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by François Tallandier

Sarkozy and me.

Translated Friday 21 September 2007, by Gene Zbikowski

Well now, I think I’ve discovered something about the new Presidential style which is so intriguing the French nation.

Well now, I think I’ve discovered something about the new Presidential style which is so intriguing the French nation, before it begins to bug us (which, in my opinion, will happen soon). I mean the style that is continually telling us: Look, I’m indefatigable, ultra efficient, always on the front line, I’m a fighter, a concentrate of active energy, a hyper-manager made of tempered steel. But hey, this style is nothing new, it might even be as stale as old beer — it’s the style of the modern company, where they talk only of excellence, efficiency, competitiveness, and even, when they’re feeling artsy-fartsy, “hi-speed hyper-reactivity” (I kid you not, the expression exists!). It’s that lyrical and cynical spiel that says: Adapt yourself, get moving, do a little more today than you did yesterday! It’s the slogan in whose name the business executive, stressed out by obsessing about obtaining results, trembles with anxiety instead of sleeping, when he isn’t gulping down anxiolytics or amphetamines. It’s the slogan in whose name he produces his depression, and, from time to time, his suicide. It’s the slogan that has been forced upon entire peoples, who henceforth are judged guilty if they balk at the imperative of building capitalist globalization upon the rubble of the welfare state. It’s a style that tries to tell us that we must not only submit, but must also be happy doing it. Not only must we suffer, but we must also proclaim that we love to suffer. It’s the hackneyed spiel of a capitalist system which, having until now only sucked out the workers’ labor power, now wants, in its final stage, to suck out their souls.

It’s the spiel that says to the worker: “you cost too much;” to the teacher: “you’ve got to teach a subject outside your academic discipline plus supervise the playground;” to the subcontractor: “slash your prices, otherwise you’re not getting any more orders.” It’s the spiel that pits the European worker against the Asian worker, the Breton fisherman against the Korean fisherman, and the American retiree against the worker who just got laid off to boost the pension fund.

“Up to this point,” you tell me, “You haven’t said anything very surprising, I too have noticed that the President of France likes to act as if he were the manager of a supermarket, obsessed over making his target to the point of choking.” Yes, but what I wanted to add, the tiny remark I wanted to make, is this: this is not the way the people’s elected leader is supposed to talk. It’s a spiel about joyful submission. Basically, it’s just a modernized form of the infamous and eternal spiel about voluntary servitude.

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