I recently stumbled onto a short, but excellent book by Soviet dissident author Anatoly Gladilin who moved to Paris in 1976 during the strongest days of Brezhnev and worked for Radio Liberty. The book, called “Rogues and Criminals, Welcome to Paris!” is a collection of uber-politically incorrect observations of the state of affairs in France. While some of Gladilin’s arguments and anecdotes seem exaggerated, overall, the book appears sadly accurate. Unsurprisingly, it has not been translated from its original Russian.
To illustrate the hierarchy of protected groups in France, Gladilin invites the readers to imagine that he runs up to Bertrand Delanoe, the mayor of Paris, and yells out a series of slurs and insults, directed in turn at Blacks, Arabs, Jews, Russians, Americans, and homosexuals. He then predicts the punishments for the various crimes against tolerance and political correctness against each of the groups. For insulting Blacks and Arabs, he’ll be quickly put on trial for instigating race hatred and locked up for 10 years. For yelling anti-Jewish slurs, he’ll be publicly censured and fined 100 euros. If he insults Russians, no court will even hear the complaint (and I should add, the mainstream media will commend him for standing up to the tyrannical homophobe Putin). As for insulting Americans, well, according to Gladilin, everyone will pretend they heard nothing and then French TV will invite him to one of their popular shows where he’ll be asked about his future literary plans and works. Now, for insulting gays, he claims that he’ll get 20 years in prison and no presidential amnesties will be able to help him.
Hyperbole? To be sure, but will it sound so hyperbolic in the next few years? Next, I’ll share some of Gladilin’s first-hand observations about the state of affairs in French public schools.