The polyglot chic, the swagger and the noise – the Paris I love will come back
'incidentally, it is worth pointing out that the 11th arrondissement is increasingly known as “bobo-land” (for bourgeois-bohème), where the young and fortunate live in shabby-chic smugness'
Much as I respect his writing, this is hardly incidental. Au contraire. If it is not the heart of the matter either, it is the flaw in the heart of a myth about Paris that is specific to Paris, even if gentrification is not, and that myth implies an exclusion, a system of exclusions that, in their own weird and horrible way Daesh recognise in their statement characterising their attack as one on a centre of 'debauchery'. Daesh and Jeffries are equally deluded by the myth, the 'swagger', the cigarette 'on the lower lip'. This is why the suburbs and their brutal treatment by the state remains at the heart of the matter, and it seems that neither Jeffiries nor Daesh want to make an issue of this, in effect.
If the Bataclan is a 'popular' culture, then the life of the suburbs can never become that, if films like Amélie and all the recent trash on Piaf continue to be churned out, then the fundamental African-ness of contemporary cultural energies as the substance of what 'French' means will continue to be repressed. La Haine will turn out to have been a better film than ever we imagined, and Kechiche the prophet of a bobo imaginaire of playful shepherds and shepherdesses of multi-cultural bliss (l'Esquive).
I spent up to a half of each year in the onzième between 1983 and 2006, and at no point did I notice a growing inclusiveness, either of outsiders(the poor, the 'racaille' of the suburbs, as Sarkozy called them) or even of the older people who lived there, rather the replacement of one myth of the popular by another in radical distinction from the development of forms of life and living.
Anyway on the train returning from Paris this weekend I read a book by the French leftist fiction writer Didier Daeninckx 'Corvée de bois' (2002) which is the first person narrative of a Sorbonne student who ends up in the army fighting the war in Algeria. DD brilliantly reconstructs the mind and physical energies of a mass killer of the Algerian villagers and torturer of the NLF, who becomes an apparatchik of the repression of dissent in France, and let me tell you, nice readers of this page, that if Daesh have a role model in this horrible massacre, you need look no further than the French colonial army, the swagger of it, the cigarette on the lower lip -- only now one arrests women wearing the hijab, even 'nice people' call the 'letterboxes', or one mows down those who don't.
Alas the episode is not yet finished.
look at these please,