Saturday, April 26, 2008

Corporate Feudalism: Cradle To Grave

Yesterday was supposed to be the Obama Peace Bridge Meet-Up on Pont Neuf bridge in Paris (Here are photos from similar Obama bridge events). I wanted to go and maybe meet some Democrats Abroad members, as well as some Obama supporters that live here in Paris. That Guy and I were an hour late, because, well, one of us is almost always late, and one of us has rarely ever been late for anything, but the lateness value system has won out over the on-time value system in my relationship. A revolution is brewing. The Bastille might have to be burned. To the ground.

But, I digress.

So...there were no Obama supporters to be found. We had asked our Irish friend Robert if he'd like to meet us there so that we could go for a beer afterwards and maybe some dinner later on in the evening. He arrived on time at 3pm (how...bourgeois of him), and said that he only saw 4-5 Obama people and they didn't stay long. So, we started to look for a place to have a beer, and since we were right there on the Seine, everything is pretty touristy and high-priced. We've become "Snobs of the 18th." We like our funky little ethnic 18th arrondissement better than the slicko, expensive ones.

But, we walked down a side street along the left side of the still-closed Samaritain department store, and found a funky little joint, where we could sit outside and have a cold beer. They even had a silky gray cat called Manuche (Gypsy) who had a stubbed tail. We had an amazing discussion about That Guy's friend Greil Marcus's book Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century. If you know the book, you'll understand why our conversation wandered through Marcel Duchamp, the Situationists and Johnny Rotten.

As the sun began to wane, we took a nice long walk to the St. Denis area, to our favorite old-fashioned cafe, Chez Jeanette on Rue du Faubourg St. Denis. When we finally started to get hungry, we walked down Passage Brady - it's like a street that runs in between or through two buildings. The passage was full of Indian restaurants, and they had tables set up outside in the middle of the passage. We ate a great meal by candlelight.

Before it became too dark, I was able to catch this photo of the graffiti on one of the walls at the far end of the passage:

Of course, I was attracted by the Fuck Bu$h sign (I'm just that kind of girl), but the guy in the middle, wearing what looks like a Christmas hat, was really the focal point of the picture. His sign says, "Aren't I Alive?"

The image above his head says in English, along the top: Corporate Feudalism. Along the bottom it says, "cradle to grave."

Well. I hadn't heard the term Corporate Feudalism before. So, I just went on an hours-long research and know a tiny bit more. I found this interesting article by Manuel Valenzuela. I wouldn't call it a light read. Here's Manuel Valenzuela's blog. This guy writes. A lot. It looks like I need to go on a learning jag. I found the same graffiti image on Flickr, taken in the UK, I believe. I'm still searching for its origin. I'll update this post if I find it. I got lost in my search and need to get this darn post published.

The Situationists would be proud of me for taking such a derive.


Hungry Mother said...

Interesting graffiti. I've never run into that phrase (Corporate Feudalism) before either, but it conjures up imagined scenes from "The Organization Man."

Jennifer said...

Now I want to dust off our copy of Lipstick Traces, which I had a hard time getting through (I found it a little bombastic) and hang out on the internet reading about corporate feudalism. Thanks for an interesting read.