November 15, 2007

Parisians Regard These as Essential Services...

I had to laugh when reading, in the Washington Post this morning, this story about strikers challenging French President Nicolas Sarkozy's economic reforms:

But the transit stoppage was just the start of woes for residents, tourists and Sarkozy's six-month-old government. Technicians at the Paris Opera House and the Comedie Francaise and employees at electric and gas companies also walked off their jobs. Student strikes closed about one-third of the nation's universities.

Theater technicians leaving their posts? Don't the French have laws to prevent such an unraveling of civil society? And what society can long function without students showing up for classes?

I'm reminded of a bit from a Woody Allen short story, entitled Reminiscences: Places and People:

Autumn. Paris is crippled by another strike. Now it is the acrobats. No one is tumbling, and the city comes to a standstill. Soon the strike spreads to include jugglers, and then ventriloquists. Parisians regard these as essential services, and many students become violent. Two Algerians are caught practicing handstands and their heads are shaved.

The story is available in the Insanity Defense.

Posted by Ideofact at November 15, 2007 11:02 PM