The Financial Times is the advocate/apologist for Neo-Liberalism in the political present: Macri in Argentina, Moreno in Ecuador, and Macron in France. Even in the face of the utter collapse of this Economic Utopianism, in American and Britain, the editors of this newspaper persist in their advocacy for this demonstrable failure.The siren call of profit at any cost is expressive of their shared Social Darwinist obsessions.
Having read Wolfgang Münchau’s April 15, 2018 essay:
Headline: Germany is frustrating Emmanuel Macron’s grand ambitions
Sub-headline: The reality is that Paris and Berlin are no longer natural allies
Its obvious that Mrs Merkel doesn’t want anything resembling ‘power sharing’ with the political upstart Macron. German fiscal probity is the central founding myth of that fiscal uprightness , Ms Tett demolishes that myth here:
Headline: A debt to history?
Sub-headline: To some, Germany faces a moral duty to help Greece, given the aid that it has previously enjoyed
Take all this as an historical frame for Ms. Chassany acting as chief of Macron’s public relations team, in the English speaking world:
Headline: Emmanuel Macron parries irreverent barbs in a televised grilling
Sub-headline: The French president, at times condescending, holds his own in a clash of egos
Emmanuel Macron, aka Jupiter, has been criticised for not engaging enough with the press since becoming French president. As the first year of his term draws to a close, Mr Macron chose to spar with two veterans of French journalism on television for nearly three hours.
The ‘Jupiter’ is a riff on his ‘Jupertarian Politics’ authoritarianism subject to a Madison Ave. makeover, in sum he is a tyrant whose poll numbers are where? The interview is melodramatically described by Ms. Chassany as a conflict of Generations and Left and Working Class advocates :
The interview on Sunday evening, which followed another televised appearance on Thursday, was always going to be a clash of the titans. It was as if the president wanted to offer voters a wrestling match as an anniversary present: he had picked as adversaries Edwy Plenel, the mustachioed editor of investigative website Mediapart, and Jean-Jacques Bourdin, who hosts a popular radio morning show. Both in their mid-to-late sixties, the two journalists have little in common apart from big egos. The former is an introverted member of the leftwing anti-capitalist intelligentsia. The latter prides himself to be the raucous voice of the French working class.
Can the reader think of two groups more undeserving of a granting political legitimacy to their ‘politics’? One ‘Left’ one ‘Working Class’: its the meat and drink of this newspaper’s editors and writers.
Both in their mid-to-late sixties, the two journalists have little in common apart from big egos.
Ms. Chassany’s ageism is unapologetic. And the less said about ‘big egos’ in a press release for Macron might have been a more politic strategy.
The two men insisted on addressing the president as Emmanuel Macron — avoiding the more respectful “Mr President”.
Macon is not God! He is a politician and possesses an out- sized ego, to match his interlocutors. This segues into an extended praise for Macron’s toughness and political resilience, in the face of hostile environments, leading to political triumphs: pure political kitsch. Its ‘artistic corollary’ is Soviet Socialist Realism, depicting Lenin ministering to the masses!
The pathos of M. Macron’s burning ambition to play a part on The World Stage,explored in part in Mr. Wolfgang Münchau’s essay in terms of the EU, is demonstrated in Macron’s being just another lackey, to American power, and its ‘War on Terror’. Just call it The Clash of Civilizations, per the paranoid yammerings of Neo-Con Samuel P. Huntington.
On Sunday, the president managed to get his messages across. He praised the French army for leading the “perfectly completed” air strikes in Syria the previous day, as part of a co-ordinated intervention with the US and the UK against the Syrian regime.
Near the end of this essay, poor Macron suffers from the contempt of his ‘prosecutors’ :
The interrogators sounded like prosecutors — “You’re no judges” — Mr Macron said. But the president sounded condescending at times: “We’re not your students and you’re not our teacher,” Mr Plenel said. When the Mediapart editor sided with anti-capitalist squatters, who refused to leave the site of an abandoned airport because they “created alternative agriculture projects”, he received another retort.
Yet true to form, Macron can’t help manifest that he ,and his ‘Jupertarian Politics’, are in fact authoritarian in nature i.e. Rule by Decree: awash in in the self-congratulation of the tyrant, whose election was marred by the stunning fact, that nearly 37% of voters in the final round of the election abstained or submitted blank of spoiled ballots. This is the Macron Revolution.
“I am going to have an ‘alternative project’ and I am going to settle in your living room,” a bemused Mr Macron said. He added: “You’re not serious, Edwy Plenel.”
April 17, 2018 2:30 PM PDT
While waiting to pick a friend’s child at her grammar school, a link to this Vanity Fair interview/essay on Macron showed up in my e mail notifications:
Headline : “I Appreciate the Forthright Conversations”: Emmanuel Macron Opens Up About Iran and His New Pal in the West Wing
Sub-headline: On the eve of his first state visit to the U.S., France’s culturally attuned president elaborates on his vision for the republic, his global trepidations, and his “very personal relationship” with Donald Trump.
Its the Vanity Fair star treatment, usually reserved for celebrated actors, celebrities , not to speak of dead Hollywood Stars, and tales of the Jet-Setters now forgotten, and that old stand-by, The Rancid Scandals of the Past and Present. The long forgotten, except for the editors of this magazine, awash in glossy pictures of those haute monde personalities, living and dead, and points in between. All of this garnished with ads for Designer Clothes and foot ware, cosmetics and perfumes. Its hard not to get the ‘cultural bends’ thumbing through this glossy trash, that is immediately bound for the re-cycle bin!
The How of the Macron interview:
It was precisely that kind of cultural curiosity that led him to attend last summer’s Rencontres d’Arles, the annual photo festival in the South of France, where he made a point to take in an exhibition featuring the work of Vanity Fair’s principal photographer, Annie Leibovitz. An image-conscious politician as well as an art-lover, Macron was impressed. He later invited Leibovitz to meet with him at the Élysée and, then, to follow him as he went about his workday and ventured forth on one of his cultural sojourns: to the Mediterranean port city of Sète, where he spent time with Pierre Soulages, the 98-year-old painter and sculptor known for his black-on-black canvases.
M. Macron is a canny self-publicist, and Vanity Fair is the kind of highfalutin publication he chose as his American propaganda beachhead. After all, in the Anglophone World The Financial Times is the E newspaper that publishes a veritable barrage of Macron propaganda!
A collection of quotations from this long essay with my commentary follow: Tom Sancton opens his pallid melodrama.
Though the president was facing the prospect of crippling protest strikes the following week and preparing to meet with German chancellor Angela Merkel the next day, the thing that was uppermost on his mind that evening was not domestic unrest or geopolitics—but culture. Speaking freely in fluent, lightly accented English, he told me how he came by this passion—his “obsession,” as he puts it—and how it shapes him as a leader.
“Culture was part of my personal education,” he began, “and I would say it’s directly linked to my policy, and it’s part of my emancipation. I was born in Amiens, in the north of France. My parents were doctors at the hospital. And my grandmother had a very important role to me. Through books first, and paintings afterwards, and music—I played piano during many years—music was the best way to escape my day-to-day life. . . . During a large part of my childhood, up to 16 or 18 years old, I have a lot of memories from my readings and music, probably as many as in real life. Some authors, like Stendhal, Gide, and music, obviously from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, from my personal point of view, it’s my very personal secret garden.”
Now, as president, he says culture is “part of an emancipation project for this country. Because [with culture] you manage to provide feelings, emotions, which can break all the barriers between people, which can completely transform their life, and emancipate them.” What he means by “emancipation” is that he sees some sectors of French society—the poorer immigrant neighborhoods, for example—as being cut off from the broader world of culture. He wants to bridge that divide, though some arts figures and intellectuals such as Alain Mabanckou have criticized him for espousing a kind of haughty colonialism that appropriates immigrant and minority art and subsumes it into a grand “French culture”—an outmoded notion, they argue, that is often elitist, white, and Paris-focused. Macron—who has appointed the French-Moroccan novelist Leïla Slimani to help shepherd his efforts to promote the French language abroad, particularly in Africa—disagrees. “For me culture is part of what you have to do here,” he says, “because you don’t just deal with technicalities. You deal with symbols. You try to speak to the country in depth—its history, its landscape, its future, its threats.”
As the-in-order-too of his Neo-Liberal Project, he will pass himself off as that rarest of political creatures, at least as some apologists for this nihilism have posited, a Progressive Neo-Liberal. Its like the Unicorn! Macron is the Anti-Hanns Johst
… I shoot with live ammunition! When I hear the word culture …, I release the safety on my Browning!”
Macron is a Free Marketeer, after the evisceration of The Welfare State, and its undeserving recipients, and the cover of Culture, with a capital ‘c’, is the unpersuasive white-wash of his authoritarian Corporatist politics.
More to come…
April 20, 2018
Here is my reply @Hamlet, that expresses much of what I thought to be the finish of my commentary on this Vanity Fair ‘profile’ , which I have posted as a stand alone comment: https://wp.me/p14oRe-g93
For you and the rest of the ‘Macron Coterie’ there is a ‘profile’ at Vanity Fair that reeks of the usual treatment accorded to Movie Stars, living and dead, and the scandals and successes of ‘High Society’ and ‘Royals’ : in sum, the staple of this glossy rag. With evocative, yet cliche ridden photographs, by their ‘star’ photographer Ms. Leibovitz.
But his comments on Trump are … :
Macron returns to the subject of his state visit and his “very personal relationship” with Trump. “We have developed a good level of trust and respect,” he notes. “We talk on the phone on a regular basis.” During Trump’s visit to Paris last year, the leaders discussed “challenging issues such as trade and climate change. Donald Trump made very clear that his priority was to fulfill the promise he had made to the people who elected him. I respect that. I do the same in France. However, we have no ‘Planet B,’ and I want to maintain the highest level of global mobilization on this crucial issue of climate change. That was the purpose of the One Planet Summit in Paris last December, in which plenty of Americans participated.
“I appreciate the forthright conversations I have with President Trump as they help us understand each other,” he continues. “Whether it be on the Iran deal or on trade, I believe we can actually reach a common ground. Both France and the United States want to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb and wish to put an end to distorting trade practices. . . . These talks take place in the context of the unique and long-lasting alliance between our two countries. This strong bilateral bond is key: France is the United States’ oldest ally. We will always stand side by side.”
Macron professes to be especially gratified by the invitation to address a joint session of Congress, a rare honor for a foreign leader. But he also confides that he was a little disappointed that the constraints of a Washington-centered visit would prevent him from having direct contact with what he calls “the real America.”
“Obviously I will not have time to make my Easy Rider trip to get in depth into the U.S. I love this road movie [genre], by the way, in literature or in cinema, where you go inside the country.”
Does this express the propinquity between two authoritarian personalities ? Or just M. Macron’s confidence that he can charm this political monster, created by the utter collapse of America’s political romance with Neo-Liberalism. Not to speak of a bankrupt political class.