Whenever you start screaming in France, shouting that this or that person is completely out of his mind, you’re wrong – at least, you may be wrong. That person might of course be an idiot, for sure, but where is it that one does not meet the odd idiot? What is the real issue? This French society and its state. Both deserve one another thoroughly, and both are painstakingly mad.
The French State is still suffering from its Sun King Complex, no revolution could change that. In the French language it is known as Complexe de Chef. Since that infamous end of the 18th century, about which Burke wrote so well, every Frenchman wants to be king, or for that matter a queen. This naturally turns this society into a nuthouse. “I am the Queen of France.” “No, Sir, it is I who am the Queen of France” et cetera. And out here, just you try participating in traffic…
Any Frenchman shits his pants when he meets a figure with power, whether it is a policeman in the street, an official in one of the many state offices or a politician. Watch French television – when confronting a politician interviewers become visibly horny; the politician then, obviously, is never really confronted.
This is an utterly formalistic and authoritarian society, and this fact spells the downfall of its economy in this, our Brave New World. Nobody here speaks anything but French – even if they think so themselves. Any decision here seems to be a French decision, so fuck the rest of the world. A bit Trump-like, perhaps. In postmodern capitalism, global and flexible as it is, there is no place for such syrupy French decision making and its daily social cowardice.
Someone having read my Shootist [some time ago in a series on this blog Sequences] may remember the globetrotting one is forced into, when merely trying to get some very simple information. Now, once again, I was treated like dirt. I would like to buy a piece of land of the community, a triangle of say at most 20 square meters. I am the only one in the small hamlet without a space to park my car…
Now before going any further, I must remind my reader that a Frenchman also gets horny when land is involved and discussed, the property of land that is. Or for that matter really mad.
To be sure what it is all about:
Madame le Maire, the mayor of the village, claims that this little yellow piece of land is part of the Chemin Rurale n. 8, which – so she also claims – not only encircles our little village, but at the same also makes a loop through it.
Now, it is already completely silly that this triangle is considered part of a little road inside the hamlet. It simply is off the road and never touched by the community workers, nor tarred like the little path itself is. Sillier it is to think that this little road – hardly to be seen on the hamlet’s map – is part of the ‘communal road no. 8’. At least the roadmap they use at the Mayor’s suggests differently.
Inside that blue circle is the hamlet of La Roche, with its little path; that inside path is not indicated with blue as is done with no. 8… “Sir, you disagree, go to the Service Cadastrale in Le Blanc!” is what the mayor said to me, which is what I did an hour ago.
Out there it took me half an hour to find the bloody building, which also houses the office which rakes in taxes and bills not paid in time. I never saw a functionary, but was kept prisoner at the desk by two women who printed out the exact same two maps I already had received in Ruffec, my village. And: “Sir, if you have comments, complaints or questions, go to the office of the Departement in Chateauroux.” Which is 70 km further on.
Nobody in this country dares to take decisions; there is always someone higher up with ‘The Responsibility’. Ask a shop-assistant something just outside his regular repertoire, and he stops servicing you and asks for his chef. Which, of course, in the case of state officials, makes the real top dog exercise true power, instead of wielding civil authority (thank you Max Weber).
The citizen, or someone like me who has been living here for the last 18 years, either lies low, or he enters a loony bin, or he goes berserk and then meets officials in another function… Or he decides to wage war. Anarchism, so French a political custom, can be explained from the above. It is contagious.
So, why am I still living here in this, Ma Douce France? Because of the gorgeous country side all around, in which there are living very, very few Frenchmen.