Monday, 14 December 2009

Johnny B. Goode

I have always thought, that sensational journalism was a monopoly of the English tabloids, and that serious media, TV stations such as France 1 and BBC 1, were not sensation-prone. Well, I have changed my mind about France 1 (which is not a public, but a commercial station). On one of those days the climate conference in Copenhagen and accompanying demonstrations were on every front page of the newspapers, the (national) TV news of 20h00 on France 1 spent ten minutes on the topic of French rock star Johnny Halliday being admitted into an American hospital. No, the guy did not die; he was simply admitted into hospital. To demonstrate how disproportional the coverage was: the journal lasts 30 minutes, of which the last ten normally are reserved for culture and sports. Hence the remaining ten minutes were reserved for such trivia as the climate conference, an escaped murderer, problems with the magistrates, the debate about the national identity and the like. Artists in France, and certainly French artists, have an enormous status compared to artists in other countries. Still, I cannot get to grips with journalists waiting in front of a hospital, interviewing people like Charles Aznavour, Sylvie Vartan and other celebrities who went to the USA head over heals; obviously there is absolutely nothing else they can talk about. Having said that, Johnny is a national hero, manages to get his face day in day out in the tabloids, and recently did a very successful farewell tour along all the big podia in France. He certainly deserves a place somewhere in the news, but not necessarily everyday as the first topic. Only yesterday, when Berlusconi got kicked in the teeth Johnny was given a second slot of 10 minutes after 2 minutes for Berlusconi. Even our local daily, the magnificent Journal de Saône-et-Loire, has got Johnny’s portrait on the front page of each edition. The hype around the death of lady Di seems to be calm behaviour compared to the hype around Johnny. Whatever will happen if the man really dies one day? Three days of national mourning, entombing his body in the Panthéon in Paris, orchestrated by Sarko himself? Time will tell....

The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

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