Clermont, how can a country which is known for its overbearing moralizing concerning all other nations have a bunch of homegrown neo-fascists right in its own backyard? Should it not remove the plonk from its own eye before worrying about the toothpick in the other?”
by clermont ferrand
The following is submitted by our Special European Correspondante, Clermont Ferrand. Mosieur Ferrand is a philosopher, painter, poet and lead singer/founder of the famous rock band Les Sans Culottes. http://www.lessansculottes.com His report comes to us in response to the current electoral events in his native France. This piece was translated from La Boite de Fumee by Cal D’Hommage.
Many Americains have been a trifle non-plussed by the recent run-off election in France. They say things to me like, “Clermont, how can a country which is known for its overbearing moralizing concerning all other nations have a bunch of homegrown neo-fascists right in its own backyard? Should it not remove the plonk from its own eye before worrying about the toothpick in the other? ” Leaving aside the gratuitous insult, I must say that it is difficult from peoples of the Etats Unis to understand our system of election. For one thing, if there is a tie vote between the two candidates, unlike in the Etats Unis, our High Court does not choose the winner based upon their own political preference. Instead, the two rivals are made to rule the country as collaborators, which has been a longstanding way of operation in France.
Moreover, while there are some nominal differences in the social and economic views of the thousands of competing parties, the most important part of any party’s platform is their view of fashion “la mode” do’s and dont’s (faux pas).
This tradition dates back to the political party in France which was called the Sans Culottes, precisely because their political platform called for the non-controversial practice of Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, but specifically disallowed the wearing of culottes, by men, and particularly in the evening. Less well known is their abhorrence of blue and brown ensembles, plaid, and pointed shoes, and their preference for earth tones, the so-called “peasant look,” and the red Phyrgian Cap with cockade.
And it is true that a very important part of the xenophobic, ultranationalist National Front’s platform, as reported in the NY Times , is to “outlaw the wearing of yarmulkes and Muslim headscarves in schools,” since a fashion statement is de rigeur for all the parties. While M. Le Pen (tr: “rabbit”) has refused to be hemmed in regarding the wearing of sombreros or the Fez-syle chapeau, it is known that he is in favor of the beret and kepi, the famous french baseball cap sported by Charles De Gaulle and the foreign legion. This has called some political theorists to label the party the “sans chapeaus” or “men without hats,” but that title is better applied to the National Front splinter group lead by M. Magret, the National Derriere, which is against the wearing of all hats by all persons at all times, except in the case of rape.
And so it is that the Greens are the party of pleather, as well as fabrics that breathe, and the Socialists, sometimes called the “fashionistas” are the greatest advocates of paisley and suede. The moderate right Christian Democrat Banana Republicans favor a khaki and polo casual Friday approach to couture but also endorese the traditional poodle skirt. It is these fashion platfroms that inspire the most heated debate among the french electorate since, at the end of the day, the economic and social views of the parties are similar and quite boring.
Clermont Ferrand aka/Bill Carney is a founding member and contributing editor to the late, lamented Lurch Magazine. He is also the leader of not one but two renowned New York City bands: Les Sans Culottes and Bill Carney’s Jug Addicts. In addition to his many literary and musical endeavors, he maintains membership in several secret societies and is a master when it comes to cooking with curry. More from Bill Carney can be found in the Vault of Smoke.