Monday, June 21, 2010

Paris Se Libre: Part Deux

FLG has historically taken a strong, mocking stand against the Paris se libre myth. However, he watched this piece on BBC News in honor of the 70th anniversary of de Gaulle's address from London and came away slight more sympathetic. He especially liked the Giscard d'Estaing's honesty:
I asked the former president, Mr Giscard d'Estaing, who once worked for Gen de Gaulle as a junior minister, whether post-war France had been honest about its war time history.

"A very indiscreet question - it is a question that the British of course can still ask," Mr Giscard d'Estaing said, before giving his answer: "No."

Why not?

"Because it was a defeat.

"If it was a victory you accept the victory. You tell your children, your parents [about] the part you took in the victory. If it's a defeat you hide it, of course."

That reflects a lot of what FLG finds simultaneously fascinating and revolting about French society; there's this view that lies and deceit are the glue that holds society together and perhaps the sugar that sweetens it as well. Actually, if you really pressed FLG to sum up what he is trying to say, then it is this -- what is so fascinating and revolting about French society is that it is so honest about its lying and cheating. For but one of numerous examples beyond the Paris se libre, see Mitterand's funeral.

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