Paris in the Spring

by John Q on May 26, 2013

It’s Mother’s Day in Paris, and also the occasion of a big demonstration against equal marriage, titled “Manif Pour Tous”, presumably with the unspoken reservation “sauf homos”. I ran into a bit of the crowd, coming back from this event [^1], and they were certainly loud and boisterous. The idea that this was a rightwing version of a “Paris Spring” occurred to me, and also to this commentator in Le Monde.

I’ve seen it suggested that resistance to equal marriage is stronger in France, because there’s no legal recognition for church marriages – everyone has to go through the same civil ceremony. I’d be interested in other thoughts on that.

Overall, the real appeal of the right still seems to me to lie in anti-immigrant rhetoric and, within Europe, on attempts to blame the people of one country or another for a crisis of the entire global system of financial capitalism. The backlash against equal marriage seems to me to be the last gasp of the cultural right, rather than the basis for a sustained upsurge. But then, what I know about social developments in France would fit comfortably on a restaurant menu, so I’d be interested in what others have to say on this..

[^1]: I’m actually in town for this conference, where I’ll be talking about bounded rationality and financial crises. Essentially a preliminary attempt to describe the “Black Swan” problem in terms of formal decision theory, with the hope that this will lead to a more developed theory of financial bubbles and busts.

Random Access Memories

by John Holbo on May 26, 2013

Quiet around here! How do you like the new Daft Punk album, “Random Access Memories”?
Speaking of which, I was suffering from horrific ‘file not found’ syndrome until I finally found it. “Instant Crush” is basically a discofied version of Midlake’s “Roscoe” – which has been discofied before, in a mellow sort of way.

And here’s another funny musical experience you can have: you are listening to a band that is known for a certain sound, and you realize that one of their songs – which isn’t really a paradigm of their sound – is sort of a paradigm of a different sound paradigm that came later … if you get me. For example, the Police’s 1978 tune “The Truth Hits Everybody”, which was not a hit, doesn’t sound like their signature rock reggae post-prog-compacted-into-punk power trio sound. It does sound the Foo Fighters – it’s that chorus. And I can’t really think of anything else from 1978 that sounds like the Foo Fighters. (Here you can hear the Police trying to turn “Truth” into a Police song, but it doesn’t quite work. It just sounds like Sting trying to cover a Foo Fighters song.) [click to continue…]