Portrait of an Enfant Terrible

Portrait of an Enfant Terrible

On the status of women, we cannot compromise. Marianne, the symbol of the Republic, bears her breast because she nourishes the people; she is not veiled because she is free! That’s the Republic! That’s Marianne!” Manuel Valls, political gunslinger, who announced his candidacy for the French presidency yesterday and resigned as prime minister today, is refreshingly scandalous in his selection of socialist taboos for target-practice.

Amongst French socialists, battered and balkanized by interminable feuding and vendetta, the question remains whether he belongs to the Left at all. Ten episodes, any one of which would make him stand far out from the customary users of doublespeak….

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Michel Houellebecq in Berlin

Michel Houellebecq in Berlin

2018-00-00 widgets.001The important thing about Michel Houellebecq is his part in liberating French intellectuals from the New Terror of the socialist media and, since 2012, the governing Parti socialiste: that is, those intellectuals who wished to be freed. What they can practically do with their new freedom remains to be seen, as demographic change in Europe continues to bulldoze nice philosophical categories, precisely as outlined in Houellebecq’s novel, Soumission [Submission].

Houellebecq was recently in Berlin to receive a literary prize. His acceptance speech was delivered in French, but The Europeans, having been unable to locate a transcript, has provided here a translation from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung‘s German version. In other words, the text — an abridged version of the speech — has been laundered twice: with what result, the reader will judge. We learn most, of course, when authors speak for themselves, outside of their writerly personæ, and that is why the present labour has been undertaken.

Submission was, and is, important because it was not to much launched, as detonated. It still reverberates throughout French intellectual and media circles, with little fumaroles of outrage appearing here and there in the landscape. What fun it must have been, to crack so many heads.

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Islamo-Gauchisme Decrypted

Islamo-Gauchisme Decrypted

Islamo-gauchisme is an epithet hurled by the French Right at the far Left and elements of the Centre-Left. It provides a handy label for the sort of relentless political sycophancy towards Islam in France, typified by apologists such as Jack Lang and Edwy Plenel. Lang was former President Mitterrand’s Minister of Culture, and is now President of the Institute of the Arab World, in Paris. Plenel is a prominent French journalist.

Laurent Bouvet is Professor of Political Science at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. He published Cultural Insecurity (Fayard) in 2015. In this interview in Le Figaro, he breaks the code behind the use of the term, islamo-gauchisme.

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