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Thursday, February 10, 2005

FRENCH PARANO, by ChicType Translated as promised....

French Parano by Chic Type

Translation courtesy of elvatoloko

Sometimes I realize that my outlook on my environment is rather negative. I wonder whether I should see a shrink to explore the possibility of altering some paradigms that unsettle my spirit. I must admit that I harbor a rather negative view of society, of my country, of the people populating this country [France] and of the entire system in general. I sometimes wonder whether I have completely fallen prey to paranoia. (The mere fact that I am pondering this is a telltale sign.)

To summarize the debilitating ailment I suffer from, Doctor, I cannot shake off the patently false idea that I live in an ultra-totalitarian society. Just like that. A “Brave New World” type of society.

-Can you expand on that?

-Sure, but it is so confused in my mind; it is a conjunction of loosely related more or less notable facts, with tenuous links between them. It’s also made up of some perceptions and feelings which I cannot prove. I don’t know… For example: I have the feeling that the police/justice system is not geared to protect me. I think, probably erroneously, but I can’t stop thinking in this fashion, that if I am robbed or assaulted in the street, the case will be automatically closed, without conclusions. I know that if my telephone service provider decides to cheat me out of 10-20 Euros here and there, I will not be able to right this wrong. I know that if tomorrow I lend money to someone and this someone refuses to pay me back, I will not be able to do anything about it legally. If I am assaulted and defend myself with anything within my reach, I know that I could be charged with assault myself. I know that if the government or any other power decides to, I don’t know, to erect a relay antenna in front of my house, I will only have the right to shut up, and that in the best scenario, I would receive mere symbolic compensation. If a surgeon commits serious medical malpractice on my person, such as inoculating me with a virus, disfigurement or gravely injures me, I will receive in the best case scenario a small pension similar to the RMI [a welfare check] paid by the malpractice insurance. If tomorrow a gang of lowlifes beats me up and are later nabbed by the cops, I know that they will be released the same day, that the trial will not occur, or if it does occur, it will be in a very long time, will cost me an arm and a leg, and that the damages paid, in the best case scenario, will not cover the legal expenses or will not match the damages inflicted. I know that if a neighbor is busting my balls, on the one hand I will not be able to settle the matter myself, man to man, and on the other hand that the police/justice will not do anything about it. I know that numerous classes of people, let’s call them the “VIPs”, can inflict anything upon me, and aside loosing me as a client, they are virtually untouchable. A lawyer can screw me, a physician can make me sick, my bank can charge me hidden fees, my telephone service provider can flaunt all the rules of commerce, a huissier [bailiff, sort of legally commissioned clerk] can con me, a notary can help himself to my property, a politician can favor his friends etc…And in the face of this, it is practically impossible for me to have my rights respected (expensive, time-consuming, complicated), and I know that I would find myself isolated before ultra-powerful institutions, and if their wrong is established, the compensation will be insignificant etc, etc, etc…

I also harbor the notion that the system is hermetically closed at all levels. Economically, all the spots seem occupied and it seems to me that you have to request authorizations at all levels to create something, all human activities are completely supervised. The mere creation of a market stand or the establishment of a window cleaning business is a major legal and accounting headache. Furthermore, it seems that without a significant capital investment, it is impossible to create anything in
France. A simple small business such as a newspaper stand or sandwich joint cost an arm and a leg. On the political level, it is also completely airtight, if you haven’t gone to ENA [National School of Administration] or Poli. Sci. [The French equivalent to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Gov’t], that is if you aren’t one of those who have been wanting to be in politics since puberty, you have no chance of ever participating in it. In the world of the media or show business, everything seems to work according to the “I scratch your back, you scratch my back” principle, good old boys networks, pillow promotions, nepotism etc. Regarding land occupation, it seems that all the cool places are hyper-expensive, inaccessible to the middle class, when you want to build it is a legal headache, and when you are poor, you find yourself stuck in multiracial ghetto-like project complexes. Renting is extremely complex due to the required guarantees so that moving from one apartment to another is a difficult proposition for many etc, etc, etc.

I believe that the creative and productive power of individuals is methodically annihilated. France’s past strength was its creators, its artists, its authors, its artisans, its inventors, its cooks, etc. All these independent people which main talent was to have imagination and craftsmanship and to freely exercise it, in an independent fashion. Nowadays, the creative mind works in communication and is much less paid than the salesman. That who can write, is a censored columnist, rides the metro, and lives in efficiency while the publicity space salesman earns five times his salary. The entry-level engineer with a master’s degree earns as much as the secretary and will never earn more than the average salesman. The software engineer does the dirty work, earns less that the software user. The artisan earns less that the art dealer. The inventor is robbed. The cook becomes an hourly employee in the food industry. All this small world teeters between unemployment, underpaid work or the unrewarding world of freelancing. While the creative and productive jobs are devalued, the unproductive and non-creative functions of the legal industry, financial world, whores etc are spared the economic crisis. Creativity is no longer valued and independence is discouraged.

I consider politicians and the government in France to be completely corrupt. Corruption has reached such levels in France that it has become legal. The big corruption/favoritism/unlawful wealth acquisition scandals virtually never result in any convictions. Furthermore, favoritism, the hiring of friends, the bestowing of positions on powerful administration boards and at the helm of large corporations upon high level government employees (Jaffré Scandal, Messier Scandal…) are considered to be normal occurrences. I have arrived at the conclusion that no bidding process rests on quality/price considerations but are the result of occult transactions. I think that no other country in the world aside from France, except for some African countries or communist China maybe, practice business/political collusion to the same degree as France. In general, I think that to reach a certain political level in France, you need to be a super son-of-a-bitch, and that an honest guy has no change of ever really controlling France.

I also consider that the world of ideas is suffering advanced sclerosis in France, that the intellectual circles is controlled by a small group of editors, media figures and network personalities, on the one hand, uninteresting ideas, no to say appallingly stupid, and not shared by people in general, enjoy disproportionate exposure, until the people itself adopts them, and on the other hand, a whole sector of thought is blocked by the same individuals. There is a refusal to debate in France, it’s the “Pensee Unique” [Single Train of Thought] phenomenon which we can’t shake off. If you add the “politically correct” phenomenon… The slightest deviation from causes the independent thinker to be slaughtered by the intelligentsia and media. To gain access to the Parisian intellectual circles, where everything originates, you have to accept all sorts of compromises. In the end, a limited number of “intellectuals” all harboring similar ideas, exert a monopoly on the quasi totality of media and enjoy a certain power in the political, economic and media world. (BHL, Minc, Attali, Sollers, Adler, Rufin, Beigbeder…), and those who express opposing ideas are often considered mortal enemies and are prohibited from appearing on TV, the radio and from publishing. Etc. etc, etc.

I also think that in the world of creation and culture in France is totally dependent on the current system. The movie industry only survives thanks to government subsidies and the financing of TV networks closely related to the government. The distributors are also closely linked to the government (Gaumont [principal French studio] = owned by Seydoux, Bollore, Dassault which are government contractors, UGC= Owned by infamous Vivendi which is another government contractor, MK2+ Owned by Marin Karmitz= a leftist activist). The world of Art survives entirely on Ministry of Culture funding. There are practically no private museums or foundations in France. TV creation is dependent on state TV networks and even the private networks are dependent on the State for their broadcasting privileges. All the newspapers, magazines, books are in the hands of companies linked to the government. Even the world of music is dependant on the major studios which are dependant on shareholders whose main client is the State. In short, no truly vocal opposition can surface from this cloak; a creator would have to learn how to please those circles before emerging. This seems to explain the platitude of French creation of late, all sectors included. For example, I think that authors such as Manson, Eminem, Bret Easton Ellis, James Ellroy, would have been censored at the very beginning, or relegated to the margins, without any media exposure. TV shows out of the mainstream such as South Park and the X files would have been completely morphed to meet “production guidelines”. Cameron, Carpenter or Verhoven would never have been able to distribute their first movies etc, etc, etc.

I think that the current system works against the people. I think that immigration, for example, is not there to favor the people, I think its calculated to divide to better control and break any sentiment of belonging to a people (people which could rebel itself against the government). Maintaining a high level of unemployment has been calculated to make people dependent on the system. The systematic revision of the past and identity of the French people is not done with the intent of progress but with the intent of annihilating any pride and any sentiment of belonging, so that the people turn to pride and belonging to the republican system of government only. If more than 50% of the GDP is spent on government appropriations and that all the social services (unemployment, health, retirement, etc…) and education are a government monopoly, it’s not in a spirit of fairness, but a ploy to make the individual dependent of a central government. Maintaining a certain level of crime and insecurity allows the government to affirm its power and to become indispensable. The divisions within French society and the dissentions are advantages for the government that works towards maintaining them. Etc, etc, etc.

I also believe that the government in place is ultra-powerful, that it is impossible to escape from it, and that it is impossible to topple it as well. It is omnipresent, its dogmas are repeated continuously. It intervenes at all levels of existence. It has its hand in births, deaths, unions, sexuality, everywhere. Furthermore, the revolutionary protest experience in France has resulted in the fact that today’s State has armored itself at all levels. Protests such as those of May 1968 would be impossible today (Refer to the student strikes from 1986 to the present). The end of mandatory military service, the prohibitions to own weapons, the criminalization of self-defense and in parallel the ultra-professionalization of security services and the omnipresence of private security outfits prevents any confrontation with the State. Elections are the only recourse to change things; however, the various political parties do not offer any alternative to the current government. I think that there is no real opposition in France. UMP [Center right political party] and the PS [Center left Socialist Party] have virtually the same platforms and alternation between the two parties does not change anything. The small political parties serve the function of giving an illusion of democracy and at best dine on the political crumbs tossed to them (the bestowing of a ministry or labor union upon them keeps them happy). The FR [National Front, far right party] is a political scarecrow come election time, and at the same time, its electoral results prevent any new valid political party to challenge the UMP or PS. The FN is the dunce of French politics. We are in a quasi-single party system.

I believe that the republican [ of the republic, no ref. to U.S. politics here] doctrine has become as sort of religion. It has morphed into an official religion. It competes with the other religions. It’s an intolerant religion, not to believe in it turns you into a heretic and is severely punished. Its interpretation of human rights cannot be challenged. French politicians speak like priests, their speech generally dealing with how to think or perceive things, the feelings we must harbor, the love or rejection that must exist between us. Temporal and timeless power is in the hands of the same individuals. Etc, etc, etc.

Media express virtually the same ideas and the same outlook on all the important topics. All the media are dependent on the economic and political system, and have long ago stopped to exert their role of counter power. The media doest no seek to expose the reality of this country but to influence the people through manipulation, lies or omission, preventing protesters from seeing reality, lionizing collaborators to the system, giving a favorable view of those in power. Etc, etc, etc.

-There it is Doctor; this is how I see things. This terrible feeling of living in a totalitarian state, completely frozen and locked at all levels, is not easy to live with.

-I understand you. We will prescribe a few pills, you’ll get better, and if this does not work, we will give you a little round of electroshocks, how does that sound?

- Oh thanks Doctor!

Published by Chic Type

Translation from French courtesy of elvatoloko.


At 3:12 PM, Blogger cyberafa said...

Cuñado. Muchas gracias por la traducción del último artículo, esta muy bueno. Felicidades por tener la página actualizada, siempre es bueno encontrar un oasis de pensamientos claros y bien definidos en este mundo de locura.

At 7:01 AM, Blogger Huan said...

thanks for the translation. good read.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger arnoo said...

Move to the USofA where your personal talent, dedication and perseverance will determine your place in society, not your university.


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