Thursday, January 29, 2009

Une grève, sans l'ironie

So the French got all worked up today about mass transportation strikes. Turned out to be much-a-do about nothing. I got around fine on the metro all day.

While many took to the streets to protest the Sarkozy administration, it occurred to me that in the United States, a true left does not exist. In France, the socialist and anti-capitalist parties actually have traction. Last night, myself and a group of students got to watch the French TV show Ce Soir ou Jamais (Tonight or Never) live from the France3 studios. The show consisted of 4 French pseudo-intellectuals debating the merits of capitalism for 45 minutes. One of the goateed and tweeded gentlemen actually said the main problem facing France today was capitalism (most assuredly not unresolved racial problems, an aging population, and the 35 hour work week).

So many, fearing for their job security as Sarkozy attempts to unbind the hands of employers, decided to not work to protest the fact that one day they may not be able to work. I don't see why they are afraid of unemployment in France since the unemployed get discounted movie tickets (seriously, they do). But despite their best efforts the strike wasn't a big success and hopefully Sarkozy can continue to bring his economic reforms along.

To an outsider like myself, it all seemed a bit absurb, but it did afford me a free day to explore Paris. Took a morning run through the 15th and 16th arrondisements up along the Seine and spent the afternoon in Odéon, seeing Vicky Cristina Barcelona in the afternoon. An amusing and inquisitive film following the tortured romantic lives of many beautiful people (Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz, and Rebecca Hall). Hard not to enjoy watching the three of them on screen. Had a pint or two of Guinness before heading home for dinner.

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