Elisabeth Levy: "Macron reminds us that between the sublime and the ridiculous, the border is tenuous"

Home"TO THE ONE"Elisabeth Levy: "Macron reminds us that between the sublime and the ridiculous, the border is tenuous"
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FIGAROVOX / GREAT INTERVIEW - On the occasion of the release of the last issue of Causeur, Elisabeth Lévy returns to the first weeks of Emmanuel Macron's presidency. For her, with the new President of the Republic, "the French are both seduced and skeptical".


Élisabeth Lévy is a journalist and editor-in-chief of conversationalist. His latest issue is titled All is well, Madame la Marquise!


FIGAROVOX.- The last issue of Causeur is entitled "Everything is going well, Madame la Marquise". A title obviously ironic. After a very long year of presidential election, are the French not entitled to a little optimism?

Elisabeth LÉVY.- A new human right, the right to optimism! If you really want to invent new rights, all in all, I would prefer the right to truth, or lucidity. Let me remind you that the song "Tout va bien ma dame Marquise", which dates from 1935, has become the symbol of the unconsciousness of a world dancing on a volcano. That said, Gramsci spoke of optimism of the will - that he wanted to combine with the pessimism of reason: today, one feels rather a fierce (and a little unreasonable) desire for optimism. And this mood, contrary to what many think, is not a fabrication of the media, even if they are rather indulgent: for example, when Macron is Chevènement criticizing Europe and recalling the need to protect, they then applaud that, usually, this kind of talk seems to them the abomination of desolation. Neither the affairs, which force opportunely the power to turn down on the side "I wash more white", the Melchingtonist belching, nor the arrogance of the hipsters Castaner way which constitute the close guard of Macron, nor the scam of "the civil society "that hides a large-scale takeover by experts and senior officials under the oversight of a cohort of finance inspectors, nor the waltz-on-the-law seem to break the mood, as if the French wanted a break before discussing angry subjects again. In short, it is they who ask their governors to treat them by Dr. Coue's method, at least for the summer break. As we say at the beginning of the movie The Hate, while the character falls 50 floors: "So far, so good". However, we may not be on the eve of a world war but everything is not going well and wanting to act as if, we are preparing especially a hard landing.

The French seem to want to give Macron the benefit of the doubt. Is not it natural in short? Is not he a bad loser?

There is no question of calling into question the legitimacy of the president, to whom the French, after having elected him, granted a very clear majority. When Mélenchon, with his eighteen deputies, pretends to represent the people, we should all laugh out loud. However, should we be content to shout "Long live the King" and celebrate the youth and talent of our new monarch? In fact, beyond the diffuse desire to postpone the painful issues at the beginning of the school year that I mentioned, the French are at the same time seduced and skeptical.

Let's start with the asset. First, given the scale of the massacre game that has just taken place, there is something for everyone: some applaud the disappearance of the left Najat, the others at the debacle of the right Fillon. Then, after the depressing Dutch normality, the return to a certain verticality of power is obviously good news. Who would not rejoice to see France, through its president, again considered on the international scene? That Macron is the one who renews with Putin and who receives Trump testifies to a pleasant independence of spirit. Moreover, his speech on Europe disappoints me well as they say in Switzerland. When the head of state says that Germany "must move, as France must move", he speaks of "shared responsibilities" explaining in hushed words that the prosperity of our neighbor is partly built on the back of its partners, this reflects a healthy desire to rebalance the balance of power. Of course, it remains to be seen whether he will obtain results.


While his predecessor ruled with the revolver of the World pointed at his temple, he says that his thinking is too complex to be delivered to the questions of journalists.


Meanwhile, there is another area where Macron wants to rebalance a balance of power, it is between political power and media. While his predecessor ruled with the World revolver pointed at his temple, he says his thinking is too complex to be delivered to journalists' questions - it's quite inflated and very entertaining. This does not prevent it, it is said, from discreetly receiving some lucky elected officials of the profession, but after all one has the right to choose one's friends. In any case, it is one of the most encouraging signs of the claimed verticality that it holds the journalist high.

You see, Madame la Marquise, that everything is not so bad ...

Wait a minute! First, the serious things have just begun. But we are still largely in the domain of speech. However, the juxtaposition of contradictory propositions which is the hallmark of the Macronian verb reveals an ambiguity which the president will have to leave at one time or another. Thus, in his speech to Congress, July 3, the President has, as always, fairly distributed graciousness: a spoon for the reaction a spoon for the progressives, a spoon for the sovereignists a spoon for the federalists, a spoon for the Colbertists a spoon for free traders, not to mention the common places, like "I am for peace and for fraternity".

You have to be a hell of a bad couch to resist the promise of "openness to possibilities that bring us together" or refuse "a powerful and desirable imagination where everyone will find their place". Okay, that does not mean anything. But it sounds good. This reminds us that between the sublime and the ridiculous, the border is tenuous. And the risk that the staging of the Macronian gesture turns to the festival postures is not negligible.

In the meantime, when you criticize the President for promoting economic efficiency, in a country where the word "entrepreneur" seems to have become a dirty word, you are in bad faith ...

Bad faith yourself! Where did you go to find out that we are against economic efficiency? But when the president calls for an "efficient society," it evokes a better world where everything would work, where nothing, neither people nor things, would be broken down. What to spin the drone, no? The founding ideology of the new power, more managerial than political, is not liberalism, even neo, but startupism: "If you have not made your start-up at 25, you've missed your life!" .

You reproach Macron for his little phrase about "those who are nothing". He apologized and explained that it was only a language mistake. Are you now going to hunt down the slightest "skid" of the president as a certain left has made the specialty with all those who are not left?

Except that it is not a question of stolen tables but of a public speech pronounced by the head of the State. Of course, it would be just as unfair to judge the president on this distinction between "those who succeed" and "those who are nothing" than he was to reduce Nicolas Sarkozy to his "Casse-toi méc con!". Nevertheless, in both cases, the blunder undoubtedly reveals a part of truth - more endearing in this case at Sarko than at Macron.

And what is this truth in the case of Macron?

I would not speak, as we have heard in a loop among the unskilled and assimilated, of class contempt, rather of a compassion of lady patroness, not for the poor but for all those who are not in the wind. Emmanuel Macron does not admire the rich as much as the neo-entrepreneurs: the old money, which he calls rent, and the old school middle-class is not his cup of tea. And no doubt he has more consideration for a long-term unemployed than for a notary - but who would rebel against the notairophobia? In short, while presenting himself regularly as the heir of the great history of France, Macron does not stop saying his pride to be the man of the blow of wind on the old world. But most people hold this old world because it belongs to them. The president will discover, the France who cares about the historical continuity, the one that does not want that we revolutionize the symbolic and institutional frameworks that have made its collective existence, the one we love to pay attention on Canal + and France Inter does not intend to disappear. Which, if the right really interested in ideas, should open a boulevard to a popular conservatism.

You reproach Macron for forgetting terrorism and identity anxiety. It sounds like an obsession with you ...

We criticize the president for seriously underestimating the problems posed by the advance of a radical Islam that, on the one hand undermines the French cohesion and on the other hand, feeds the terrorist violence. What threatens us even more than the desire for Islamist hold is the denial that makes us unable to face the challenges. And if it's an obsession, we share it with a lot of our fellow citizens. To believe, for example, a survey published in the JDD, the question of the integration of Islam is a priority for 61% of French people, far ahead of pensions (43%), employment (36%) and purchasing power (30%). So yes, at the risk of triggering the usual exhausted tunes and the same nose twitches of the olfactory left, I believe that the crisis of integration should be a priority of power. Now, on this subject, it is almost radio silence. As well as the assassination, in Belleville, of Sarah Halimi by one of her neighbors, to the cries of "Allah Ouakbar". And if I am wrong on this point by the speech Emmanuel Macron will deliver in Nice, so much the better! Still, more broadly, it is urgent to negotiate a pact between the Islam of France and the Republic that is to say to define the rules of the game. Saying this is nothing racist. To qualify the jihadists who hold a French humanitarian, the president used exactly the same words as in Hall F: "They are nothing." This recurrence reveals perhaps another facet of the "Macron thought": a propensity to remove from the photo the unpleasant realities. When the president says "we can not pretend to fight terrorism effectively if we do not have a resolute action against global warming", it is clear from the old antiphon that the economy is the source of all ills and all the solutions. Would the Macronian man eat only bread?

The best way to solve the crisis of integration and regain some national pride, is it not to reconnect with a unifying story? With the idea that France is a country where everything is possible from wherever you come ...

No doubt you are referring to the presidential will, delivered through his Twitter account, to make France a "start-up nation", that is to say "a nation where everyone can say that he can create a start-up. What unifying story indeed! So, sorry, someone has to speak for the retarded ones who would especially like France to remain a nation all the time and who are worried about seeing it get rid of. As Alain Finkielkraut says in our number, we must rehabilitate Cassandra (who had, it must be remembered, damn good reason to invite the Trojans to be wary). It's a bit like the Causer.

You also dedicate a file to "the destruction of Paris". In your article, "Paris, the capital of an undesirable future", you joke about "the civic and innovative salmigondis". And you write: "And if a city, precisely, was not a land of peace but a zone of conflict, of fractures, of antagonisms?" With the migratory chaos at Porte de la Chapelle, you should be served ...

If Anne Hidalgo did not exist, Muray would have invented it! The migratory chaos is precisely the proof that the concrete life, with its excesses, its turpitudes and its joy, does not obey the dreams of new man (e-e, as it is now displayed on all the documents of the town hall Jack Lang's heirs who run City Hall. Anne Hidalgo is the migrants + the Olympics. She wanted to make the beautiful playing the Merkel in front of the cameras, while she has absolutely no solution to accommodate migrants in Paris (a question that falls only to the margin of his jurisdiction). Good feelings are not enough, sorry. And, moreover, it is only a question of reinventing the city, of transporting nature there, and of pedestrianizing places where a hundred standing Night can flourish. And this without ever ceasing to subject Parisians and all the Parisians a terrifying whirlwind of actually innovative and citizen festivities that paralyze any other activity. It seems that, for Mrs. Hidalgo, those who do not want to dream of the city of tomorrow, but more modestly wish to be able to move in today's city, for example to work there, are nothing. Like opponents of the Olympics. Scraps of History on the move ..

Finally, if you had to choose, do not you prefer "the brave new world" at Anne Hidalgo's "Wonderful Paris"?

I fear, precisely, not to have to choose and to have both! Despite the animosity between the president and the mayor of Paris, Macronian progressivism is not fundamentally different from that of Anne Hidalgo, remember the show of the president-tennis player on the Seine to defend Paris 2024. However, if I had to really choose between your two versions of the bright future, I would bet on the monarchical rather than the citizen. The ambiguities of Macron may be the source of good surprises, while nothing will stop Anne Hidalgo in the business of destroying the conditions of the concrete life she leads under the banner of transformation. Nothing, if not the voters. Until then, Parisians who like to call themselves rebels have been surprisingly docile to the stupidities invented to decay their lives. It will be known at the next municipal elections whether the neo-humans with wheels grouped under the banner of Homo festivus have managed to carry out the Great replacement of the people of Paris.

Source: ©  Le Figaro Premium - Elisabeth Lévy: "Macron reminds us that between the sublime and the ridiculous, the border is tenuous"

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