All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Facebook, Bin Laden ....and 'outrage'.

Facebook logoImage via Wikipedia
I 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 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 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 '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 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 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.
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  1. Whoops! Was that me?

    Blame it on a loose nut on the keyboard!

    All the best


  2. Keith, yes it was....and most enlightening it proved to be!

  3. So much for freedom of speech! how do they get away with it?!! Gobsmacked!!

  4. HAHA, Keith, you should be quaking in your shoes cos the Wrath of Fly has been roused!!

    By the way, I'll post here rather than on my blog where sensitive souls sometimes lurk... I was at my son's school this evening for a meeting. Everyone behaved themselves... lol.. and the woman I'd called a Hatchfaced Battleaxe cos she was so rude came up to me afterwards, asked me if I was me and gave me a sophrology business card (not hers presumably, it was a tad mangled) and said I probably needed it.

    It said 'let sophorology help you find your place in the world". HAHA, she must have been brooding all week knowing I'd be at the meeting, and prepared the card. I said thank you, peered at it unseeingly (without my glasses) and posted it on a car wipers on my way home.

    How kind of her to think of me and worry so... Priceless.

  5. Oh so accurate...... I often see many things written on FB by ex-patriot English.... also some wonderful inaccurate blogs on French life (yours excepted) that make me cringe... - I can't stand croissants either!!!

  6. Wow, Fly! I hate to say but some of these things exist across the pond and close to the equator as well, although the parties involved may back down when challenged, unlike their Gallic counterparts.

  7. e, sure they do....but what gets my goat is the 'living the dreamers' who refuse even to look at the reality of life in France..or anywhere else they have chosen to settle.....preferring to perpetuate other peoples' myths.

    Trisha, where do these people live, I ask myself! How you can drivel on about blasted croissants when your taxe fonciere is about to go through the roof (whoops) beats me.

    Sarah....don't kill the messenger, please...we need Keith! He brings all sorts of blogs to light and it was just my bad luck that I hit a stream of sweetness and light about France.

    It wouldn't have been beyond me to stop reading them, either, but by then I was hooked!

    A hoot, that Battleaxe!
    You're quite safe posting here...anyone sensitive left long ago.

    Roz, and you would be horrified to know how many (French) people thought it right and proper that he should be jugged.

    The French seem to have a distinctly odd stance on privacy and freedom.

  8. It was ever thus! I think that Facebook is just another medium for the same old views and prejudices to be aired. I am not sure who we should pity more. Those that do the writing or those that do the reading!

  9. cheshire wife, I've never managed to get to grips with Facebook...and learning that I could be arrested if I do doesn't encourage me to have another go!

  10. As regards me... It was just a cock-up with a plugin that I'd installed to help me manage the 700+ feeds that I follow.

    I didn't know that it would take my WordPress links and turn them into posts but.....

    Then again, I didn't actually know that I had any WordPress links to start with!

    I will repeat (10,000 times) - "I must read the small print before I dick around!"

    Keeping my hands off things for a while (believe that and you'll believe anything!)

    Night nights to everyone

    All the best


    P.S. That Facebook is very, very dangerous! I could tell you a story or two...

  11. Keith, I always imagine that controlling all those blogs must be like playing the Mighty Wurlitzer....only virtually.

    I thought of moving to Wordpress, but it uses words which mean nothing to me whatsoever which I need to understand before doing anything drastic, like signing on.

    Getting a background put me up some sort of cul de sac from which there was no return, so I have put it aside for a rainy day when I have nothing else to do other than tear out my hair.

    Thanks for all you do to introduce new blogs about France....there's plenty I enjoy which I wouldn't have known about without your blog.

  12. "The French seem to have a distinctly odd stance on privacy and freedom."

    Not odd at all. Privacy and freedom for oneself to air views, but not for those who disagree. Unless it's over a glass or two of Pastis at the bar, that is. Then it's sport.

  13. See, all he had to do was send the guy some virtual roses or a virtual teddy via a handy Facebook app and he would probably have been forgiven.

    Either than or arrested for bribery.

  14. Another Day of Crazy, yes, I agree that's that's the way it is...but to think it right that someone should be jugged for airing his views on Facebook....!

    Steve, virtual bribery! You have a big future in France!

  15. Yikes, wish I'd have read your blog before posting a link to my blog on Facebook - though the local gendarmes got off so easy, I doubt they'd be that bothered. I'll never walk by a gendarmerie again without picturing everyone gathered around a computer screen.

  16. Amy, breathe again, most of them don't read English...and probably Google translate has been blanked off on all French official computers by the Academie Francaise!

  17. 'Pavlovian bitch that I am' - hahaha, love it.

    Oh Fly, once you leave this 'paradise' all the remaining French blogs will be about the good things, not the real mess behind it all. You opened my eyes to it all - and made me glad that it had been a mystery to me during my days in the 'beautiful prison' in Brittany.

  18. French Fancy, Most things look all right on the surface until you poke about with a stick and see what comes up from the depths.

    I was put wise to what France was about by the first friends I made there....otherwise it might have taken me rather longer to realise that you can't reconcile the image of France with the reality.

    You're right, if you want to enjoy not to know!

    But the experience will stand me in good stead....

  19. Hello Fly,

    I read your comment over at FF's blog. Sorry that I late on the scene (again)...sounds intriguing....bon chance! I hope I get to hear more! ;)

    As for France...due to an "experience" I had once/twice in Spain my eyes were opened to the real sides of countries. Although admittedly it would be nice if everything was lovey dovey (everywhere) but I'm too much of a realist...that just don't exist!...Perhaps it does? Does one need a certain income level? But then Michael Caine said (I think it was him)...God invented boredom for the rich (as a kind of a revenge)!

    I liked his remark!!! :)

  20. Hadriana's Treasures, well I'm glad the rich have a plague invented specially for them!

    Nowhere is a paradise...there's always the worm in the bud....but I think it all depends on whether that particular worm is one that affects you.

    Send me an e mail....I know you had to change yours and I can't get the 'new' one to work...and all will be revealed!

  21. Fly I love it when you get on a roll! If I actually owned anything here, or had a job (which I can't have because I'd be taking a job away from a French person (who really doesn't give a rat's ass about actually working) or was ANYWHERE on the radar, I think I'd go out of my flippin' mind. As it is, I get to enjoy the good stuff and spit out the rest. Okay, there are times... but this worm doesn't affect me in the same way it does so many others. And I fully intend to keep it that way. I'm keeping my head down!

  22. Delana...constitutionally incapable of keeping head below the parapet, that's me.
    Thus the dents.
    Lots of great things about living in France...if you know you can walk away from it.

  23. I'd stay away from Facebook Fly - you won't last; I know I wouldn't either. Last time I managed about a day and then tried to delete my account - took me three bloody weeks.

  24. Mark, I'll take your advice...I've looked at it a couple of times...and it's looked at me...and that's been it.
    I don't like its basilisk eye.

  25. The French justice system leaves a lot to be desired. I have been battling with it on two separate occasions over the past ten years. My last case is still going through 5 years later.

    Criminal justice here I understand is just as bad. I think a lot of problems stem from their ancient laws which the majority of time have not been adapted, and when they are adapted no-one can actually interpret the adaptations.

    I spent a long time wondering whether to embark on a French law degree and decided that I couldn't possibly as I didn't agree with the countries basic fundamentals.

    Your post was a good read which I thoroughly enjoyed apart from the nasty parts about horrible things happening. It has given me comfort in that I'm actually normal as I often wonder what on earth is wrong with me (and my blog for that matter) as I just cannot see France with rosy tints?

    Thanks Fly!

    Sarah: as for the battleaxe giving you a card for a Sophrologue, well!!! What type of business card could you give her? Maybe a sexologue pour la decoincer a bit? She sounds the type of person that would shrivel up and disappear into the ground! mmm, will have to give this one some thought Or maybe you can just say to her something like Why are you talking to me? Why are you invading my personal space? Cow!

    Sorry Fly for my outburst!

  26. Living the dream... Pah! You already know how I feel about that nonsense. Osama is going to be far to busy trying to enforce a Fatwa on me when he reads my next post (due tomorrow) to bother with Paris! Don't you just love the mentality of the Metro drivers. I can just imagine Al Quaeda sitting round saying 'oh, there are no trains. Let's not bother to bomb them then'

  27. P(V)LiF, waiting with bated breath for the post...
    Just as long as Al Quaeda don't put anything derogatory on Facebook

  28. Fly, my view is that the fluffy croissants and glowing tomato tales are useful on those days when we are tearing out our hair over increasing legislation, bureaucratic bungles, broken promises, dismal weather and the sinking pound. They remind us of why we first came here, in those far away days before the net curtains with cute little kittens on them were drawn aside to reveal the reality. I still love it, despite the downside, but from the number of disillusioned Brits leaving, I do wonder if they would have been wise to read your blog as well as those of folk seeing la vie exclusively en rose, which is what many of them seemed to believe in.

  29. nodamnblog, lots of things to enjoy, of course...the seasonal round is one I'll miss, for example. Drying the tomatoes in the car...!
    But there are plenty of people writing, and writing well, about that.

    I feel so strongly that a lot of people have been misled by the 'Pippa passes' style of books, T.V. shows and blogs about France into thinking that their winter of discontent in the U.K. would be made glorious summer by the simple act of crossing the Channel.

    And I don't blame them for not doing their homework...the image presented to them is so one sided that it is not at all apparent that another side exists.
    They imagine the difficulties will be of the same nature as those they encounter in the U.K......which is just not the case.
    Neither are they responsible for the economic catastrophe caused by governments' unwillingness to control banks.
    Most of them did their financial homework and their calculations would have carried them through without this shock.
    I am sick at heart to see families in troubles not of their own making, while the shysters of the expat communities turn their backs and wait for the next victim to fall into their hands.
    And as for the post which describes the disgraceful maltreatment of an old hunting dog with complaisance....just how much self deceit can one produce in order not to to criticise one iota of life as it is in France?