“It is daily that the state is slapped”

FIGAROVOX / TRIBUNE – The President of the Republic was slapped during a trip to Drôme. This aggression is yet another symptom of the disintegration of society against a background of digital revolution and disintegration of the common good, considers Benjamin Sire.

Benjamin Sire is a composer and journalist.


Every day has its buzz, but each buzz does not have the same importance, even if all benefit from the same frenzied coverage by the media as we are, prancing at the head of network trends while weariness takes its course, before to be overwhelmed by a new upsurge in current affairs, more or less anecdotal, more or less significant, more or less symbolic.

As a symbol, the slap received yesterday by the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, during a trip to the Drôme carries a considerable weight. Everyone will see the one that suits or shocks him, and the breviary of the symbol has already been recited at length of columns. “It is France which is slapped through the President of the Republic”. “It is the Republic which is humiliated by this gesture”. “It is the presidential function, every day more weakened since Nicolas Sarkozy, which does not stop sinking”. “It is the personality of Emmanuel Macron who receives in the hollow of the cheek the sum of the hatred that he will have aroused for 4 years.”. «It is the testimony of the irremediable ensauvage of the company ”. “This is proof of the death of state authority.” “It is democracy that is targeted by this aggression.” “This is… “. It is in truth a little of all this and much more, if one wants to go well beyond the embarrassing scene which was played out yesterday, putting at the catches the head of the State and a band of hydrocephalic enthusiasts claiming to ‘a somewhat overplayed royalist mythology. Because in addition to the question of the president’s security, all the more at stake in the moment as weapons were found at the home of one of the attackers who offered his Wharolian quarter of an hour of light (for how many future anonymous days in the shadow of bars?), it is much more the state of society and of the individuals who compose it that we should question here.

It is not so much the responsibility of this Head of State or his immediate predecessors as a profound social transformation that has cracked all institutional structures for several decades and is rooted in the triumph of individualism.

Benjamin Sire

Of course, this is not the first time that a head of state has been molested in the perilous exercise of the walkabout, although it was rather a dip protected by unnecessary barriers and a service of strangely dilettante security. Maxime Tandonnet recalls it this morning in these columns, referring to the blow of the cane received by Émile Loubet on June 3, 1899, or to the beard of Armand Fallières, brutally pulled by a member of the Action Française, on December 25, 1908. We can add to these episodes the spitting received by Jacques Chirac during the campaign for his re-election in 2002, and especially the assassination attempt he will suffer a few months later by a far-right activist, Maxime Brunerie. The multiple initiatives to attack General de Gaulle’s life, or the flouring of François Hollande in 2014, or even the cavalier apostrophes suffered by Nicolas Sarkozy that led to the famous “Casse-toi pauv ‘con“And”Did you say that? Ben come down and say it!»Which surprised in the mouth of a President of the Republic.

But none of these events, perhaps with the exception of the cane on Émile Loubet, which responded to the heavy joint context of the Panama crisis and the Dreyfus Affair, took place in such a heavy and perilous general climate. , both for the Republic and for its institutions, as the one we attended yesterday. Because if Emmanuel Macron has been slapped in a tangible way, in the true sense of the word, and through him, his function as his person, it is in reality daily that the Republic is, symbolically slapped. And this is where the shoe pinches and the gesture is infinitely significant.

We have been repeating it for months, even though the opinion polls are strangely favorable for a president in place, particularly after 4 years of exercise, the State, the intermediary bodies and all the structures of representations are demonetized. to a point rarely seen in the history of this country. And it is not so much the responsibility of this Head of State or his immediate predecessors as a profound social transformation that has cracked all institutional structures for several decades and is rooted in the triumph of individualism and the quest. an autonomy which would dispense with any form of authority apart from the gifts that it can dispense. Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande or Emmanuel Macron, in their way of embodying the presidential function and gradually sliding it towards the society of spectacle and superficiality, are not causes but consequences and mirrors of the state of society. It is often said that we have the presidents we deserve, but in the circumstances, by their hyperpresence, by their desire to take care of everything and nothing, by their communication at ground level, the last holders of the function above all reflects the absence of a real presidential incarnation in a country which, on the one hand, no longer wants it, while on the other hand, worried about societal disintegration, dreams of order and bringing entire categories into line. Population.

These events form a compact and meaningful corpus which recounts the decrepitude of the institutional cement as well as the angry balkanization of souls, encouraged by networked behavior.

Benjamin Sire

In the age of the individual king, each one, gorged with his importance, as with his identity carried as a standard, believes himself in the right to challenge the authority of the State and its representatives, as evidenced by the uninterrupted growth of attacks against law enforcement officials or exercising elective functions. Thus, concerning the latter, in 2020, nearly 1,300 of them were the target of more or less serious violence, including 500 mayors, which represents an increase of 200% compared to 2018. These serious phenomena can be Also linked are the violent demonstrations that have punctuated the incontinent crisis of yellow vests, such as those, more episodic, which have seen health instructions be braved since the start of the Covid pandemic, where the ranting of some hysterical semi-stars, militant journalists , narcissistic lawyers, who dream of coups d’état, when it is not the mock decapitation of Emmanuel Macron that make the news, or the grunts of political “officials” who, by defying it, claim to embody the Republic . These events, to which can be added the atmosphere of latent violence that irrigates the suburbs and more and more neighborhoods of our cities, the incessant provocations against the police who have passed from the status of dissuasive authorities to that of privileged targets of small bosses animated by a strong feeling of impunity, but also these urban rodeos going so far as to taunt certain councilors under the windows of their town halls, form a compact and meaningful corpus which tells the decrepitude of the institutional cement as well as the angry balkanization of souls, encouraged by networked behavior. Thus the episode of the Macronian slap, seems to stage some trolls exempt from superego, no longer making the difference between the false impunity offered by their internet connection and real life. It is a form of video game syndrome that affects certain minds imagining that in the world, as in Call of Duty, death like deeds are not so tragic since they can be relived at will.

The phenomenon is not new and already, 25 years ago, Oliver Stone’s film, Natural born killer was put on the spot for having inspired the very real crimes of two young Americans, Sarah Edmondson and Benjamin Darras, and later others like the terrifying massacre of Columbine. But unlike these stories featuring very marginal and unrepresentative personalities, although Woody Harrelson’s report of the killer in cinema – himself really the son of a hitman – to the media is surprisingly contemporary, this The absence of distinction between the fictional or networked possibility and the transgression accomplished in real life are spreading with great concern to all strata of society.

Does this mean that, relieved of fear vis-à-vis institutions, symbols of authority and our superego, many of us are becoming pathological cases, as the psychiatrization of a growing number of facts would suggest. various, but also attacks with more or less terrorist contours? Maybe not yet. And yet. Not a day goes by that the news gives us the example of a case that responds to this worrying pattern, generating as the main response of the State, a tweet as proud as it is vain from the national representation and a visit ministerial with his torso bulging at the scene of a tragedy. Faced with this explosion in the quest for hubris and the violent desire for autonomy, the State, but also all the societies governed by a model close to ours, will be all the more continually powerless as governments, for example. the continued glorification that they make of identities and their lack of a search for a common ground only digs their own grave.

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