nettime's on Mon, 21 Nov 2005 22:47:10 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Paris Burning ... [4x]

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   Re: <nettime> Paris Burning but Not Queer                                       
     Heiko Recktenwald <>                                          

   Re: <nettime> Paris Isn't Burning (but the Banlieues Did)                       
     Carl Jacobs <>                                                

   Re: <nettime> Paris Isn't Burning (but the Banlieues Did)                       
     Peter Lunenfeld <>                                          

   Re: <nettime> Paris Burning but Not Queer                                       
     "porculus" <>                                                


Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2005 15:29:59 +0100
From: Heiko Recktenwald <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Paris Burning but Not Queer

> As a queer, mixed-race
>couple we endured constant harassment from young Magreb, African and
>Carribean guys - I'm not talking verbal abuse and getting spat on here,
>I'm talking bashings and death threats. 

Well, I just had a phone call from a girl friend, she is psychologist 
and sociologist and is currently at UNESCO, she is greener than green 
etc, she lives in a chambre de bonne in the pochest part of Paris, 
Sevres/Invalides, and she said, that she doesnt believe in the usual 
sympa attitude towards the riots. She never believed in Huntington etc, 
but she will rethink it. This is rather organised by not so friendly 
powers. In her opinion.

See the footbal riots in Turkey, this is what "respect" and "honor" are 
in reality. Such things may be valid in archaic societies, but not in 



Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2005 10:58:17 +0100
From: Carl Jacobs <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Paris Isn't Burning (but the Banlieues Did)

On 18-nov-05 at 13:28 Roland wrote:

> In fact those errors come from Google. You can try with Google Earth 
> and=20
> search for french cities. Most of them are misplaced (you have to=20
> actively search like "Marseille, France", if you simply zoom in the 
> map=20
> the locations are correct). They also have this problem with many 
> German=20
> cities  (Berlin goes to Denmark for instance).

Are you blaming Google for delivering wrong information to what's known 
as one of the most watched newschanels around the world? I am very 
sorry, but I believe there are more reliable and interesting sources 
for Europe than Google Earth. Google Earth in my opinion is pretty 
interesting for the North-American Continent, but delivers very poor 
information on the Europian Continent. I think 'uberhaupt' that you 
shouldn't use an online mapping system like that for such a task unless 
it got a 98% accuracy, but that's another discussion.

I think it has much more to do with the ignorence of the American 
populair media to the "old continent". "It doesn't matter", they think, 
"because 90% of the american people don't know it." And probably the 
10% that know those cities situated on the map can't exactly locate it. 
I think it tells us more about the unreliability of the CNN data and 
the ignorence against the Europian continent then about Google's toy.


Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2005 17:38:37 +0100
From: Peter Lunenfeld <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Paris Isn't Burning (but the Banlieues Did)

On 11/18/05 1:28 PM, "Roland" <> wrote:

> Peter Lunenfeld a =E9crit :
>> French blogs have been featuring two images from US cable news
>> networks. The first is purported to be a CNN graphic of France
>> showing the cities where the riots have been taking place. The only
>> problem is that the cities are all in the wrong place (Paris where
>> Lille really is, Lille is on the the coast, Toulouse is on the
>> Swiss-Italian border, etc.), and the country identifier, FRANCE, is
>> deep within Germany. There's some debate as to whether it actually
>> ran, or is some sort of meta-commentary on American geographical
>> ignorance.
> In fact those errors come from Google. You can try with Google Earth and=20
> search for french cities. Most of them are misplaced (you have to=20
> actively search like "Marseille, France", if you simply zoom in the map=20
> the locations are correct). They also have this problem with many German=20
> cities  (Berlin goes to Denmark for instance).
> And an update about those troubles :
> - last night in Grenoble, 2000 to 3000 person were pitted against the=20
> police in the city centre. They were not poor, black or muslim...
> - last night also, ~100 car were burnt all over the country, and the=20
> police is considering that that is "normal". 30.000 car have been burnt=20
> since the beginning of 2005.
> The situation is much more complex than a simple case of immigration.

I had heard about the Google Earth problem, but I still have no confirmation
one way or the other as to whether that particular graphic ran on CNN.

That the troubles continue is no surprise. What did surprise the rest of the
world was that French authorities now consider it "normal" to have a hundred
or more Renaults and Citroens set ablaze per day.

In reference to your last line, no social upheaval this massive can be
reduced to one factor. What I was trying to do was point out that the
Chirac/Villepin "dream solution" of seamlessly integrated model minorities
has a specific history within Europe. The media coverage of the past month
had not discussed any pre-WWII historical parallelisms. In contrast, the
nettime posts of the past few weeks have offered an interesting series of

"Frank Gaffney's neocon ravings," as Bruce Sterling put it when he reposted
them  a few days back, exemplified the right-wing isolationism that quite
literally wants the whole of Europe to go up in flames to justify their own
desire to see the US as the last, best and only hope. Gaffney's rage is
driven not just by perceived Franco-American rifts like the differences over
the most recent Iraq war, but just as much the desire to "unmake" the
European successes in social democracy. The reality of the European
post-WWII negotiations between market innovation and social cohesion are a
literal affront to neoliberal and neoconservative world views. Any of the
successes of French or Scandinavian, or even German societies in the second
half of the twentieth century have to be either completely ignored, subsumed
under the American umbrella, or wished into the grave of history.

The first option is seen in the general American unwillingness to see anyone
else anywhere as doing anything at even slightly better than the way it is
done in the USA -- see the debates over national healthcare systems, for
example. Here the argument is that the Europeans don't know anything but how
to talk, they can't "do" anything.

The second option is to claim that anything good in Europe in this period
was only possible because of the Pax Americana that held back the Soviet
threat. This is the Europe is Venus, the  US is Mars argument that Robert
Kagan formalized back in 2002 with his essay "Power and Weakness" in Policy
Review [] that was later
expanded into Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World
Order in 2003 
283155&n=507846&s=books&v=glance]. Here the argument is that Europeans are
"lovers not fighters," drinking cappucinos in well appointed cafes while
the US mans the ramparts of freedom.

The third option, distilled in Gaffney's post to a perfect cocktail of bile
and spite, is that demography, immigration, and Islamicism literally spell
the end of Europe. You see this in the equally raving columns of the Chicago
Sun Times's Mark Steyn among many others on the US right
[]. This position may require a new logical
category -- the argument from apocalypse.

Brian Holmes's post, "12th Night," certainly offered a saner, left
alternative to Gaffney's rantings, but I can't see what sort of political
swings would need to take place before Holmes's idea of what the proper
level of social funding and investment in the banlieues could come true. And
in the end, his economic analyses, and don't address the historical issues
that prompted my original post. Even in the post-mortems (assuming this
round of rioting is over, of course, and not just in a lull) there has been
so little discussion -- from either left or right, this side of the Atlantic
or the other -- touched on the history of Jewish integration into Europe
from the 18th century opening of the ghettos through the 20th century
holocaust. One colleague to whom I'd sent this piece was asking me to go
further into the differences between 1905 and the Jews and 2005 and the
Moslems of Europe. 

The most important of these is demographics pure and simple. There weren't
hundreds of million Jews between the ages of 12 and 30 ringing Europe in
1905, there wasn't a country of 70 million Jews petitioning to join a
borderless Europe (as Turkey is now), and while there were Zionists looking
to establish a Jewish state somewhere, there were no Jewish sects or
political parties calling for Mosaic religious law throughout the whole of
the European continent (as the Arab-European League does for Sharia today).

That's not to say that the integration of earlier waves of intra-European
Christian immigration into France were handled that easily either. One has
only to look at the scarcity of French government and business elites of
Italian or Greek or Central European family origin even today to see that
(Sarkozy the exception who proves the rule). I don't know the situation in
other European countries as well as I know the French experience, but I
can't say that I've run across a great deal of intra European immigrant
politicians or media stars in Germany, Scandinavia, or Spain, for example. I
would love to informed if I'm missing something in these or other European

A colleague is working on a comparative study of the Marshall plan in
France, Germany, and the UK, and she maintains that the EU itself is in
large measure an organized, conscious response to the Jewish question of the
War and pre-war years. I'd always understood the EU to be a response to the
war (a mechanism to prevent German aggression and French reaction), and a
mode to leave the past behind and move into the post-War future (to counter
the growing power of the USA), but I've never seen it as a way to forestall
future Holocausts. I suppose the very blandness of the Brussels bureaucrats
and their endless legalisms could be seen as a brake on the passions of
European populists and their desires to find scapegoats. We'll see how this
all plays out in the next few years, of course.

So, what kinds of thinking might be useful right now? I would say that the
kind of complex analysis of power, repression, sexuality and public space
that Melinda Cooper's post brought into the discussion. I went to the
African market yesterday in Paris's 18th arrondissement, around the Chateau
Rouge, near Montmartre. It was precisely the sort of cultural tourism that
is easily lampooned, so I'll spare you my travelogue observations of the
textile shops, Halal butchers, Afro-pop music stores, and the amzing
profusion of Dolce & Gabbana fakes for sale on the streets. But before I
went, I had read Cooper's observations about the unofficial policing of
public space by various sub-groups of French citizenry (remember, the state
recognizes no "minorities"). I was with my wife and 11 year daughter, and we
all wanted a drink after a while. I began to notice that none of the
numerous cafes in the area had even one woman in them. This, in an area
teeming with hundreds of women doing their shopping for the week. It was
obvious that unlike other parts of Paris, women were not welcome in the
cafes. The internal, unofficial policing of the cafes' mixed public/private
space was complete and, at least yesterday afternoon, unchallenged.

So, I completely agree with your objection, it is vastly more complex than
the immigration issue, but the troubles in France are likewise not reducible
to  economic narratives either.

Peter Lunenfeld


Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2005 13:55:02 +0100
From: "porculus" <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Paris Burning but Not Queer

> I hope this doesn't sound all too anecdotal

anecdotal is fairly the even core of our modern living & one of our honest
theorical experienz limit, & your anecdotal strike a global cord, cause of course
it's not only a french sound box you hit there. all the colors of complexity of
the situation you describe is quite convincing. But what is modern too it's the
same output dont come necessarily from the same process, it depend from the place
& the point de vue is for instance tarrik ramadan was sew on ze
continent as a phalocrate theorist & a subjugate enthraler etc but was hired after
by the guy tony as a political link to brittain islam community etc this just for
citing an anecdotal thing (what i want to say also it's most use of other as pawn
& imagine to be strong enuf for doing the def player). but of course it's not at
all your point; &.i am sensible to the fact your sexual situation (i.e. also
yourself flesh & blood you bring anywhere you go) go trough most of social
'zoning' & 'spaced' engraved. I mean as for usan & french if you havent go trough
& have to deal with some ghetto you could ignored them when a couple of caribean
queer take a parisian metro, for instance at 'les halles' station, the parisan
crux flux, apparently quite quiet, it's a social displacement tranfert enuf
unheard for the 'democratic' common of the local surface around you could be as
much virtully teleported anywhere, why not in a stairwell of a ghetto, on could
insult you & you find no evident local solidarity. on this point the reason why
majority of french were against iraki war was there, it was the idea, the first
country where it will blow up, itwill be not in america nor in spain, if we could
know it, it's here & tomorow morning. in chatelet les halles station, one of the
biggest global body hub one have to take for going to ones job for instance, a
great phantasme, as we had the habit in 90's, but in big.yes when the twin tower
blow up evryone heard here 'anywhere anytime and any hold how', as a relief, cause
it sounded at least more as in an american turkey than in a french navet.. but
france didnt use of this respite except in using of harsh security surfing for
menacing his population& this wizout doing any social plan (claiming they did of
course). for the anglo saxon press the entire france was burning cause its politic
of nonengagment has not even aneffect for his safeness so this was important to
show this to the people of the countries engaged in irak: there was no wining
peripheral politics, as it was interresting with katrina for the french press to
show how much america do nothing for their 'social break' as chirac branded it, france, & specially his government did & do so much....that the proof is
marveloously done for a hundred years at's lamentable,it's a global
concurence of ineptness & white & parhaps male cretinery..& chirac + sarkozy both
aux chiottes would not quite suffice enuf for doing a bit better it seems
much le malaise is great. but enuf blah, this not for enlighting any of your
insight or reducing any of you daily complexity, compound feeling, er but just to
add mine

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