French TV

 

One of the most popular show in France is Les Guignols de l’Info (“News Puppets”)…

This show has been running for about 15 years and features muppets of famous personalities spoofing the news.
Ironically: although they are rather left-leaning with a populist twist (for French politics… in the US they’d be labeled as dangerous subversive commies), they are also attributed a certain part in the surprise election of conservative French president Jacques Chirac in 1995: by becoming the butt of all their jokes, they established him as a stupid, goofy but nonetheless likeable guy, which arguably helped his campaign a lot.

Despite the occasional preachy populist tone (even for my own taste), they are quite uniquely funny in their aggressive caricature of the world. They have reached a status of perfect immunity by now and afford to make fun of anything or anybody, by any means they deem fit, which can mean well beyond usual boundaries: I do remember a certain show mocking the French president’s wife fascination for old ladies’ purses by showing her masturbating to a handbag infomercial tape…

Overall, they love to bash right-wing politics in France and throughout the world, which naturally includes heavily the US government these days. The depiction of Bush Jr. as a 5 year old autistic redneck with murderous tendencies who needs to be chaperoned by his staff is pretty hilarious.
But one of their biggest schtick is the “World Company”, a fictitious multi-national conglomerate, controlling the planet and making money by trashing and exploiting third world countries. The “World Company”, of course, stands for about any major companies and government acting throughout the world in total disrespect of cultures and human rights in order to increase their profits.
Even though the conspiracy theory is slightly alluded to, it has enough self-irony to come out as a heavy but not entirely unfounded caricature of the state of the world these days…

Of course, all the employees of this symbol of culture streamlining and corporate greed are none other than perfect clones of Sylvester Stallone…

2 comments

  1. Sorry Dave, but I do not like that show. It just plain populism. There are highly demagogic, and in a way fascist with their attack of politics. Their motto could be “All corrupts!”. It is not true. Only a small minority in politic are rotten.
    About the “show mocking the French president’s wife fascination for old ladies’ purses by showing her masturbating to a handbag infomercial tape…
    ” it was perfectly digusting, cowardly and stupid to attack that lady. Maybe they help for the election of Chirac, but they also greatly help that 50% of the French don’t vote anymore, and Le Pen in the secound round. Just talk to the youngers in France about politic and you will see what I mean.
    I prefer to be represented by a guy that people can choose and vote for (hail democracy) that to be represented by Bill Gates and consorts.
    J”ai dit!

  2. He he…
    I knew that’d wake up some people…
    I did mention that this show is more than a little populist and often beyond good-taste boundaries (the episode with Chirac’s wife was an example)…
    I do not however think that they are entirely non-constructive. The fact that their satire is extremely corrosive and directed at people from all parties does not equate saying “everybody’s corrupt”. Even though they tend to overuse most of their topics, the grounds are usually very much real (scandals, trials, corruption etc.)
    On a more serious side, the whole aspect of French people getting disinterested of politics has, imho, many other reasons than this show. Politics themselves are not entirely free of responsibility for the overall impression of corruption that has been put upon their class. I am NOT saying “all rotten”, but thinking there are only a few far apart, rare cases of illegitimate business going on is plain ridiculous: this is a very seriously spread problems in politics (not only in France) and it has been for quite a while now (think Roman empire).
    But we all know you are an idealist and I am a cynic :o)

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