Did you notice that the orange bloke looked rather confused? That's not what military marching bands are supposed to do, is it? Not that he would know anyway since he never did any military service though he would have been of age during the Vietnam war.
Patrick, you have convinced me that I need to see the parade in person again. I did watch on television this year, something that I tend to do when there is a new president or an exceptional special guest but not during other years. This year there was both a new president and what I suppose must be called a special guest. In any case, it made for a fascinating television experience, and I was just as amused as you were by how Mr. Trump was left out of the military conversation and then introduced at the last moment along the lines of "I guess I should introduce you to this foreign guy anyway." It was delightfully awkward and uncomfortable.
But your video showed how nice it is to be in the crowd with people who are impressed by all of the pomp and ceremony, unlike the professionals who have been there a dozen times or more. You also escaped the exasperating commentary by the television people who feel that it is forbidden to shut up at any time.
That is true, but I still remember watching the bicentennial parade in 1989 - I was visiting friends in Paris but we watched it at the house of the parents of one of them, in Théméricourt, a tiny village near Pontoise and Cergy-Pontoise. They had an impressive TV for the times, and it was refreshing NOT to be out in such a crowd. The spectacle was too enthralling for too much motormouthing by the media.
Such patter is even worse in the event of a disaster: obviously this time of year Nice comes to mind, but also horrible fires such as at Grenfell Tower and in Portugal. They don't shut up and ask obviously distraught people rude questions.
It is a sort of Courrèges look from the 1960s, which is odd as she would have been around ten years old at the time. But isn't her main look problem sun damage? Not much to do about that. The only potentially bitchy aspect is that her husband is a much younger man, which remains unconventional.
You also escaped the exasperating commentary by the television people who feel that it is forbidden to shut up at any time.
But we did have the official announcer's run-down on all the units attending and the service arm they were representing - too fast for me to pick up all the details, but it almost seemed to get down to the level of the kind of theatre programme that would end up with "Furniture by Maples. Cigarettes by Abdulla."
I do know what you mean about TV commentators, ours can be as bad on such big occasions, especially when they've done their research and they're going to damn well make sure you get the benefit of every last detail of it.
This is probably off topic and of course I'm an utter bitch for saying it, but ........... Brigitte Macron really needs someone to take her in hand and do something about her look.
I don't agree about Brigitte Macron. Of course she is in her 60s and is never going to look very young, but I'm pleased to see that she wears sort of classic+stylish clothes. She has her own style and is obviously wearing her own clothes since she wears them on different occasions. I would prefer it if she took her hair back a bit from her face -- I have seen a photo where she has it tied back and she looked fine. Bixa, would you prefer her to look plump and dowdy with draw-string waisted pants?
Speaking of presidents' wives, I find Melania Trump looks terribly old-fashioned. Those full-skirted dresses with a big belt -- straight out of the 1970s or earlier.
Well, of course poor Melania has to fight against the totally unfounded perception that she might be a sluttish bimbo -- probably why that well-covered personal style was chosen for her by some professional dresser.
Of course I don't want Brigitte Macron to look dowdy. She is quite attractive -- rather reminds me of Jane Fonda. However, her clothes and hair make her look as though she is trying too hard to look young. Yes, she has excellent legs, but often it looks as though she's trying to show them off regardless of the occasion. And her not-great posture combined with the high necklines she favors and the floppy hair actually makes her look older. Getting her hair off her face makes her look better & in fact younger. I simply feel that her natural good looks and attractive demeanor are undercut by the way she often tries to look cute, i.e. young, rather than proudly showing how very attractive a 64-year-old she is.
It is surprising that the US is still ranked above Germany, though.
In terms of "soft power", it depends how you weight various subjective categories, but I'd guess the general lack of German movies, TV and pop superstars might have something to do with it, as well as a relatively limited profile across a wide range of international political affairs.
Good point, Patrick. I didn't factor in any of those things. My continued horror and sorrow at what is happening in the US makes me surprised that it is still in the running up there with civilized nations.
President Macron has been plummeting in the polls (36% approval rating) because people are beginning to understand that he did not actually have a magic wand that could fix everything in a month or two. Right now he is on holiday in Marseille for 10 days, and the legislature is also on holiday, so we'll have to wait until the end of the month for the next installment of the saga. Demonstrations are planned in early September in opposition to the radical revision of the labour code, which is supposed to be done by decree rather than by parliamentary vote. That sort of disturbs everyone, even people who support Macron, because bypassing the parliament is rarely a good thing. However, the justification for this is to get changes made quickly -- the parliamentary route generally takes at least six to nine months, and people have already made it clear that they want the "magic wand."
Opposition to changes in the labour laws mostly come from the left, which says that the new government is trying to erase 50 or more years of workers' struggles to improve and protect their conditions. The government is claiming that it is just getting rid of a lot of obsolete rules from the 20's, 30's, 40's etc. and to bring rules into the 21st century with all of the changes that have happened. There are apparently no laws at all on the books concerning cyberwork and other such things -- court cases concerning that have just had to try to wriggle through ancient rules that sort of talk about that kind of profession. So obviously, the laws need to be updated and the big question is whether it will be done "properly" or not.
It mostly depends on whether you trust the new people or not.
As often happens, the far right and the far left have met up on a subject. Mélenchon is unhappy about the display of the European flag in official places and tried to pass an amendment to replace it by the flag of the United Nations. The National Front fully supported this proposal, which was (thank god) rejected.
It should be mentioned that Mélenchon was previously a member of the European parliament, as was Marine Le Pen. Why on earth did these people bother to get elected to an institution that they both despise? Well, both the far right and far left did use the institution fraudulently to get money to pay for assistants not connected to their mandate. I really do not understand why they have not merged yet.
Several major countries being embroiled in their own domestic politics (United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, to name just a few), I find that I do take a bit of comfort in the energy of President Macron. But how long will it last? Today he hosted Benjamin Netanyahu on a visit that was planned weeks ago, but I am quite sure that the PM of Israel got an earful from Macron and will receive the same reception in Brussels (Jerusalem Post article).
But Macron has at least been filling a void that the other major countries seem to have been afraid to broach in the Middle East. This article from the New York Times isn't too bad.
This weekend, President Macron is celebrating his 40th birthday in the Loire valley, near Chambord, even though the actual date isn't until December 21st. While I always find it strange to celebrate one's birthday beyond the age of say, 12, I know that a lot of people do it. My brother made a major deal of turning 50 long ago and apparently gave into his phantasm of a stretch limousine.
The thought of Macron making a big deal out of turning 40 really shows me how young he is. My god, we have a president who is only 40 years old!
Yes, he made Trudeau fils seem old (though actually the two seemed to get on quite well). I am not a worshipper of youth and never was, but in France it is important to break with a gerontocracy worthy of late-Soviet-Union politics.
Not an endorsement of Macron's policies, but I won't go into that now. Some are good (standing up to Trump), some bad for people on meagre incomes.
President Erdogan of Turkey is visiting France tomorrow -- for just one day. Will it be like the visit of President Trump on July 14th last year?
Erdogan has said that he is pleased that France has not "abandoned" him, unlike Mrs. Markel in Germany. Naturally, there are huge economic issues involved, so it will probably just be another session of realpolitik.
It should be mentioned that this is not a state visit, just a "working lunch" between the two presidents. International relations are really complicated!