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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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* One exception: short stories.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Charlie still lives

Remember the massacred journalists with France's Charlie Hebdo? I bought the latest edition of the mag (Price €3) and the journos still living are as ribald as ever. Decoding the jokes can be, however, a real brain-cracker and good taste is discounted.

The front page (above) suggests Charlie isn't in love with former president, Nicolas Sarkozy. Planning a comeback Small Sarky aims to call his new party The Republicans, something of a national no-no given that most French people regard themselves as just that already. The cartoon bubble summarises Sarky's new/old policies: Crush the testicles, stuff the ballot boxes.
The other big story concerns corruption at FIFA, the worldwide organisation for controlling soccer. Faced with the FBI tie-wearers the long-serving FIFA boss, Sepp Blatter, decided to resign. Here the bubble provides a sort of epitaph: He wasn't a bad sort of chap, he simply fell among thieves. A much simpler (and better) FIFA joke appears in the lower cartoon which shouldn't need translating.

Many of the double-, triple-, and quadruple-entendres are beyond this simple soul and some articles are discouragingly long. However, I culled these from a column of briefs.

BAD TASTE AWARD? Many train services have been cancelled. One may no longer travel directly from Drancy to Auschwitz.

IDENTITY Johnny has had wife Laeticia tattooed. The reason: should he contract Alzheimer's he doesn't want to deceive himself when he fancies deceiving his wife.

EVOLUTION Fourteen percent of French men were mistreated when young. As adults they now vote FN (Front National - the extreme right lot).

SAFER A child playing with a kite (actually a cerf-volant - a flying stag) got electrocuted. Had he stayed in his bedroom watching porn he would still be living.

Anyone translating jokes is on a hiding to  nothing. But then there was nothing funny about the massacres.


  1. You've done better than I could. There was a display of the best-of covers from every decade at the bookshop at la Villette, and I really couldn't make head nor tail of most and the French addiction to puns is fairly incomprehensible to anyone but themselves (rather like their fondness for Serge Gainsbourg). Obviously French people get what I don't, but I'm really not sure to what extent Charlie's humour is enjoyed or appreciated by everyone here, even with the massively increased circulation since. But the kind of (largely Anglo) sniffiness of people muttering about how they didn't see the joke and it wasn't in very good taste... sometimes resembled, in someone else's words, seeing a clown gunned down in the street and saying 'dear dear. But then again he wasn't a very nice or funny clown, was he?' and the older ones - Cabu, Wolinsky, Honoré - especially, were respected, popular, liked, indeed loved, as public figures well beyond the readership of the magazine at the time.

    Anyway, any joke at Johnny Halliday's expense is worthwhile IMO.

  2. Lucy: In comparatively recent times, only Ulysses has represented a worthwhile cause in freedom of expression issues. The others (Lady Chatterley, the magazine Oz. L'Histoire d'O) have strained the credibility of those providing character support. But in a sense this has helped prove the point. Literary goodness isn't the criterion.

    I acknowledge your doubts about Charlie and in the end my French isn't good enough nor is my familiarity with French affairs to pronounce definitively. On t'other side of the Channel there are huge chunks of Private Eye that are neither funnny, instructive nor courageous. But both Charlie and PE have some recognisable, if intermittent, merit and I suppose I would, if asked, strive manfully to keep them alive.

    I debated including the following on the grounds of good taste but since only you and I appear to regard this subject as worthy of comment, I'll compromise by rendering it in French.

    LA RUMEUR INTERNET DE LA SEMAINE Un prédicateur mussulman prétend que la masturbation rendrait les mains enceintes. Pour avorter, il suffit de se coincer les doigts dans la porte.

    There's a childishness about Charlie that occasionally works but more often doesn't. Not here for instance.

  3. I know only that Serge fathered Charlotte...for that I am wholly grateful.