france

From Our Own Contrivement

When I was younger I used to document fluff pieces when I found them on TV or radio.

Partly due to the job I had then and partly for posterity, I would document and save the obvious propaganda pieces I saw – and sometimes use them in classes.

However, the sheer volume of it is obviously impossible to keep up with, and to be honest, it’s bad for the soul: “He who stares into the abyss…” and so on. Over the years, even though it annoys me, I have just learned to let it go.

Most of that stuff that I collected has been binned now. I would never have had time in a million years to write about it all.

However, sometimes you just can’t let it pass.

This morning I listened to the episode of “From Our Own Correspondent” from October 4th of this year called  A Tale of Two Termini (at time of writing it is the fourth one down on this page).

I’ll give you a rundown of the pieces in the episode…

  1. France bad (socialist [sic] president don’t you know), England good. France and England usually develop in a parallel way but now France bad France bad France bad (socialist president don’t you know), England better (has problems yes but no bad socialist president).
  2. Venezuela dangerous (Socialist president don’t you know), Chavez opponent good (even has “boyish charm” don’t you know). Socialists dangerous. Don’t wear wrong colours. 14 years of Socialist president is enough don’t you know?
  3. Assange bad (don’t you know). Wouldn’t he have been happier just “painting flowers?” – believe it or not that is more or less a quote. Oh and muslims bad don’t you know? Denmark cartoon guy better than Assange don’t you know?
  4. Communists were bad don’t you know? Stalin was bad, did bad things. Watch out for those communists and socialists. Bad Bad Bad.
  5. China Bad… or is it Good? Ah, they are just a little silly and culturally underdeveloped.

It has to be heard to be believed. I’m keeping it in case I am ever teaching media studies classes again.

[Cartoon from the Pleb]

Way Off The Lamarck

“If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.”

Albert Einstein

I was lucky enough to get 6 hours in Paris the other day and went for a wander around Notre Dame. Before you get there though there is the Jardin Des Plantes and I thought I would take a walk around. Didn’t have enough money on me to go into the evolution museum even though I wanted to but this statue caught my eye I was a little taken aback. Take a look…

When I first saw the statue my first thought, a little unfairly, was that Lamarck was responsible for the theory of evolution in the same way that cheese was responsible for the great train robbery – not at all (actually that was my second thought, my first was “wait a f**king minute!”). However, on thinking it over maybe a fairer way to look at it might be like da Vinci and the helicopter in that although their ideas would not have worked, they were among the first attempts to solve certain problems.

I’m fairly sure if you asked a French person now who was responsible for the theory of evolution they would say Darwin. It is highly probable that the trumpeting of Lamarck in France represented part of the battle between the British and French empires, the two major powers of that era, in that they were trying also to be perceived to be intellectually and culturally dominant. A similar stooshie went on over who discovered Neptune with the British trying to claim it from the French.

Although this is intellectually dishonest behaviour, I suppose it would be preferable to the kind of thing that the Americans are putting out these days to show their cultural dominance.

The Jardins Des Plantes is a nice place though, and there are a few more pictures if you click on the READ MORE below.

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PLACES YOU CAN’T GO – No. 1 – LASCAUX

It would be fantastic to go the Lascaux caves in France.

Most of us have heard about the 16,000 to 17,000 year old caves from someone.

However, when they were opened to tourists the exhaled CO2 from all the visitors visibly damaged the paintings to the point where tourism was stopped and the caves were closed.

There is at least one way you can visit – CLICK THIS LINK – and go on the virtual tour which is quite well done.

It is also worth pointing out that there are other older caves which are less well-known. These caves, if they were better publicised, might help to remove some of the eurocentrism that has dominated ideas about where people first started to produce art of this kind.

The Apollo 11 cave in Namibia is a case in point. The paintings there are dated between 25,500 BC and 23500 BC which makes them considerably older than Lascaux.

Also, as metmuseum says…

More recent discoveries of incised ocher date back almost as far as 100,000 B.C., making Africa home to the oldest images in the world.

THE TEDIOUSNESS OF DEMOCRACY

Don’t you realise that your poor leaders are tired? Every time they try to lead you a step closer to full on World War or complete the ecocide project you keep getting in their way and make them have to go through long drawn out mind control and propaganda campaigns. After that, when some of you still don’t believe them, they have to increase policing and clamp down on protest and dissent of any sort so you don’t step too far out of line. You might not be too effective at stopping them yet, but you certainly make them up their marketing and police bills.

Can’t you just leave them alone so they can get on with their project? Stop being so damn unreasonable!

Because of the obstinacy of the people of Europe, the new(ish) EU Treaty has been relatively quietly prepared. There has been a great deal less hullaballoo than when the EU constitution, in a sudden and unforeseen outbreak of democracy, was defeated by the people in the French and Dutch referendums.

Other referendums were cancelled against the wishes of public opinion in other EU countries, which was in favour of national referendums going ahead so they could register their disapproval – even though the constitution was already effectively dead.

Or was it?

I remember a few discussions I had when the constitution was thrown out. I simply wasn’t convinced that these little conglomerated men with their big congealed egos were going to let it go at that.391.jpg

When Chirac said in his national address “You have rejected the European constitution by a majority. It is your sovereign decision and I take note of it” I was slightly taken aback. ‘Take NOTE of it’ he said, not ‘act in accordance with it’ which would be the response if there was any semblance of democracy left in the upper echelons of government. Other politicians in Holland, France and around Europe more or less said that their fault was in not explaining themselves well enough rather than drafting horrendous policies that nobody wanted – even after an enormous campaign to convince them it was good for them.

In fact, because of this traitorous malevolence on the part of the people the European Council and the Council of Ministers decided not to explain themselves at all and get the civil servants to draft it and sneak it through, giving the document to member states only 48 hours before it was due to be signed. After this it can all be blamed on the European Commission and business can carry on with even more terrible leeway than usual.

This neatly sidesteps all that tedious business about democracy.

Indeed Valery Giscard d’Estaing, one of the main authors of the constitution said…

“All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way.”

Former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato…

“They decided that the document should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is not constitutional, that was the sort of perception… Should you succeed in understanding it at first sight there might be some reason for a referendum, because it would mean that there is something new.”

Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht….

“The aim of the Constitutional treaty was to be more readable; the aim of this treaty is to be unreadable… The Constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this treaty had to be unclear. It is a success.”[1]

But never fear, our new Prime Sinister says that the UK will retain important opt-outs. Even the BBC are reporting this. What they don’t say (properly) in this article is that some of those opt-outs include opting-out of human rights legislation that would impede the war on the abstract noun.

It is unusual for me to agree with the Conservatives but they are calling for a referendum on the treaty as they believe it is about 90% the same as the aborted constitution.

A comparitive text with the two documents side by side can be viewed here. I suggest you look at it to see just how similar the two documents are. It might serve as a useful reminder that our supposed representatives have nothing but comtempt for us.

Joe Carpenter said…

I’ve never understood the idea of speaking truth to power. The truth, surely, is that in almost all countries of the world, political and economic systems are designed to benefit only the rich and powerful, at the expense of those with less money and power. This is how the world works, and I see no reason to think that the powerful don’t already understand that. After all, they designed it; they maintain it.

[1]Three quotes from http://www.openeurope.org.uk/media-centre/pressrelease.aspx?pressreleaseid=53