Jesus, this week has been a bad one. A pre-apocalyptic sense of inevitable full-spectrum doom seems to have gripped The West, for whatever that epithet is worth anymore. Asymmetrical hooligan warfare and the ISIS-inspired stabbing of a police chief in France, vicious and desperate Brexit vitriol and the ugly killing of Labour MP Joe Cox all combined in an atmosphere of degeneration and angry futility. The Trumpification of civilization has spread like terminal gangrene across the Atlantic and is bringing out the savages in all of us, and the last straw for the full of manifestation of this disease may well have been Orlando.
So that quivering blancmange in Versaille has gone and done what he’s been threatening to do for quite a while and extended the state of emergency laws until the end of July. While it remains secret to what degree the new powers actually aided the subsequent manhunt for those hate-spewing, murderous scum, they have certainly found extra-curricular deployment against climate change activists and demonstators against the labour law reforms.
This latest renewal is ostensibly to provide sufficient security for the Tour de France and the UEFA 2016 (the threats to which have been the subject of near-daily fear mongering) and is rumoured to be the last. I have my doubts — the dangers of state of exception legislation are perhaps the only debate in which ‘Hitler’ is in fact a legitimate point — but in this particular instance the issue has been oddly well covered by the New York Times. As such, Hollande’s amassing of executive power is not the main topic of today’s rant. Instead, a rhetorical trend that caught my ire in January and has since refused to go away: ‘The New Normal.’