Culture de la Grève

October 17, 2006 at 11:28 am | Posted in art, vie quotidienne | 8 Comments

I wandered over to the Centre Pompidou the other day, hoping to buy a museum membership (both Yves Klein and Robert Rauschenberg are showing now, and there’s no way I can do all that in one day), but I found it unexpectedly closed.

Pompidou closed

Transcription: En raison d’un mouvement sociale, le centre Pompidou est ferme aujourd’hui. Veuillez nous excuser pour la gene occasionnee. / Owing to strike action, the Centre Pompidou will not be open to the public to day [sic]. We apologize for the inconvenience.

And scrawled in the middle is the word “méchants”, roughly translated to “jerks” or “meanies”.

Nearby, someone went to the trouble to post their own make-shift notice:

good question

“Culture on strike, or culture of striking?” (Even in graffitti, the French always manage to be witty and sardonic.)

I have to admit, though, I was a little surprised at the sentiment. I haven’t been following French news much, so I have no idea what the strike was about, but in the past I have generally found the French to be very supportive of each others’ strikes: I know from experience that one small labor conflict can rapidly shut down the whole country as everyone strikes in solidarity.

I don’t know why there was so little support for this particular strike, but it’s worth remembering that Pompidou is more than just a tourist site. In addition to housing the national museum of modern art, the Centre also contains a public reference library, a music research institute, and various other educational spaces. A lot of people come there to work or study, so I guess they were a bit put out. In a generous (or maybe accidental) gesture, however, it appears that Pompidou had left its WiFi on, even as the building was closed: all around the museum, people were crouched crankily on the ground, their laptops propped up on their knees.

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8 Comments

  1. The library there is awesome.

    I wonder if the person that put that Culture de la grève sign realises that, ironically, they are adding fuel to the fire?

    It’s the French way, I guess. You like it or lump it. Though seriously, sometimes you’d like to give them lumps. Don’t get me started when the trains go on strike. My eye starts to twitch…

  2. JChevais –

    I know what you mean about the trains. But the way I figure it, strikes in France are like blizzards in Buffalo. Inconvenient, sure, but what are you going to do? You can’t shake your fist at the weather.

  3. Sadly, I agree. Which is why I’m glad that most commuters have a “we’re in this hell together” attitude.

  4. […] Donutgirl snapped this pic at the Centre Pompidou, where strikers have been struck with an insult. She reports: I don’t know why there was so little support for this particular strike, but it’s worth remembering that Pompidou is more than just a tourist site. In addition to housing the national museum of modern art, the Centre also contains a public reference library, a music research institute, and various other educational spaces. A lot of people come there to work or study, so I guess they were a bit put out. In a generous (or maybe accidental) gesture, however, it appears that Pompidou had left its WiFi on, even as the building was closed: all around the museum, people were crouched crankily on the ground, their laptops propped up on their knees. […]

  5. Funny pingback. I was the accidental contributor for the “I spit on your grève Part I”.

  6. Small world, JChevais.

  7. lapetiteamericaine > I know what you mean about the trains. But the way I figure it, strikes in France are like blizzards in Buffalo. Inconvenient, sure, but what are you going to do?

    “A en croire les médias dominants, les Français sont un peuple par trop contestataire[…]. En compilant les résultats de sept travaux […] traitant de la conflictualité dans différents pays industrialisés, nous allons voir quel crédit l’on peut accorder à la doxa médiatique.”

    “La France, pays des grèves ?”
    http://www.acrimed.org/imprimer.php3?id_article=2415

  8. […] In searching google for an image I came across this blogger who was disappointed to find the Pompidou closed and snapped a photo of the sign on the door as […]


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