I am shutting down my other blog…but would like to preserve some of the posts, so apologies to those who have read this before – although in terms of the Eurozone it still seems decidedly relevant!
A warm hazy morning with a slight breeze lifting the humidity as I sit on my balcony listening t0 the Test Match Special team describing the annihilation of the England cricket team at the hands of the South Africans.
As Jacques Kallis thumps a ball from Ravi Bopari to the boundary yet again, I see on the laptop that Bradley Wiggins has won the Tour de France and led his compatriot Mark Cavendish into a fourth sprint victory on the final stage in the heart of Paris…..and turning to the French newspapers see with no surprise that while the journalists are fair, the comments on the victory articles are sour and jealous.
The voice of France.
But not the only one as, turning to the politics reporting I find with delight that old friends have made their reappearance.
Sarkozy? Chirac? Mitterand?
No! Much more interesting….
They were a cult in the years in which I first stayed in one place in France long enough to watch television….and even then those series were repeats of the early stuff which I think came out in the 1970s.
They lived on a two dimensional planet from which it was easy to slip off into the void and their aim was to colonise the more stable Terra, inhabited only by retired dinosaurs and an obnoxious insect…but their plans went always awry.
Harmless enough you might think…sort of a French version of The Clangers….but it roused passions, even on second and third repeats, because it was felt that the Shadoks were being used to represent the French people by their creator, Jacques Rouxel.
And the image presented was not to the taste of all.
The Shadocks were ruthless….and stupid.
So stupid that all of which they were capable was blind obedience to orders: whereas the other group in the series, also seeking to move from an unstable planet, the Gibis, were presented as intelligent and cooperative, capable, efficient and peace loving.
They even got along with the obnoxious insect.
The delight in the Shadoks rested in their perversion of those qualities on which French culture prided itself….logic and mathematics.
What was the nature of a colander?
Anything could be a colander which had an exterior, an interior and some holes.
The holes were not very important.
It didn’t matter how many holes there were, or if you reduced the number of holes by a half, or even if there were no holes at all.
QED…. that the notion of a colander was independent of the notion of a hole and vice versa.
In the same vein, there were three types of colander…
One which let through neither noodles nor water.
One which let through both.
One which sometimes let through one or the other and sometimes did not.
A colander which did not let through water or noodles was a saucepan.
A saucepan without a handle was a bus,
A bus which did not move was a saucepan (slang term for an old banger).
The use of language too was subversive with its twisting of common phrases and proverbs….
Everything which is not clearly authorised is strictly prohibited….
If it is hurting, it’s good for you….
Why do something the easy way if you can make it difficult…
If you don’t know where you’re going you have to get there as soon as possible….
The only way the poor Shadoks could escape to the stability of Terra was by building a rocket…..but the fuel was a substance floating in the air and their leaders told them that the only way to succeed in trapping the fuel was by pumping…..and so the Shadoks pumped.
And were told that it was only by pumping that they would get somewhere….and if they didn’t get anywhere at least they hadn’t done any harm….after all, better to pump even if nothing happened than that something worse happened if you did not pump.
So why have the Shadoks…under the radar for so long…emerged in the political columns of Le Figaro?
Because the German ambassador must be a fan…he was expounding on the problems of the eurozone recently and delivered himself of the well known Shadokism…
If there is not a solution, it is because there is not a problem…..
In which context the phrases cited above may take on a new resonance.
As may these…..
While remembering that to finance the said attempts, there are less malcontents if you always hit the same targets…
And that our self proclaimed leaders have a similar capability to the leaders of the Shadoks….
Le Figaro July 22nd 2012. Article by Jean-Pierre Robin ‘Quand les Shadocks eclairent les paradoxes de la zone euro.’
The first illustration comes from this article.
Wikipedia on the Shadoks…the French version.
http://www.archimedes-lab.org/shadoks/shadoks.html for the other illustrations.