicisms, neologisms and slang. Go with the flow and "encourage newcomers, welcome daring inventions."
Otherwise? Rejecting and despising them will only mean that French comes to resemble this Druon fellow - "immobile, muffled, mothballed and sclerotic."
I love a good fight. I think I need to go back and read Samuel Johnson on why English doesn't need any "academy" to keep things pure.