Some wine to drown your sorrows? (30/6/2021)

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Well, it is the day after that giant hangover. Defending World Cup champions France lost on penalties to Switzerland on Monday night, a shocker that no one saw coming. Certainly not this football (aka soccer) fan. The Group of Death was so deadly, everyone went home :((

The interesting thing about losing on a Monday is that it still felt like we were all in a 9pm curfew, watching the match at home rather than a bar. Of course a few hardy folks still went out to the local bar, but with the game finishing at midnight, surely we would have saved that night out for the quarter-finals?!

Ah well, time to pick another team to cheer for: Viva España or God save the Queen? (I am Canadian, so same Queen and all that 😉

The game might have been on Monday, but there was another hangover-inducing event on Sunday as well. As I mentioned last time, France was holding 2 rounds of regional and departmental elections this past two weekends.

In a surefire sign of democratic privilege, a full 65% of registered French voters didn’t show up. As usual the newspapers in France did their usual political handwringing about this dismal % of people who turned out to vote. (Let the record show I voted both times, and my Other Half even volunteered to count ballots.)

As the results rolled in on Sunday night, you couldn’t help but notice an interesting phenomenon: Just about every regional president was reelected, and incumbents held strong. And ultra-right wing Marine Le Pen had a poor showing, even by her own standards.

So for all the hue and cry about the abstention rate, I would argue complacency is the keyword here, rather than voter revolt. Too many elections too often, and not enough motivation to go vote:

  • 2 rounds of mayoral elections in 2020
  • 2 rounds of regional elections in 2021
  • 2 rounds of presidential elections in 2022.

Why bother going to the polls on a lazy Sunday afternoon? For that highly vaunted reputation of being a nation of complainers, for once the French are not complaining (that loudly).

Or perhaps they were just busy on Sunday, stocking up on wine for that Monday game? (Not really, grocery stores in France are usually closed on Sundays.)

In other news:

  • France held a socially distanced fête de la musique a few days ago. I’m not sure many Parisians succeeded on that “socially distanced” part.
  • The New Yorker wrote an article on the “French Taco”, which really is for people who can’t find Mexico on a map, because it doesn’t taste anything like a taco, it is more of a cross between a kebab and a quesadilla with fries inside. Now, I should be clear, it doesn’t taste bad, it just actually the name. The most annoying part about the “french taco”, is that in practical terms when you look at a menu in France, it doesn’t day French taco, it just says “taco”, which means you get briefly excited assuming that it is the real deal. I foresee a lot of cranky North American tourists in Paris next summer who don’t realize that this is something different. (Assuming travel to France is back on track next summer.)
  • French high school graduates wrote the end-of-school exams known as the BAC. It is basically the French version of American SAT, except it is multiple exams. The traditional start to the BAC is always the Philosophy exam. Now, in case you want to test yourself, here are the topics to choose from:
    • Subject 1 – Discussing, is it renouncing violence?
    • Subject 2 – Does the unconscious escape all form of knowledge?
    • Subject 3 – Are we responsible for the future?You have 4 hours to pick one of the topics and write a 10-15 page dissertation. Good luck.

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