Thursday, 3 September 2009

Le Jour de Gloire est arivée!

New horizons in conflict on the streets of Paris, as the mayors of Levallois-Perret (Patrick Balkany, Conservative) and Clichy-la-Garenne (Gilles Catoire, Socialist) fall out, bigtime. As part of their feud, each has used his mayoral powers to turn his bit of the Rue Victor Hugo (D909) into a one-way street, but in opposite directions. Ze copper’s lot is not an ’appy one, as the Paris police try to work out what to do at the point one way traffic North to South suddenly meets one way traffic South to North. I remember something of the geometry, albeit somehat hazily, from being at school in Pontoise for a short while in 1969.

Slugging it out with one-way signs is a comparatively rational-bureaucratic form of warfare on the streets of Paris, when one considers 1789, 1831, 1848 or 1871. Perhaps thesis and antithesis will eventually yield synthesis, but how? As a young staff officer Charles de Gaulle was fascinated by the role of ego and Neitzsche’s Superman dogma in the course of the Great War. In La discorde chez l’ennemi (1924) he wrote:
Peut-etre enfin, en méditant sur ces événements, voudra-t-on mesurer quelle importance revêt la philosophie supérieure de la guerre qui anime les chefs, et qui le peut, tantôt rendre vains les plus rudes efforts d’un grand peuple, tantôt constituer la garantie la plus générale et la plus sûre des destinées de la Patrie...
Sometimes smaller scale logic, however consistent, is not enough and we need to pan out, n’est-ce pas? a rather Anglican thought for the day.

Above you’ll find two two versions of Delacroix’s famous La Liberté guidant le peuple. Which do you prefer? Left to right, or right to left? Or both simultaneously?

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