Monday, April 10, 2006


Dear Indigna,

I just read that the French government caved to its “student protesters” and chucked its new law that would allow employers to actually fire young employees under the age of 26 who fail to perform--though only within the first two years of employment!

I have four questions:

(1) Why are these kids considered “students” when most of them are spending all day lounging about in the Jardin des Tuileries “protesting”

(2) Why are some of the victorious “students,” according to the BBC, “unwilling to abandon their protest”

(3) Exactly what standard of living do these kids believe the world owes them simply for drawing breath, and

(4) Is this all because the French are bad parents?

Good Capitalist, Good Parent
New York, New York

Dear Good,

I will answer your questions in the order in which they were received.

(1) Everyone under the age of 35 in France is legally and technically a “student,” whether or not they are literate or actually attend classes of any kind, as long as they spend 50% or more of their time “protesting”

(2)(a) The students are unwilling to abandon their protests because the government is still run by a bunch of old farts instead of brilliant 15- to 35-year-old students who obviously know how to get things done

(2)(b) If they stopped “protesting” they’d have to go back to “school,” which in France can technically include Communist Party meetings and/or seminars on “How to Protest,” “Identifying Protesting Opportunities,” “How to Sustain a Protest When It Threatens to Impinge on Spring Break” and “Continuing a Protest Despite Unexpectedly Swift Victory”

(3) The students simply expect no more than the most reasonable standard of living, perhaps best summed up by beloved Franco-Persian poet Omar Citroën: “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou, beside me, singing in the Jardin des Tuileries while we protest the government’s suggestion that we participate in the free market”

(4) Yes, this has all been brought about by the notoriously atrocious habits of French parents. They are rumored to model such behavior for their offspring as bathing infrequently, smoking Gitanes and drinking red wine, developing delectable pastries and rich sauces that are irresistible only to Americans while taunting us with books like the bestseller, “French Women Don’t Get Fat: In Your Face America!” and dragging their children along to seminars like “How Protesting Can Get Rich Capitalists To Subsidize Your Lifestyle.”

That said, the new law the French government has proposed is rather interesting. It includes, according to the BBC, “state support for employers hiring young people who face the most difficulties in gaining access to the labour market,” such as the lazy, illiterate, drug-addled, psychiatrically disabled, comatose, or “students.” The government will give employers money to hire these youths at living wages either to remain in their parents’ home watching TV, drinking red wine and smoking Gitanes, or to go out and protest company, governmental, and/or American policies while eating bread, drinking wine, and singing in the Jardin des Tuileries.


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