I was just in Paris and talked to quite a few bartenders and so forth. Suffice to say the American dollar is barely worth the paper it’s printed on, so we may have spent most of our time in the more dodgy areas of town.
That said, I believe we interviewed quite a cross-section, in our pidgeonish Franglais. I was repeatedly told variants of the following:
1. Bush and Sarko (Sarkozy) are the same. (usually followed by an obscene gesture)
2. Sarko won because a weak candidate ran against him. (followed by a warning not to do the same in US)
3. Diebold voting machines are stealthily and gradually being installed in France. (followed usually by the comment, “We don’t want to happen in France what happened in US” = stolen election(s).
4. Unions are getting weaker and demonstrations and strikes are ignored in US and France and anywhere else they’re tried, because of globalization.
There were Chinese products everywhere, and a few suspected sweatshops, lots of immigrants “sans papiers” (& a demonstration planned to try to get preschool services for their children). Alot of things seemed familiar (though we are still having “reverse culture shock” upon returning to America).
We were staying in the area of Paris that was formerly known for incidents such as the “storming of the Bastille,” which was inspiring, but I have no doubt that something of the like needs to be done periodically, whenever the rich get too uppity.