The ‘Bécassine Memorial Lectures’ on Urban Populism


Come on, be positive, guys…be positive!
Quick, be positive ‘cos we’ve gotta be pragmatic.

Overheard café conversation between students preparing for the H.E.C. at a major Parisian lycée.

The Bécassines and Gideons of the preindustrial and industrial eras, bogged down in a kind of sincere, earthy idiocy, their horizons limited by the clock tower or the suburban bistro, seem to be opposed on all counts to the whole new age, connected, volatile population that is so pleased with itself for being able to cackle electronically from London to Tokyo or Paris to Honolulu. Out of a concern for precision, we exhibit two picturesque prototypes, Bécassine Turbo-Diesel and Gideon Cyber-Plus (or, for short, Turbo-Bécassine and Cyber-Gideon, or even Neo-Bécassine and Neo-Gideon)…