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Home The Feuilleton of MilSan and MikWag
The Feuilleton of MilSan and MikWag

Fey- ye – TON?

The Art of the Feuilleton

Dusting off the feuilleton

Que-ce que c’est un feuilleton?

What the F*** is a Feuilleton?


Fey- ye – TÔN?


The name feuilleton didn’t narrow it down much for us either, hence the question mark.

La feuille is a sheet of paper and le feuilleton is a small sheet of paper. From the name, we deduced that these things are writings and that they are brief--Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time” at 4800 pages isn’t one of them. Interesting to note, though, that the two extremes—the absolute longest and some of the very shortest literary objects -- are of French origin.

The opinions of le monde didn’t help either. In more than 150 years of commentaire we found little consensus about the feuilleton. People can’t even agree if they are good things or bad things. We found both worshippers and villifiers. They definitely arouse passion, but what are they?


LaGarde en Garde: Bank Diet à la Française

French women don’t get fat. They simply won’t permit it to happen, and they look disparagingly on those who do. So it is no surprise that Christine Lagarde, French minister of economic affairs, has been reproaching the international banking system for its corpulence and overindulgence. She is calling on the banks to repent their financial gluttony, to show some self-control. “Nevermore,” says Lagarde to those banks that have lived too long in a state of morbid obesity. Her French Bank Diet prescribes a regimen that will make banks healthier and allow them to build financial muscle. In an August interview in Le Monde, she declared, “I want the French banks to exercise absolute discipline, and I’ll have zero tolerance for excesses.” At the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit, Madame Lagarde will expand her campaign internationally, advancing an agenda that would require all banks to go on the French Bank Diet.

Ms. Lagarde is proposing an absolute cap on bonuses and more oversight over bonus allocations, which should be phased in over several years. She calls them “anti-abuse, anti-excess rules.” This regulation, argue the French, would allow withholding a portion of bankers’ bonus pay if collateralized debt obligations are unlikely to be met, thus creating a healthier risk-reward balance in banker chow.

France’s recipe for slenderizing the banks, although promising sustainable results, will most likely fail to find sufficient support at the Pittsburgh Summit. The September 2009 meeting in London gathered G-20 finance ministers and central bankers to prepare for the Summit in Pittsburgh and discuss implications of the French banking reform plan. This meeting revealed, according to Le Monde, that the G-20 member states, even though recognizing the importance of regulating bonuses, are not that crazy about implementing the French prescriptions. Financial gurus say that the measures are too specific, entail too much interference from regulating authorities and require close oversight, which would be hard to enforce at the international level. The Financial Times, as well as Le Figaro, talk about American and British reluctance to religiously follow the French. They fear that French guidelines will make banks anorexic.


Can I ask you one question, Mr. President?

With just a few days to go before the G-20 Summit, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has plenty of topics to discuss. One of its favorites: Why was Pittsburgh chosen to host the G-20? The plainest theory of them all – President Obama likes Pittsburgh. He cheered for the Steelers in the Super Bowl. He praised the loyalty of those blue Pennsylvanians who cast their democratic votes in November’s election. Giving Pittsburgh a chance to meet the world is a great way to pay back the state and the city. And the Obama administration pays its debts.

But, Mr. President, you made promises this summer, promises that incurred a debt that will be much harder to pay off. You assured the people of Africa, “America will be with you.” When you visited Ghana in July, you gave a speech in the city of Accra, a speech that ignited hopes in Africa, hopes for the future of a continent in peril. Standing before the Ghanaian Parliament, you pledged that “America will be more responsible in extending our hand.” You reaffirmed the commitment of the United States “to put more resources in the hands of those who need them.” “Our commitment,” you said, “must be measured by more than just the dollars we spend.”


Ten Bears Speaks (about Sarah Palin)

Former Alaskan state senator William Iggiagruk Hensley listened for months as others spoke about Sarah Palin. Then came these 837 words:

In Alaska, Qiviters Never Win. New York Times, July 25, 2009 - by William Iggiagruk Hensley