Les Internautes

I was looking at color patterns of the buildings facing the Villefranche harbor this morning when I took this photo. I didn’t even see the spectacular spokes of clouds until I checked the image on my camera afterward. What a show!

Today Darlene and I took the train to Cannes, then a bus to Mougins, where we picked up Françoise’s blue Honda and drove it back to Villefranche. Everything went fine, except we missed the first train to Cannes. I was short 50 centimes at the automatic ticket machine, so I ran through the tunnel under the tracks to the station, to get more change, but the machine on that side didn’t work, so I ended up standing in line at the window inside the station to buy a ticket the old-fashioned way. I ran all the way back through the tunnel and arrived just as the train was pulling away, with Darlene wisely still standing on the platform. This provided us with an hour and a half for breakfast in Villefranche and, of course, the photo.

Today’s Le Monde has a front-page article on blogs, which now number 2.7 million in France. The headline writer sneeringly titled the piece, “Les blogs, passion des adolescents,” but the article itself was very well done. It included a little sidebar stating that the national Commission responsible for such matters has published an advisory urging French speakers to quit calling them “blogs.” The now-official term in French is “bloc-notes” or “bloc” for short. But if the Le Monde writers’ example is any indication, the Commission’s directive will be widely ignored. Except for the sidebar, the reporters referred to “blog” and “blogs” throughout the lengthy article.

A word which fares better in French is “un internaute,” which seems to mean “one who uses the internet.” I like this French word, because it suggests an explorer, a new category of traveler, an “internaute.”

I was impressed to learn that 2 million of the French blogs are hosted by a single enterprise, Skyrock radio, a progressive company which has been a leader in the “free radio” movement, which apparently promotes free exchange of music. I am sure the national Commission cringes at the “Skyblogs” name given to those 2 million sites, but there you are.

And why do so many French young people blog? Pierre Bellanger, président of Skyrock, says they are the first “natifs du numérique,” or “digital natives.” He added, “Pour eux, le blog offre un moyen d’expression facile, gratuit, et qui les immerge immédiatement dans la communauté de leurs pairs.” Or: “For them, the blog offers a way of expression that is easy, free, and which immerses them immediately in the community of their peers.”

One Skyblogger quoted in the article put it this way: “Je blogue parce que je veux exister.” Or, as France’s own Réne Descartes would have translated it, “I blog, therefore I am.”

The Le Monde piece included a cartoon showing a mother looking over the shoulder of her child, asking, “Je peux savoir ce que tu racontes sur moi?” (“May I know what you are saying about me?”) The child answers, “ça ne regarde que les autres.” (“That concerns only the others.”)

The piece mentioned three prominent French bloggers, Chryde, Laurent Gloaguen, and Loïc Le Meur. Their sites tonight are rightly buzzing with excitement about having been mentioned by the grand gray citadel of French print, Le Monde. And bravo to Le Monde for fairly covering a phenomenon whose partisans believe will one day put the mainstream media out of business. Posted by Hello

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