by Agnes a Paris
Wed Apr 26th, 2006 at 06:56:38 AM EST
I thought this would be good material for Jérôme to deconstruct, and am only quoting the most interesting bites of this Time Magazine article, written by their Paris correspondent PETER GUMBEL.
This is the best description of the French pysche ever made since Theodor Zeldin's books.
France is spectacularly good at saying non. Naysayers are often fêted in heroic, Joan-of-Arc terms; when the student demonstrations exploded in March, Paris Match ran a thrilling cover photo of two young people locked in a dance-floor embrace in front of a cordon of riot police.
But behind the scenes, more quietly and with no discernible romance, France can and does also say oui.
For every rock-throwing protester posing for TV cameras outside the Sorbonne, there is a polished technocrat in an anonymous office patiently pushing the modernization envelope.
The changes those technocrats can institute are limited, less sweeping in scope and slower to take effect than grandiose political programs, but they're often more effective. They underline the truth that France is a prosperous nation whose public services are often superb and whose private companies are frequently world-beaters. And they undermine the international cliché -- a cliché the French themselves like to propagate -- that France is impossible to change.
This is groundbreaking news. Technocrats are good ! It is known abroad that France is not totally immune to change and even, yes, France may be capable of modernity !