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French weekly magazines review 10 June 2018

__ DR

Presidential betrayals, audiovisual reform and the question of public guilt dominate this week's front pages. And there's news of a deadly plague which follows in the wake of too much political correctness.


Weekly magazine Marianne looks at those it says have been screwed by President Emmanuel Macron. I hasten to add that both I, and Marianne, are speaking figuratively.

This article is not another lament for the poor, the unemployed, the toothless or the sinking middle classes. It is rather the tragic story of such august figures as French Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot, the presidential advisor on urban renewal, Jean-Louis Borloo, and one-time centrist ally François Bayrou.

Marianne says the way these three key figures have been humiliated, ignored and ousted from the centre of power is a symptom of Macron's irresistable drift to the right.

The magazine goes on to suggest that the fate of the three flagship personalities has shaken a number of MPs within the presidential majority out of their torpor. Thus several Macronists have proposed individual amendments or have been openly critical of government policy in the press. An attempt, perhaps, to revive the multi-polar centrist approach promised during the presidential campaign? Or a sign that Macron's marchers are not all heading in the same direction, at the same speed?

Nothing in the diary - apart from media reform

Satirical paper Le Canard Enchaîné looks back on this week's announcment by the French Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen of her plans to reform the radio and television sector.

"Farcial," a "non-event" are the polite terms used to qualify a series of proposals that had already been covered by the press, the minister having decided to leak her own broadcast reforms through the print media. So much for the form.

As for the content, Le Canard is equally unimpressed. Internet is the new Eldorado. We must all invest in the digital revolution, shift from the steam age of radio and TV and embrace the phone-based realities of podcasting, YouTubing, Googling, Twittering, Tweeting and Tindering. Grand.

But that's going to cost money?

Yes. Fifty million euros between now and 2022 according to the minister's own calculations. And the government won't be offering a bent centime. Save the money internally to finance the future is the order of the day.

Le Canard Enchaîné says that explains the basis of the reform at least: put everything on the net and save money.

Sadly, the minister herself has a way to go. On Monday, at midday, as she wielded her virtual axe before journalists who had already read it all on AFP, her ministerial website carried the message "Nothing in the diary for today".

Shades of Louis XVI, last king of France, whose diary entry for 14 July 1789, the day of the storming of the Bastille and the start of the French revolution, read simply "Nothing".

How long does public guilt last?

L'Obs asks if the French rock singer Bertrand Cantat should be allowed to go on singing.

It might sound like a stupid question, but Cantat is the man who was sentenced to eight years in jail for killing his partner, Marie Trintignant, in 2003.

Having served his time, he is now back on stage, touring France, facing protest and criticism. There are those who feel he should retire from music and those who believe he has the right to be forgiven.

L'Obs paints a picture of a dark, troubled, violent man. Perhaps himself the victim of the dark, troubled, violent times in which we live in which violence against women, for too long a family secret, is finally being given the prominence it deserves.

On the question of Cantat's right to sing, lawyer Marie Dosé says he has seen out his sentence and has the same rights as any former prisoner. Senator Laurence Rossignol, women's rights minister in the François Hollande government says that, given the nature of the crime, Cantat has a moral obligation to retire from professional life, that he cannot expect to be given public absolution.

The tour continues.

The tyranny of the indignant. What?

Le Point devotes its front cover to a modern plague that you might not have realised you were menaced by. We are, warns Le Point, living under the "Tyranny of the hypersensitive".

The philosopher Raphaël Enthoven says we are the victims of a regime of whingers, people who are so politically correct that they are afraid to say anything at all, and who scan the language of the rest of us for the significant lapses which betray us as racist, sexist, aggressive.

Communication with such people is difficult; humour is impossible, he argues. Because what you thought was a simple joke is actually a betrayal of your deepest prejudices.

Enthoven says the people he calls the "activists of indignation" are the real enemies of freedom of expression.

And you thought the problem was fake news?

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