France. Remember 2002? "Hold your nose and vote for Chirac"? Remember that? Well Sarkozy is what the socialists, the left, didn't want you to smell.
2007. And everyone on the left, almost everyone, wants everybody, almost everybody, this time around, this round, to breathe deeply and get the scent of the woman, Segolene Royal. The beautiful Segolene Royal. The passionate, compassionate, empathic, humanitarian Segolene, formerly of the compassionate, empathic, humanitarian, royal house of Mitterand. Bread and Roses, Baguettes and Royals.
France between a crock and and a soft spot. Cherchez la femme.
Sarkozy wants to exorcise May '68? So he states. He looks to history and imagines himself another the De Gaulle? Pompidou? No, he looks to history and goes west. Nixon? Agnew? Kissinger. He is, at best, the poor imitation of this poor imitation of Metternich. The rich man's poor man. To bring the revolution to an end even if it has never really begun.
Anti-68? But '68 died long before its precursors. Anti-92, Anti-48, Anti-71, Sarkozy's demons are older than Cohn-Bendit. The Jacobins, Cordeliers, the Committee of Public Safety, Robespierre, Couthon, Saint-Just (the revolution's archangel of death), the Commune, these things fill the bourgeoisie with shame and remorse. How could we have allowed that to happen?
And Royal? Lip service. Beautiful the lips are, but that's part of the spectacle. Kill '68? Better to preserve it, to make it entertaining. Here the bourgeoisie flirt with Segolene. "Is there a chance to make money off the film version? Can we co-brand?"
Nice. City of the Medecins, that offspring of Medici, Vesco, and Boss Crump. Election, embezzlement, and extradition; the political man in full, mayor for the times. Five hundred years ago ... pope.
Porte to the Riviera. Ellis Island to the rich, famous, indebted, infamous, anonymous, alias.
Greatest light in the world. If god ever existed, he/she/it was an Impressionist.
Interruption, Paris: L'Orangerie has reopened. Monet's Les Nympheas, his gift to France, given its proper display, a homage to the homage. Walking into the curved rooms, with the paintings along the walls, jaws drop, eyes pop; the Japanese, particularly the Japanese, stagger under the visual impact, disoriented by something that looks so close to, and so far away from home.
Water lilies. The fusion of light and color; of light in color, and vice versa. The final realization of the Impressionist project: shape, form, substance are moments in the movement, travel, shape, the whispering of light.
Einstein had the speed of light as absolute in the universe. Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, the Impressionists, precursors to Einstein were more emphatic. Remove the quality, the characteristic, the modifier. Light is absolute in the universe.
Nice. City of the Promenade, the Baie of Anges, the Acropolis, Mt. Boron, the Cours Saleya, Chagall, Matisse, Rue Beethoven, Rue Stalingrad. And the Hotel Negresco, done up in Easter egg colors, painted from/for the cover of one in the series Les Aventures de Tintin, architecture by Faberge. Said the hoteliers, 'Build a little Kremlin for them, the Romanovs, something to remind them of home when they make this their winter place. Give us the egg, encrusted with copper and shingles. Build it and they will come."
And they come. Russians. They're all white Russians now. Fingers, wrists, necks wrapped in gold and stones.
Brits. The Brits live here. This is their Spa Gibraltar.
Scandinavians. So tall and pale of eye, they might be mistaken for Germans if they weren't so trim. So modest.
Chinese. In groups, umbrellas and digital cameras battling each other for enough sun to shade, enough light to photograph.
Italians. On the prowl for the next great meal.
Nice. Give us your wealthy, your jaded, your bored, your tour groups, your big jowled big walleted beer drinkers; your newly rich, about to be indicted; your living breathing representatives of your progress and your poverty-- the progress of your poverty. We have room for more, we have room for all. Room for the Kosovars, the Serbs, the Croatians, Bosnians, Israelis, Saudis, Egyptians, Colombians, Venezuelans.
What joys await the 1/10 of 1/10 of 1 percent of Cubans once Castro goes and they give up those notions of social-isms.
Nice. Where the cannon sounds at noon to remind you, to remind all, there is a reason for waking up in the morning, and that reason is.....lunch.