The Way We Live (and Die) Now

by Scott McLemee on April 17, 2007

At (a group blog for librarians), Mimi notes that with the nightmare at Virginia Tech, mass-media coverage has been almost entirely conditioned by the new-media “surround”:
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Le petit Nicolas

by Maria on April 17, 2007

Imagine my excitement when I turned on TF1 last night to see my two crushes amongst France’s Great Men engaged in intellectual naked mud wrestling together. Patrick Poivre d’Arvor was interviewing Nicolas Sarkozy, and was as benignly indifferent to Sarko’s expressive eyes and small man ego as if he were talking to his puppet on Les Guignols. Sarkozy punctuated his remarks by referring directly to PPDA as “Patrick Poivre d’Arvor”. It was odd, and I’m sure there’s some history behind it. Does anyone know the story?

Through the campaign, Sarkozy has been even more invigorated, more expansive, more himself. He finally wrestled an endorsement out of Chirac a couple of weeks ago, when it was obvious that Super-Menteur was hurting only his own credibility by witholding approval of his prodigal son. Sarkozy is off the leash and thriving on it. A political campaign gives expression to his infamous hyperactivity in a way the mere presidency of France never could. He’s growing into the role, but he’ll never be amiable like Chirac or grand like Mitterrand. Sarkozy is charmingly insecure. He completely spoilt his statesman act last night by pointing out how he rises above the insults of his rival candidates by refusing to address them.

This morning, in a political broadcast, Segolene Royal was looking much less exhausted than she has over the last few weeks. She articulates perfectly the nation’s desire to live out its values of fairness and justice and accommodate the rest of the world purely on France’s terms. If France’s presidency was the figurehead role initially envisaged in its predecessor republics, there would be a place for this sort of thing. Without naming names, she referred to those who are ‘bulimics of power’, implicitly contrasting her own, more measured approach. But while Royal says she’ll steer France away from the ‘neo-liberal’ policies of the last five years, in practice it would mean more of the same when it comes to the economy. Chirac has stayed a steady course purely out of lassitude, Royale would do so out of a popular, Canute-like belief that France can stand alone against ‘de-localisation’ and ECB interest rates.

The dark horse is, of course, Francois Bayrou. Try as I might, I never seem to switch on the telly when he’s talking. I’d love to see PPDA give him a good working over.

Wolfowitz watch

by Chris Bertram on April 17, 2007

There’s a useful blog covering l’affaire Wolfowitz “here”: . So far as I can see the Wall Street Journal is almost alone in spinning a pro-W line (what a surprise!).