There Is No Cat

A huge orangupoid, which no man can conquer

Friday, May 3, 2002

You know, his name is French for "the pen"

The Guardian has an excellent package on the elections this weekend in France, where the vast majority of voters will go to the polls and vote against an odious Fascist rather than for anyone. Julian Barnes sums up the situation:

No one marches for Chirac. The outgoing president...has been physically active but politically inert, his face an embarrassed rictus as he waits to be re-elected, knowing that the majority of those who will vote for him dislike and, in many cases, despise him. In Jarry's play, Ubu Roi, a single actor plays "The Entire Russian Army". Chirac has been onstage for two weeks wearing a sash reading "I Am The Republic". It is not much of a part.

Meanwhile, one of my favorite writers on the subject of Europe, particularly eastern Europe, Timothy Garton-Ash, looks for a way out of the growing xenophobia sweeping the continent:

I don't want to idealise it - and I can already foresee an e-bucketful of protesting emails - but I reckon London is the closest anywhere in Europe comes to a civilised way of living with the ethnic diversity that is Europe's future. Of course we should never be complacent, but London alone is one big reason why it's less likely to happen here. Analyse what works in London, and we might have Europe's best answer to Le Pen.

It will be an amazing weekend in France. Anything more than 20% of the vote for Le Pen will mean he has gained votes, and will be a gigantic rebuke to the political establishment, and an expression of something that is frankly appalling. Only a victory of near-Stalinist proportions would give Chirac the Superliar anything approaching legitimacy of his own.

Interestingly, The Guardian's package includes articles from their archives about previous historical moments in France, including reports of the roundup and deportation of Jews in 1942 and of the Dreyfus trial collapsing in 1906. It's a good thing some papers are covering this; I've seen next to nothing in the American papers about this hugely important story.

Posted at 9:14 PM

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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