Mixte Emotions

by Daniel on November 8, 2005

I am not quite sure why, but I am both too embarrassed with my views on the subject of the riots in France to post them on CT and too pleased with them to resist linking to them elsewhere. Sorry.

Working On A Groovy Thing

by Belle Waring on November 8, 2005

It’s a bit silly to link to things b0ingb0ing has already linked to, but I saw this awesome Guinness ad and —had you going there, didn’t I? No, actually, here’s a link to The Fifth Dimension performing what may be my favorite of their songs, the transcendently weird “Paper Cup.” It’s about how cool it is to become homeless, or something (lyrics. OMG I can get a polyphonic Fifth Dimension ringtone!). The outfits, the painfully amateurish dancing, the backdrop; it’s beautiful. As discussed in the comments at Bedazzled, the Fifth Dimension was a band for white people who were afraid of real black musicians. Totally safe for you to listen to some of that crazy Negro music the kids are into these days! Just look at these guys; they’re not about to break the white man off something lovely, at all! They’re more about to float up into the sky in a beautiful balloon, wearing matching yellow Wild-West outfits with foot-long fringe, and warbling incoherently about the glory hole in my mind! By any groovy means necessary!

Now, I hope I’m not going to hear any rock snob grumbling about liking the Fifth Dimension. I have gone into the realm of rock snobbery beyond good and evil, where I like the America song “Sister Golden Hair”, and Rush songs and the Shirley Bassey cover of “Spinning Wheel”. Sometimes, just for a laff, I listen to the music that plays in the background in Rocky IV during the cross-cut work-out scene, where Dolph Lundgen is all on a treadmill with commie scientists monitoring him, and Rocky is out on the Siberian tundra chopping wood and growing a beard and digging the Byelamor canal with his teeth, and ironically understanding the great Russian soul way better than the actual Russian people–because that’s what America is all about. Yeah, that song. I mean, it sucks, obviously, but in a cool way.

Now, why don’t I have anything to say about the rioting in France? Well, I sort of don’t understand what the hell is going on. I’m reluctant to embrace the Victor Steyn Hinderaker death-throes of Eurabia thing, since it looks more like your run-of-the-mill broke people rioting, combined with massive state incompetence. The cheerful schadenfreude on this issue from the right is unseemly. “Remember when they mocked our social system because something terrible happened to us? Now something terrible is happening to France! I bet they wish they could go cry on the shoulder of their old friend — Saddam Hussein!” I am surprised to learn that les flics are crippled by their mushy multicultural love all all things Islam; the blogosphere really can turn you on to new ideas. Obviously, though, the French government has screwed this up royally; it’s ludicrous that it would go on this long, and that it would take Chirac more than a week to even deign to notice the situation. Some forceful police action is obviously needed; it’s not right for citizens to be cowering in their homes while every car in France is set on fire right outside. (And, damn, those things are more flammable than I ever thought. Suddenly all those 80’s TV scenes where a car going 12 mph noses into a fence and blazes up like a Pinto inferno seem realistic.) Finally, and I mean this in the nicest way, and I don’t want people to die, but doesn’t this seem like some kind of pussy rioting, frankly? It’s been going on for almost two weeks and only one or two people have died? If American people had been rioting that long the death toll would be in the three digits, for sure. Don’t mess with American pride.

UPDATE: it isn’t very helpful or accurate to call this rioting “run-of-the-mill” when it’s so obviously serious and strange in a possibly epochal way. So, retract that. What I meant to say is that from what I have seen, ordinary underclass alienation, reaction to percieved racism, massive unempolyment among bored young men, cack-handed government responses, etc. seem to be playing the largest role, vs. the “let’s reduce impotent France to dhimmi status and take over the world with the evil powers of Islam” fantasizing one sees at many right blogs.