Image via WikipediaI gave myself a bit of a shock, recently.
A blog I follow seemed to be in overdrive...every few minutes it would spit out references to other blogs and, Pavlovian bitch that I am, I looked at them and others on their blogrolls.
I have thus subjected myself to a photograph of a couple of roses wallowing in a vase, gushings about French breakfasts, French bloody markets, French sodding croissants, and while I'm on the subject, gathered from other unwise clickings of the mouse, a complaisant apologia for the appalling neglect of French hunting dogs and any number of other horrors, all masquerading under the heading of French life and culture.
For goodness' sake, get your nose out of the pain brioche and smell the acrid Robusta coffee!
There's a whole other France out there beyond the net curtains that only stretch half way down the window.
Just look at the national response to Bin Laden's latest....no sooner do British and American governments tell their citizens not to go to France because someone will blow them up in the Paris metro than the train drivers announce that they are going on strike.
No trains, no terrorist attempts. French logic in action.
Good job France has alert, public spirited strikers, because I don't think the gendarmerie have the time to hunt down terrorists, anymore than they have the time to hunt down French born 'travelling people', burglars or anyone causing real problems for French citizens.
They are not likely to be under attack themselves, after all, locked into their stations as they are and guarded by a recorded message on the answerphone at the gate which states that they are not available while they peer at you through the net curtains that hide their activities from the public who pay them.
And with 'vigipirate' in effect as well, they will even have crash barriers outside the entrance so that you have to get out of your car some distance away and walk through the rain to get the thumbs down from the answerphone, while they peer at you etc.....
What are they doing in there?
They're looking at Facebook.
It has occurred to them that the modern French have become degenerate.
Instead of giving the gendarme a mouthful, face to kepi as it were, when given a ticket for speeding at 31 kilometres in a 30 kilometre zone, the new breed of Frenchman holds his tongue, goes home, and expresses himself on Facebook, thinking thus to spew his bile without running the risk of an arrest for 'outrage'.
The new breed of Frenchman reckons without the new breed of IT savvy gendarmerie.....skills honed on years of playing solitaire on the station computer....
As a gentleman in Brittany found out when, having expressed his views fully and frankly on Facebook following an interview with the gendarmerie, he was hauled into court and given three years in the jug...for 'outrage'.
The gendarmerie had followed him on Facebook.
I don't suppose the gendarmerie thought this up themselves....it seems to me that the bit of the French population that is employed spends its' leisure hours on Facebook bitching about its' bosses, while the bosses spend their working hours inspecting Facebook for any unfavourable mention of themselves or their enterprises in order to sack the employees responsible.
I am eternally thankful that I could never fathom Facebook.
It would have had me locked up in the Chateau d'If years ago.
Still at least I haven't written a book.
If you want to laugh...and then look at your tax bill and cry...read 'Absolument de-bord-ee!', which describes the experience of a young woman working in the 'international relations' department of the Aquitaine Regional Council.
For 'international relations' read 'getting money from the European Union'.
She describes her working life....
Making the 'work' stretch out over the time available in which to perform it while maintaining an air of activity....
Licking the boots of the monkeys higher up the tree...
Learning one of the arts described so well by P.G. Wodehouse's Mr. Mulliner, that of being a 'nodder' to the bosses...
And being careful not to upset the hopeless and helpless family connections of prominent local figures who had been found jobs in this department to keep them off the breadline at public expense.
Unfortunately one of the monkeys could read....and she has been suspended on no pay for ten months.
Jobs for the boys is one of the great institutions in the land of liberty, fraternity and equality.
The big wheels have the liberty to use the fraternity of their mates to install their useless offspring on a footing of equality with those who had to work hard to qualify for the job.
I saw a television programme about this some time ago...when a presenter solemnly explained that these dumbos were ideally suited for the posts to which they were appointed, because they had grown up among important people and had thus absorbed...by osmosis?....the talents and experience necessary.
So that explains Prince Charles, then.
And Jean Sarkozy.
Still, let us give thanks for the striking train drivers in the fight against terrorism because the only chance the gendarmerie has of finding Bin Laden is if he falls into a road trap while being driven by one of his wives in full winding sheet...at which point she will be given a fine for not being in full control of the vehicle.
But as long as he keeps his mouth shut he will be all right...unless he expresses himself on Facebook later.