Feedin' the Meme

Monday, November 07, 2005
Associated Press reporter Angela Doland in Yahoo News reports on ongoing and spreading violence in France, and appears to offer one candidate for root cause, the dreaded Nicolas Sarkozy, affectionately known as Sarko:

In Colombes in suburban Paris, youths pelted a bus with rocks, sending a 13-month-old child to the hospital with a head injury, Hamon said, while a daycare center was burned in Saint-Maurice, another Paris suburb.

Much of the youths' anger has focused on law-and-order Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, whose reference to the troublemakers as "scum" appeared to inflame passions.

No doubt the reporter interviewed the "youths" who injured the 13-month-old child, to determine that it was Sarko's harsh language, referring to the rioters as "scum," which sent the rock in the 13-month-old's direction.

If anyone had asked me to characterize the type of "youth" who would cause a head injury in an infant, or set fire to a daycare center, I might very well have chosen "scum."

As I wrote two days ago, Sarco's words (perhaps he now regrets them) have taken on a totemic significance. But it is getting more and more difficult to see how these "youths" do not deserve Sarko's epithet.

Update: Although Sarko's epithet has usually been translated as scum, the term he used, racaille, might better be rendered rabble. Bostonian, writing at Roger L. Simon, made me aware of background to the racaille story: Evidently, M. Sarkozy was echoing the term used by a woman questioning him during a TV interview, and she herself, fed up with the violence, used the term racaille. This part was edited out. One hates to think the French mainstream media were deliberately putting Sarko in a bad light.


Knucklehead said...


The truth hurts. How it happened to hurt a 13 month old child is anybody's guess, but clearly it hurts. And Sarko needs punishing for inflicting this pain.

chuck said...

Much of the youths' anger has focused on law-and-order Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy,

The rioters burn cars and stone firemen, and this is just because of Sarko using a bad word? Angela is an idiot and a reporter. But I repeat myself.

terrye said...

What would Angela call them? Oh yes, youths....

poor misguided youths.

Jamie Irons said...

Knowing so little about the French and about France, I hesitate to predict anything, but it seems to me poor Sarkozy may end up being the beneficiary of a French version of

Bush lied, people died.

Perhaps something along the lines of

Sarko's racaille, monde en bataille.

gumshoe1 said...

it may be time to
get a copy of Rene Girard's
"Scapegoat" and read it fairly closely.

truepeers said...

Funny you should mention that gumshoe. I will be posting an essay here tonight that mentions Girard.

Peter UK said...

Whatever the causes are in france this lot in Australia are definitely muslims,

Peter UK said...

An update from the Telegraph

David Thomson said...

“Knowing so little about the French and about France, I hesitate to predict anything...”

In that case, allow me to be so bold. I predict that France is royally screwed. The situation is out of control. The Islamic crazies have taken over the institution and are giving the indigenous French their eviction notices. Many will move to the United States and Canada.