nettime's cultural analysts on Sun, 27 Nov 2005 12:38:59 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Paris Burning [u] [3x]

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	From: "porculus" <>
	Subject: Re: <nettime> Paris Burning [u]

	From: Richard Joly <>
	Subject: <nettime> Paris Burning

	From: Patrice Riemens <>
	Subject: Alan Riding: If only French Leaders listened to Pop Culture


From: "porculus" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Paris Burning [u]
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 09:57:56 +0100

> but Multitudes has
> historians and philosophers on it, hence is always very talkative, the
> discussion
> is more lively and detailed there.

wasnt i to be fired out there zome yearz ago as kind of voyouz & troll or somezing
i.e. neizer philozopher nor hiztorian at all!..uell bon, i am not, c'est la vie..&
who care, except this :

> a final point : i was made fairly uncomfortable by the story on this list
> of
> lesbian of color bashing, it's not for me to deny her experience, it does
> happen,
> and when racism is high homophobia isn't far, noor to speak of sexism, but
> ... +
> traditionally there is no women in cafe in southern countries (sicilly,
> north
> africa....) so there is no reason why there should be more in north
> african
> neighborhood cafe in Paris. It's a drag, alright, but not a surprise

?? what a drag indeed & who apreciate to see that in so bland's exactly
on such scruffiness in the assessment you let a guy as finkielkraut some very very
good's not just question of cafe in sicilly, it's so evident for
those (& specialy girl & even heterosexual one) who had to take a train & a rer &
some elevator shaft(if it's out of order take the stairs) in many place you could
be easily for 2 or 3 euro & in 1/2 hours from 'paris intra muros' (even in some
place in paris intra muros beside)..dont let only my bud jean marie'ears to be
sensitive to such evidences

> it's a good things that weapons are not circulating here as they are in
> the
> states, but it's bleak

but ze fuck they are. if they was not in use it's cause one remains in some
burning 'sport' protocole & the 'brothers' remain out ('grand' fr=E8res' means in
french ghetto slang the elders, all those a bit familliar with rap culture would
understand all..rooh our ugly sarkozy did cause he just say lately somezing elders
are just mobster that sing our beloved france is just a slut to fuck on a trash imagine that! on a trasbin!..rohh i hear public enemy's zong reach a
congress library or somezing but here it's even not conceivable..except in
subjonctif passe simple)..beside it was question to a great burning walk in paris.
our louis xiv in his time had a walk back from le louvre to versailles for having
the pulling back to conscienciously shoot all the vilain sicyllian of the
degaulle did in 68 in some bullshit army base with grosse panzers.& grosse
luftwaffe for having back paris as in 1944..then what? it's not quite a revolution
my lord, but holala, what if natacha+'s ferrari would burn down to ashes in the
champ elysees ?.ho mon dieu, for sure my old rapeseed oil volkswagen would
follow...notice if we had ask help of poutine & american as in ww2 i am sure they
both say 'first of all you could put all those piromane sicillians in jail, france
have around 50000 prisonner, if we dont mistake you could x 4 for having the usan
%..150 000! what a confortable safety margin for a democratie, dont complain'


Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 17:35:28 -0500
From: Richard Joly <>
Subject: <nettime> Paris Burning 

Blame it all on le hip-hop

The NYTimes article referenced by Jody Rosen is behind the Times
subscription Wall.


Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 15:42 GMT 

French MP blames riots on rappers

Some French politicians claim violent rap lyrics stoked the violence

A French MP has publicly accused rappers of fuelling the country's recent riots
with their songs. It comes a day after 200 politicians backed his petition calling
for legal action against seven rap musicians and bands it alleges have incited
racism. MP Francois Grosdidier told France-Info radio it was no surprise youths
"saw red" after listening to violent lyrics. Rapper Monsieur R, one of those
singled out in the petition, rejected the idea, saying rap "is not a call to
violence". French authorities said the situation had returned to normal last week,
following three weeks of unrest that affected dozens of towns and cities.
Nationwide, almost 9,000 cars were set ablaze and some 3,000 people were arrested.
The French parliament last week approved a three-month state of emergency. Banned
The petition, handed to Justice Minister Pascal Clement, has been signed by 153
members of the lower house of parliament and 49 senators. The Justice Department
has said it cannot immediately comment on its call for legal sanctions. As well as
Monsieur R, it names artists Smala, Fabe and Salif and bands Ministere Amer, 113
and Lunatic.

Mr Grosdidier, a member of President Jacques Chirac's conservative ruling UMP
party, said songs like Monsieur R's FranSSe incite racism and hatred, and should
be banned from radio play. He told France-Info: "When people hear this all day
long and when these words swirl round in their heads, it is no surprise that they
then see red as soon as they walk past policemen or simply people who are
different from them." Monsieur R, real name Richard Makela, already faces a
separate lawsuit for "outrage to social decency" over the song FranSSe, brought by
another conservative MP and to be heard in February. The rapper told LCI
television: "Hip hop is a crude art, so we use crude words. It is not a call to
violence." Four members of the rap group Sniper were acquitted earlier this year
in Rouen, northern France, in a case brought by the Interior Ministry over a song
it alleged incited attacks on the police. An appeal is due to be heard next mont


David Brooks, Playa Hater
The New York Times columnist grapples with "gangsta rap."
By Jody Rosen
Posted Thursday, Nov. 10, 2005, at 6:45 PM ET

David Brooks, the New York Times columnist and author who brought us Bobos, Patio
Man, and other armchair sociological formulations, is at it again. In today's
column, Brooks takes his shtick overseas and into the realm of pop music with a
denunciation of "French gangsta rap." Citing the prevalence of hip-hop culture
among "the rioters" -- "poor young Muslim men" from Parisian banlieues and other
French slums -- Brooks goes on to to spin a theory of global gangsta rap hegemony.
It's not only that [the rioters] use the same hand gestures as American rappers,
wear the same clothes and necklaces, play the same video games, and sit with the
same sorts of car stereos at full blast. It's that they seem to have adopted the
same poses of exaggerated manhood, the same attitudes about women, money and the
police. They seem to have replicated the same sort of gang culture, the same
romantic visions of gunslinging drug dealers=85 The images, modes and attitudes of
hip-hop and gangsta rap are so powerful they are having a hegemonic effect across
the globe.

The result, Brooks says, is a battle for the hearts and minds of Muslim youth
"between Osama bin Laden and Tupac Shakur."

That anachronistic reference to Shakur isn't the only thing in the piece that
gives off a musty stench. Brooks' entire rant is shopworn: He tut-tuts French
rappers for having "nothing but rage for the institutions of society," infers a
link between rap and "horrific gang rapes," and declares, in a breathtakingly
doofy attempt to kick a little lingo, "if you want to stand up and fight The Man,
the Notorious B.I.G. shows the way." If you feel like you've read this before,
it's because you have. Way back in the late 1980s and early '90s, when Bill
Bennett was at war with Ice-T and Time Warner -- and Bill Clinton was triangulating
his way through his first presidential campaign by dissing Sister Souljah -- the
op-ed pages were full of anti-rap fulminations. But Brooks is undismayed. It's
tempting to imagine that Brooks actually wrote this article back in early '90s,
when he was a lowly book reviewer for the Wall Street Journal. Picture Brooks, in
the heady weeks after the Los Angeles riots, frustrated that he couldn't shoehorn
his gangsta-rap riff into a piece on Andrew Morton's Princess Diana biography.
It's been sitting in a desk drawer ever since, just waiting for some inner-city
unrest to come along. Et voil=E0. To be fair, Brooks is tromping into territory
that has befuddled even hardened music critics. For at least a dozen years, the
French hip-hop scene has been the world's most vibrant outside of the United
States, yet it has been almost completely ignored by the American music press. And
while rock critics have championed British grime, Brazilian baile funk*, and other
foreign hip-hop offshoots, they've completely missed the boat on IAM, Supr=EAme
NTM, Arsenik, TTC, Sa=EFan Supa Crew, and dozens of other French MCs, who, in
addition to voicing the disaffection of the French underclass, happen to be
masters of the form -- rappers of amazing skill, style, and wit. On a certain
level, it's hard to blame Anglophone critics. Your junior-high =EAtre et avoir
won't get you very far with the torrents of slang that fill French rap. Even most
French-speakers find it hard to follow along. Many MCs deliver whole songs in
Verlan, the ingenious, dizzying slang in which words are reversed or recombined,
turning arabe (arab) into rabza, bourre (drunk) into rebou, b=EAte (stupid)
into teube, and so on. (Verlan is itself an example of the form: Verlan=3D
l'envers, "the reverse.") It's not surprising that France, the nation that
enshrines conversational grandiloquence as a civic virtue right up there with
fraternite, would take to the most blabbermouthed genre in music history.
France's chanson tradition is famous for emphasizing lyrics -- the complete works
of George Brassens and Charles Trenet are for sale in the poetry section of
bookstores, right alongside Baudelaire and Rimbaud -- and rappers are widely viewed
as heirs to the chansonniers. The French Ministry of Culture, stodgy arbiters of
all that is Truly French, has already given one of its top music prizes to
Marseilles firebrands IAM, largely because of the poetic skills of its lead
rapper, Akhenaton. It's safe to assume that David Brooks hasn't spent a whole lot
of quality iPod time with the new Disiz La Peste album. Which is fine. But it
might have made sense to do at least a little listening to French rap -- or least
some more thorough Web-trawling -- before writing a treatise on hand gestures,
hegemony, and "gangsta resistance." When Brooks starts citing lyrics, things get
dodgy quickly. Midway through Brooks' piece we find the following paragraphs: When
rap first came to France, American rappers dominated the scene, but now the
suburban immigrant neighborhoods have produced their own stars in their own
language. French rap lyrics today are like the American gangsta lyrics of about
five or 10 years ago, when it was more common to fantasize about cop killings and
gang rape. Most of the lyrics can't be reprinted in this newspaper, but you can
get a sense of them from, say, a snippet from a song from Bitter Ministry:
"Another woman takes her beating./ This time she's called Brigitte./ She's the
wife of a cop." Or this from Mr. R's celebrated album "PolitiKment IncorreKt":
"France is a bitch. ... Don't forget to [deleted] her to exhaustion. You have to
treat her like a whore, man! ... My niggers and my Arabs, our playground is the
street with the most guns!"

Problem: Brooks' first example of "French rap lyrics today" is, well, 13 years
old. The song in question, "Brigitte (Femme de Flic)" appeared on the 1992 album
Pourquoi Tant de Haine, by the long-defunct duo Minist=E8re A.M.E.R. (The group's
rappers, Passi and Stormy Bugsy, have gone on to successful solo careers.)
Moreover, Brooks' research seems to consist of reading two articles in
conservative-identified American periodicals. I suspect that Brooks' source is
Theodore Dalrymple's article, "The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris," which
appeared in the Autumn 2002 edition of the City Journal. Dalrymple provides the
exact translation that Brooks cites as "Bitter Minstry's =85 best-known
lyric" -- though the lyric is not so well-known that (based on a Google search)
anyone else appears to have ever translated it into English. Now, there's nothing
wrong with Brooks using Dalrymple's translation, or even relying on his ideas. But
isn't Brooks implying some broader knowledge of the topic at hand? Look again at
his citation: "Most of the lyrics can't be reprinted in this newspaper, but you
can get a sense of them from, say, a snippet from a song from Bitter Ministry."
That "say" suggests that Brooks has any number of examples at his fingertips. The
truth is, it's probably one of only two French rap lyrics he's ever heard -- or,
rather, read. The other he cites is the invective of "Mr. R," who, needless to
say, the French know as Monsieur R. And lo and behold, a quick Google search turns
up "France's Homegrown Gangstas," from the Sept. 28, 2005, issue of the Weekly
Standard (where Brooks is an editor), which features the exact same English
translation of lyrics from Monsieur R's "Fransse." The crime here isn't just
laziness. It's tackiness and gall. Did Brooks bother to notice that the rappers
whose songs he cites in his piece about "the future of Islam" aren't Muslim at
all, but two black Frenchmen and one black Belgian? There's a word for this kind
of stuff. "Mr. R," I suspect, would call it teube. Correction, Nov. 18, 2005:
The original version of this article misspelled the Brazilian music genre baile
funk as "baille" funk; the album "Pourquoi Tant de Haine" as "Pourqoui Tant de
Haine"; and the rapper Stomy Bugsy as "Stormy Bugsy." These errors have been

Jody Rosen is The Nation's music critic and the author of White Christmas:
The Story of an American Song.

Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2005 03:12:06 +0100
From: Patrice Riemens <>
Subject: Alan Riding: If only French Leaders listened to Pop Culture

Original at:

Entr'acte: If only French leaders listened to pop culture
Alan Riding International Herald Tribune

PARIS So life often imitates art. Yet with the recent uprisings in some French
immigrant neighborhoods, this cliche came with a new twist: art in the form of
movies and rap music has long been warning that French-born Arab and black youths
felt increasingly alienated from French society, that their banlieues were ripe
for explosion.

Certainly, anyone who saw Mathieu Kassovitz's film, "La Haine," or "Hate," a
decade ago had no reason to be surprised by this fall's violence. At the time,
Kassovitz's portrayal of a seething immigrant Paris suburb, even his choice of the
word "hate" for his title, seemed shocking, even exaggerated. Today, the movie
could almost pass as a documentary.

In "Hate," burning cars light up the soulless space between high-rise public
housing projects as local residents protest the beating of a young Arab, Ahmed.
Nearby, graffiti proclaim: "Don't forget, the police kill." Three angry and
restless youths - a Jew, an Arab and a black - visit Ahmed in the hospital and are
themselves beaten by the police. They plan revenge.

"I made this film with the conviction that the police brutality of the time should
be denounced and that we should point our fingers at it, but also to dissect it,
to understand what its inner workings are," Kassovitz wrote after his film had
been shown around the world. In other words, a movie director in his late twenties
recognized something politicians chose to ignore.

This month, Kassovitz went further, accusing France's hard-line interior minister,
Nicolas Sarkozy, of provoking the latest troubles. "As much as I would like to
distance myself from politics," he wrote on his Web site, "it is difficult to
remain distant in the face of the depravations of politicians. And when these
depravations draw the hate of all youth, I have to restrain myself from
encouraging the rioters."

Even in the mid-1990s, though, "Hate" was hardly an isolated protest. Rather, it
spawned a genre known as "banlieue movies" that explored the problems of children
of Arab and African immigrants and effectively announced the birth of a new "lost
generation." Some films, like Coline Serreau's "Chaos," also focused on young Arab
women trying to escape male-run households. Their messages were uniformly

Why did these movies not ring alarm bells? Clearly, screen fiction has a
distancing effect on spectators: it is "only" telling a story. Yet even television
documentaries and news reports can have much the same effect. For most
middle-class French, nightly car burnings and police clashes with stone-throwing
youths have been taking place on their television screens, not in their

Where fiction has an advantage in portraying reality is in giving individual faces
to well-documented social and economic problems. "Banlieue movies" have also
proved more effective in analyzing the cause and effect of these problems than the
newspapers and politicians who, of late, have rushed out quick answers as if
responding to a natural disaster.

French artists are not alone in taking a lead. For instance, Udayan Prasad's
movie, "My Son the Fanatic," explored Islamic fundamentalism in a Pakistani
community eight years before this summer's suicide bombings in Britain. And many
Britons only discovered their own society's multiculturalism through Zadie Smith's
best-selling novel, "White Teeth," and Monica Ali's "Brick Lane."

In Germany and the Netherlands too, fiction - cinema and literature - is helping
to record societies being irreversibly altered by third world immigrants and their
locally born children and grandchildren. And here's the point: across Western
Europe, de facto segregation exists, reinforced by the fact that immigrants
usually live in their own communities and do lower-paid jobs. Only through fiction
will many Europeans actually "meet" the foreigners in their midst.

The French banlieues, though, have found a voice through talented rap musicians.
They burst on the scene here 15 years ago, borrowing a musical style from
African-Americans, but using lyrics that spoke to the irate, frustrated and
unemployed youth of immigrant extraction from the very banlieues where many of the
rappers were themselves raised.

This month, the left-of-center Paris daily, Liberation, had the clever idea of
revisiting popular rap songs and then interviewing the artists about their
sentiments today. And, as with the banlieue movies, the warning signs were clearly
written in some of their lyrics.

As far back as 1991, for instance, a group called NTM addressed politicians in one
song: "Go visit the banlieues/ Look at young people in their eyes/ You who command
from on high/ My appeal is serious, don't take it as a game/ Young people are
changing, that's what is worrying."

And, four years later, they rapped: "How long will this last?/ It's been years
since everything could explode."

Rim'K of the group 113 was just 20 in 1999 when he wrote "Facing the Police,"
which included these lines: "There'd better be no atrocity or the town will
explode/ The community is a time-bomb that will go off/ From the commander to the
intern, everyone of them is hated." Rim'K told Liberation that he had expected
trouble after dozens of African immigrants housed in run-down Paris hotels died in
fires this summer.

For Henri Gaudin, a prominent French architect, along with discrimination, poverty
and unemployment, the alienating architecture of the banlieue housing projects, or
cites, has also contributed to the youthful uprising. Inspired by Le Corbusier,
these stand-alone high-rises promised low-cost housing, but they lack urban
infrastructure, like streets.

"The youths in the cites have nowhere to be anonymous, they are constantly
viewed," Gaudin explained. "The only places they can go to escape their family is
to hang out in hallways or in basements or form groups at the foot of buildings.
They have no city, no public space."

Disiz La Peste, a black rapper, captured this sense of hopelessness just a few
months ago in lyrics which ended: "Those who treat me with disdain/ Who make
rotten jokes/ Which don't even make sense/ Neither humor nor love/ And France
cares little what I do/ Forever in its mind/ I'll just be a young man from the

So, in truth, life has not been imitating art. Rather, cinema and rap music have
been mirroring the life and mood of France's immigrant underclass. The problem is
that, in the corridors of power in central Paris, no one was paying heed.

"Is burning cars and schools the solution?" asked Kool Shen of NTM. "Certainly
not, but it looks like the only thing that works."


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