This is an open-ended blog ranging from news about my latest gigs and publications
to ruminations about politics, world affairs, culture and whatever piques my interest—or ire.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


An astute reader asked if I saw any point of comparison between the euphoric reaction to the Saints' victory and the glow that followed France's World Cup victory in 1998.
In fact, as I watched the Saints' victory parade today, it reminded me of nothing more than the celebrations following the French world soccer championship in 1998. The effects in that case went far beyond the sports field. The World Cup victory was followed by a period of popular optimism and confidence (contrasting with the habitual morose, wining tendency of the French), economic improvement, enhanced prestige on the world stage, and even an easing of ethnic frictions as people saw what France's mixed-race ("black-blanc-beur") team had accomplished by working together. I would hope that some of these same benefits can flow from the Saints' victory.
But the French example is not so positive in the medium-term: as the World Cup glow wore off, the economy soured again, political infighting between a conservative president and a Socialist prime minister threatened to gridlock the government, and racial tensions rose to the point where the anti-immigrant National Front leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, came in second to the incumbent, Jacques Chirac, in the 2002 Presidential election. Oh, and France was eliminated from the 2002 World Cup after failing to score a single goal in four games. So let's hope that New Orleans enjoys something akin to the first phase of French's World Cup glow, without suffering from the hangover that followed.

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