Saturday, June 10, 2006

Vanity Fair

So, I did the touristy thing today and went for dinner at McDonalds. In my defense, there's nothing open on a Saturday evening in France aside from McDonalds and bars and I wanted food. I actually like McDonalds food, for the most part, but usually I believe that you should eat all of the things you can't get at home when you're away from home. Anyway, I pulled off ordering pretty well. Something like "Une menu big mac, avec frites et une coca, s'il vous plait. Pour ici." So, I was proud of that. Incidentally, did you know that they don't call it a quarter pounder in France? (I know. I'm lame.)

Anyway, then I went and saw an outdoor fair set up by Les Ecosslies. You've heard of the French farmers who protested at McDonalds? These are pretty much the same people, so I ditched my McDonalds cup. Anyway, I walked around and listened to speeches by various people. I understand a lot more French now, and could follow the speeches pretty well. It doesn't hurt that people who make speeches at these things tend to get really slow for dramatic effect. Anyway, there were about forty different tents there, of all sorts of different groups. A lot of art and music stuff too. There was an outdoor music festival called "en plein arts"- I got the pun.

What I was surprised by was how dull it was. The political groups were dull- wanting nothing much more radical than "responsible shopping" really. The artists were dull- it was that sort of "political art" that consists of taking a photograph of a mother in Venezuela and selling it for 200 euros. There wasn't any anti-American or anti-Israel stuff or angry ranters. It was just a lot of bored looking people selling handmade necklaces and jelly and books on responsible shopping. I mean, Les Ecossolies are fine with me- if people want an "economie sociale et solidaire", then so be it. But, isn't that where half the planet is going anyway? Capitalism lite to go with the American turbo-capitalism? Either McDonalds or the "eco-friendly" "cooperative farmed" "all-natural" more self-righteous version of McDonalds? How about precious things that aren't for sale at all? Is that impossible?

Here's the thing- if you're proposing a whole new world, then I'm willing to listen, but offer me more freedom. Don't offer me the same old shit with more "responsible" labels. I want to hear ideas that I have to wrap my head around- argue that I should accept polyamory, or telepathy, or vision quests, or drug abuse. I might not buy it, but at least it's something different to think about. I want difference. I don't want more rules to try to live by. I want freedom.


misneach said...

You're so lucky, I'd love to be in Paris again. Be sure to check out the little markets where wine sellers have stalls set up most days, you can get brilliant stuff for next to nothing (and tastings are free!).

Rufus said...

I'm really looking forward to Paris. Nantes is probably more relaxing, but there's less to do here.