When the McCain campaign labeled Barack Obama a socialist, it was one of the worst slurs they could think of. But here in France, socialists are banal. Hell, we’ve got more than a million communists — Marxists, Trotskyists, anarchists, even Bolsheviks.

French far leftists of all stripes have been in a flurry of activity in recent months, even though the next important elections are still three years off. One reason is that President Sarkozy serves as a perfect catalyst for radical rage. There’s also the meltdown of the financial system, seen by many here as the end of the free market system as we know it. And finally, the Socialist Party itself has been self-destructing, plagued by overinflated egos and endless infighting. The most recent embarrassment came during the election of a party secretary last November, with… More…

 

I’m bored.  I’m bored with my job, with my girlfriend, and with the current box office selection. I was hoping your column would be entertaining, but it’s not. Can you help me? — PJ, Phoenix, Arizona

I don’t think you need any help at all, PJ; you’re rather observant. A principle of life is repetition, and repetition, though delightful in the best examples of verse, is often boring. “Life, friends, is boring,” the speaker of John Berryman’s The Dream Songs asserts. “We must not say so./ After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,/ we ourselves flash and yearn,/ and moreover my mother told me as a boy/ (repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored/ means you have no/ Inner Resources.’” PJ, your case is not an anomaly, and though you can distract yourself with various Web sites… More…