A season in hell for culture

What if summer doesn’t happen? Not that of apricots and heat waves of course (everything suggests that ruthless nature unrolls its carpet of daisies like every year). On the other hand, that of culture and its traditions, which have become vital manna for the cinema and music sectors, threatens more and more seriously to be postponed. In Hollywood, it’s blockbuster season, with its releases spread out from mid-May to the end of August for nearly 40% of the annual revenues of the major studios, which is being canceled by the latter, more and more worried about seeing the empty multiplexes even if they were reopened for July, as is currently the case in China. In France, the summer of festivals is threatened in its entirety, supported by a request that may seem suicidal from Olivier Darbois, president of Prodiss, National Syndicate of Musical and Variety Shows. A letter sent by the latter to the Ministry of Culture on March 30 claims indeed “Prefectural orders at the national level for the cancellation of the events of 2020”.

In both cases, the goal is to limit the breakage: tentpole movies Americans with very large budgets could not recoup their costs without massive attendance at theaters; on the side of festival turners and organizers, it is a question of avoiding last-minute cancellations which would tear apart the insurance safety net and considerably widen the abyss of a year weaned from revenue. The collateral effects for the smallest, on the other hand, seem to be the opposite: more modest cinematographic productions could always fare well by going out in more uncertain conditions, even directly on VOD, while the small and medium structures behind the smallest music festivals would not survive a postponement in 2021 of all the events organized for this summer. A petition at the initiative of the Technopol association and some fifty structures wants to defend their “Right to flexibility” and “Maintaining their events” – within the limits of public safety, of course.

This post is from the new daily newsletter of the Culture de Liberation service, sent every evening. To register, just enter your email address here.

Olivier Lamm


From today: Dogs are forced to leash in nature | NDR.de – News

As of April 1, 2020 at 6:35 a.m.

NDR 1 Lower Saxony

Dogs must be kept on a leash from April to July in open areas. (Archive picture)

You can’t really move around freely at the moment: the corona virus and the corresponding restrictions are omnipresent. And now the time has come again in which dogs in Lower Saxony can no longer walk unhindered: From today, a leashing obligation applies. In the open landscape, dogs have to be on a leash – in the forest, on dirt roads, in meadows and on water.



Hello Lower Saxony

04/01/2019 07:30 p.m.

Hello Lower Saxony

From April, dogs are required to have a leash in the open countryside. Wild animals should not be disturbed when rearing their young. But where does the free landscape begin?
Video (01:59 min)

Dogs should not disturb wild animals during rearing

The reason for the regulation is the breeding and setting time of wild animals. In some species, the female animals are now high-bearing, as the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture explains. In this state, they could not move so easily and take flight. Rabbits and wild boars already have offspring, many species of birds start breeding. If a browsing dog drives out a breeding bird, the clutch can cool down. If he sniffs a young animal that may smell like a dog, the adult animals may disregard their offspring.

Different regulations for parks

This special protection period is regulated in Section 33 of the Lower Saxony Law on Forests and Landscape Management. Hunting dogs, rescue, herding, blind and police dogs are exempt from the leash during a mission. In addition, according to the Nature Conservation Association (NABU), the regulation does not apply to parks in the city. However, municipalities are free to impose their own rules here. In Hanover, for example, dogs must always be kept on a leash in public parks and green areas.

Violations can be expensive

The linen requirement is valid until July 15th. Dog owners who do not abide by it commit an administrative offense. The fine can be up to 5,000 euros.

Law on compulsory linen in Lower Saxony

In the open landscape, every person is obliged
1. Ensure that dogs under their supervision
a) do not stray or poach and
b) on a leash from April 1 to July 15 (general breeding, setting and rearing time), unless they are used for lawful hunting, as rescue or herding dogs or by the police, are used by the Federal Border Guard or customs or are trained guide dogs for the blind (…).

Extract from paragraph 33 of the Lower Saxony Law on Forests and Landscape Planning

Further information

03/12/2019 07:30 p.m.

Young rabbits, foxes and fawns: With spring, the animal children also come. What should you watch out for when finding animal offspring? Questions and answers in the FAQ.

This topic in the program:

NDR 1 Lower Saxony |
Current |
04/01/2020 | 8:00 a.m.

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They must pay! Trump’s challenging message to the Dukes of Sussex – Telemundo Utah

President Donald Trump assured on Sunday that the United States would not pay for the safety of the Dukes of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, if they moved to the United States.

“I am a great admirer of the Queen and the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the (United Kingdom), would reside permanently in Canada. Now that they have left Canada to come to the US, however, the US will not pay their security protection. They must pay! “Trump said on his Twitter account.

The Dukes’ Office responded shortly thereafter: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have no plans to request security resources from the US government. Security preparations have been made with private funds. “

This week, several US and UK media revealed that the couple had changed their residence to settle in Los Angeles, the capital of the entertainment industry.

According to an exclusive published by People magazine and The Sun newspaper, they moved to southern California earlier than expected due to the coronavirus crisis, in order to prevent the closure of borders from affecting their working life in the US, since up to now they lived in Canada.

The news of the change of residence coincides with the announcement that the Disney factory made this week about its first collaboration with Markle, who will lend his voice to narrate a documentary about nature called “Elephant”.

This is the first audiovisual-related job for the American actress after she decided to leave Hollywood to marry Prince Harry in 2018.

The issue of their safety has already raised blisters in Canada, when they moved to this country and announced in January their effective “resignation” from the British Royal House.

British media claimed that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had relayed to Queen Elizabeth that Canada would bear at least part of the cost of the Dukes of Sussex’s residence, but it was unclear whether he would ultimately bear those of security.

The cost of security for the Dukes of Sussex in Canada was estimated to be as high as C $ 1.7 million a year, about $ 1.3 million.


Let’s eat life against the Covid-19: Nordine Labiadh’s strawberries make spring

Happy who like the cook always makes us travel. On the moleskin bench of a chic brasserie as on the wobbly chair of a boui-boui, bectance ignores borders. Obviously in these times of confinement, you will tell me macache, nada, impossible to go bang the bell in our favorite canteen. All the more reason to connect to the Planet + channel on Sunday March 29 at 9:55 p.m. where we will find cook Nordine Labiadh as part of the documentary series. Planet Chefs (1). From Paris to Zarzis in Tunisia, the director Stéphane Carrel set out for a month in the footsteps of the chef of the restaurant A mi-chemin, in Paris, to recount his journey as singular as it is moving.

Taste passer

Who better than Nordine Labiadh can take us to the end of our dreams of adventurous taste buds with his “cuttlefish chorba”, his “simmered milk-fed veal dumplings, fine dill semolina”, his “rice with coconut milk cardamom, served lukewarm “? We will never stop repeating it, Nordine Labiadh is a ferryman of tastes and flavors between his native Tunisia and France where he landed one winter evening in 1999. He first learned the canons of French gastronomy, the dishes of these regions which made him dream of France when he was a child, he followed the Tour de France from Zarzis, a port city in the south-east of Tunisia.

Beef bourguignon

In the kitchen, it took this humble and generous man time to free himself from what he thought was a one-way trip to France and its tricolor cuisine. It also took all the love of his wife Virginie, a Breton expert in natural wines, to convince him that he was going to overcome the tension between bourguignon and couscous and revisit all these dishes by putting his own creativity and sensitivity of the child who contemplated his mother washing the spices in a palm sieve. He could have contented himself with hanging up the wagons between France and Tunisia by jiggling a bit of both in the ambient air of the fusion kitchen. But he did much more than this shortcut, he invented his own score according to the seasons, his meetings. Take his mayonnaise eggs. There is no more French bistro than this entry. Nordine Labiadh revisits them by flavoring mayonnaise with ras-el-hanout, a blend of sunny spices from across the Mediterranean. And he grates a little poutargue over it, these dried mullet eggs prepared by a Corsican fishing friend, an island of which Nordine and Virginie have become true ambassadors. We come to their restaurant, without guide or compass, motionless traveler but nourished by all the dreams of an extraordinary magician cook. In Stéphane Carrel’s documentary, he finds an old fisherman in the port of Zarzis whom he knows well and who says to him: “The fish always leave and come back.”


For Release, he concocted a dessert around the strawberry, simple and tasty: you need two trays of gariguette strawberries; 500g of cottage cheese; a grapefruit ; a tablespoon of brown sugar. Wash and dry the strawberries and grapefruit thoroughly. Hull the strawberries and marinate them for five minutes in the squeezed grapefruit juice. Place the fromage blanc in the center of a large plate. Sprinkle with a little grated grapefruit skin. Surround it with strawberries and their juice on which you will have sprinkled the brown sugar.

(1) Planet Master on Planète +, a documentary series by Stéphane Carrel. Sunday March 29, 8:55 p.m .: first part, chef Beatriz Gonzalez; 9:55 p.m., second part Nordine Labiadh.

Replay on April 3 at 11:05 a.m., on 4 at 11:25 a.m. and on 9 at 10:35 a.m.

Jacky durand


animals reclaim cities

Since the start of containment, images have shown that the cessation of human activity allows the planet to gain some respite.

In Paris, ducks were seen for example walking around the Comédie Française:

In Paris, ducks take advantage of confinement to go out – Watch on Figaro Live

Another example is in the north of Italy, and more particularly in Venice. Containment there literally stopped all activity based almost exclusively on tourism. With the boats now docked, the waters became clearer than usual at this time, regaining their luster of yesteryear. An incredible event for locals who are rediscovering a whole new way of enjoying their environment, as Marco Contessa, a Venetian resident, explains on Facebook.

With a slow world, wild animals and plants take advantage of the newfound calm, while humans take more time to observe nature. Thus, the inhabitants of large cities have happily rediscovered the twittering of birds. Boars have been spotted in Barcelona, a young cougar has ventured through the streets of Santiago de Chile, dolphins are gathering in the Mediterranean …

A puma about one year old was seen in Santiago, Chile. ANDRES PINA / AFP

However, the presence of animals is mostly due to their search for food. Some species no longer find ways to feed themselves.

Peacocks and goats roaming free in Spain

With the sudden drop in human presence, urban wild animals “have free time to circulate in cities“Romain Julliard, director of research at the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN), told AFP. He cites the example of foxes: “They change their behavior very quickly, when a space is quiet, they go there. “

Animals and birds living in urban parks, such as sparrows, pigeons and crows, can leave their usual territories and “free up space for other animals” Are the birds, usually discreet in town, more numerous? Rather, we hear them better. Some of them “stop singing when there is noise. Now they stop stopping“Explains Jérôme Sueur, acoustics specialist at MNHN.

The noise also disrupts their behavior and generates stress, he continues. It is to be hoped that the disappearance of the human cacophony is “beneficial»For animals, in full breeding season in spring. “Animals are cleared of human noise“Summarizes the researcher.

In Madrid, in the Spanish capital, several categories of animals stand out during the quarantine. Some suffer from lack of food in the absence of people who usually give them food. Thus, the ducks and the magnificent peacocks of the Retiro park decided to jump the fences of the park to go in search of food.

In more rural areas, mountain animals come to town after dark. As in this Spanish town of Albacete, where a resident posted a video showing how goats have gathered in the village square in the evening since the residents were confined to their homes.

Life at sea

In the countryside and at sea too, wildlife could do better. In France, containment ended the hunting season a little early. Quarantine occurs when, for certain species, the mating season is in full swing. This is the case for the common toad and the spotted salamander, which “cross roads and get run over regularly“Says Jean-Noël Rieffel, Val-de-Loire regional director of the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB). The melanocephalic gulls, which nest on sandbanks on the Loire, are usually disturbed. But now, no more walkers, dogs, quads or canoes. No curious either to touch the fawns.

In the calanques national park, not far from Marseille, closed to walkers and boaters, “nature and species find their natural spaces at a speed that surprises us“, Says its president Didier Réault. During their last outings, the National Park agents observed a great deal of “life” at sea: groups of dolphins, large puffin rafts, gannets, tuna hunts, gray heron passing by … It is not uncommon to come across these species in the Calanques, the frequency and density of the observations that have been made are unprecedented.

Marseille in the background, Scopoli puffins take advantage of the lack of human activity. LIONEL LASO / AFP

Ditto for plants. Protected wild orchids grow in late April / early May and are sometimes picked by walkers, says Jean-Noël Rieffel. They could escape it this year. In town, uncut lawns bloom and offer “resources for bumblebees, bees, butterflies“Explains Romain Julliard. For the scientist, “perhaps the most important phenomenon is that our attention to nature is changing: confined people realize how much they miss nature

A short respite

Cloistered at home, at their window or in their garden, everyone has more time to observe nature and rediscover it. The site Vigienature lists various initiatives.

Operation “confined but on the lookout” of the Bird protection league allows “to open its window, to observe the birds, to identify them if we can», Indicates its president Allain Bougrain-Dubourg.

The confinement of humans could however be bad news for species accustomed to feeding on their waste. Another drawback: aid operations for endangered species or the fight against invasive species are interrupted, notes Loïc Obled, Deputy Managing Director of the OFB. It will also be necessary to manage the exit from containment. “There will be a need for nature, and an overcrowding which can be unfavorable for the flora and fauna“Warns Jean-Noël Rieffel. Birds that would nest in a deserted schoolyard would be disturbed. The respite will remain short-lived.


Containment: what if home sports made us better?

Seghir Lazri works on the theme of social vulnerability of athletes. In this column, he takes a few pictures of sport through the social sciences. How the social explains sport, and vice versa.

The measures taken following the appearance of the Covid-19 in Europe have paralyzed all high-level sport activity and containment has prohibited mass sports. These restrictions do not prevent you from practicing a physical activity at home, or even from running outside, of course respecting the health rules laid down. This unprecedented situation implicitly invites us to rethink our physical and sporting activity. Therefore we ask ourselves: what benefit can we derive from a sporting activity during a period of confinement?

Read also The Tour de France in the hot seat: the tracks to save the ordeal

Return to self

First, the body of knowledge about the sporting phenomenon reminds us that sport is broadly divided into two systems. If modern sport is characterized by confrontation with others through competition leading to a hierarchy of individuals, it is also a means for individuals to confront themselves. This second aspect, as sociologist Paul Yonnet recalls, calls on individuals to engage in a “Private, intimate competition, of which they are the only judges”, measuring “Both figuratively and literally”. The current situation actually favors this aspect of the sporting phenomenon by inviting us to practice an activity to keep us in shape, while limiting our travel and our contacts. Thus the obsession with performance is reduced and the idea of ​​merit is detached from the prioritization with others.

Read also Physical activity: upper body

From a more anthropological point of view, this very absence of competition and classification appears as a “Celebration of the body, sensations and emotions”, according to analyzes by researcher David Le Breton. Indeed, for the latter, the concern to measure oneself “And to do better than the last time” feeds “An intensity of being that is lacking in the ordinary”. And in this sense, claim this form of “duality” in front of you is to confront your “Personal resources, his sagacity, his resistance, his nerves”. It is sort of redirecting your efforts and better redefining them. This home practice therefore invites us to experience “Soothing our limits and taking flesh in our existence”.

The effort as moral elevation

These writings by David Le Breton concerning sport for oneself, one that one does at home or alone outdoors, also highlight the importance of effort and its nature. On this specific topic, the work of the philosopher Isabelle Queval informs us about the notion of “great effort”. According to her, the good effort would be an act which would be freed from the moral of the permanent surpassing of oneself, that is to say from the idea “To be somewhere where we are not”. In other words, the good effort would be an action far from the external forms of domination, allowing the individual to be accomplished “By finding oneself”. The period of confinement then appears to be an adequate time to reconnect with this idea of ​​good effort, since this notion also refers to the conception that certain Greek and Roman thinkers had of physical exercise and more generally of human action.

Read also Covid-19: time out for athletes

In a closed and finished world as the ancient philosophers and in particular Aristotle could conceive it, physical and intellectual perfection is synonymous with correspondence with nature and its order. Thus, physical exercise that allows you to be in good shape and in good health is fully recommended, but with a certain weighting relative to natural limits. Body activity must respond to a balance and “Should not be practiced at the expense of other disciplines”, as philosophy researcher Mael Goarzin reminds us. For the latter, physical exercise in the ancient world has no other objective than the virtue of the soul, in particular courage (a fair balance between fear and recklessness). Physical exercise, as the ancients recommended, should above all allow a moral elevation beneficial to the city. And in this sense doing sport in moderation, as we are forced to do in this period, also allows us to be more virtuous for society.

In short, confinement is an opportunity to practice sport differently. The injunctions specific to sports competition (especially with others) being absent, it is possible to turn to a less intense, more personal and deeper practice. In addition, the benefits both physical (magnified body for the summer) and psychological (feeling better) that we can draw allow an elevation of our condition and a better understanding of what surrounds us, in particular the current situation.

Seghir Lazri


“Witches” in the wind

Sacrea witches by Roald Dahl (1916-1990) has terrified decades of young readers since its release in 1983. It combines the fear of abandonment (the parents have just died in an accident) and the terror caused by witches in bulldozer operation . And its end escapes the blush: if something has happened, we do not return to the situation before. The novel was part of the personal mythology of Pénélope Bagieu. A boon for the designer of Cheeky than revisiting this cruel tale by the author of Charlie and the chocolate factory. She hasn’t changed a perfect story or so little; she especially sought to modernize the characters, the language, the decorations. And to breathe a rhythm, with its lively line, by varying the scenes which swarm with details or those which focus on exchanges between characters. The beginning is akin to a mise en abyme: we find ourselves as projected in an action film. We don’t pick it up anymore.

Would we like such a granny?

Become an orphan, the little boy finds himself alone with his grandmother. It’s an old lady who is a little eccentric, whom Pénélope Bagieu has endowed with a face with nice jowls, flashy bracelets, a mauve mop and an outrageous lipstick. She smokes a cigar and constantly coughs to the point that her grandson berates her. But his smoking is also the pretext to go green in a luxury hotel on the doctor’s advice. She is a tender and loving granny who goes out of her way. Important detail: unlike many adults, she can recognize a witch.

Why a little girl?

Penelope Bagieu has added a character who becomes the friend of the young hero, a little girl with green eyes. Her parents, psychotherapists, went to take a yoga class when their daughter was caught in the magic web. Drawn into the adventure because of her greed (chocolate, and yes, which is normally prohibited for her), she will courageously accompany the little boy in his fight against the program of destruction of children and even take the initiative when he s is to steal a harmful bottle from the chief witch. Dragging a girl also appears to be a way of feminizing the plot and not leaving the main protagonist alone in a dramatic situation.

Are these witches sacred?

Of course, today’s witches have nothing to do with the sinister silhouette in the pointed hat fitted with a broom. Their characteristics are described by the granny in a nice passage which seems to be learned from a lesson of things. “Well, like I told you, these are creatures that have to constantly dress up in order to pass for normal women.” The evil assembly assembled in a banal conference hall goes unnoticed, except for the boy hiding in a corner. The author must have enjoyed chewing on these ugly creatures in chic ladies, in particular the tall witch, impressive in a kind of fatal beauty, terrifying when she recovers her true nature. Pénélope Bagieu has created a model there which marks a date in its dynamic and subtle transposition.

Frédérique Roussel

Roald Dahl Penelope Bagieu

Sacred witches Gallimard Jeunesse, 304 pp., € 23.90 (ebook: € 16.99).


New understanding of bacterial physiology thanks to a new tuberculosis pathogen




Through cryoelectron microscopy images have found that a transport protein used by the human tuberculosis pathogento import vitamin B12 it is very different from other transport proteins in that it contains a huge cavity filled with water, in which substances hydrophilic they are transported through the cell membrane.

The tuberculosis bacterium has all the genes necessary to produce vitamin B12 But, for some reason, you still need to import this vitamin for successful cell division. To do this, it uses a transport protein that is part of a large family of transporters.ATP binding cassette s (ABC).

Interestingly, the transporter of b12 vitamin it is also involved in the transport of antimicrobial peptides such as bleomycin. “And it is very strange to have a single transporter for two very different types of molecules,” explains the biochemistry professor at the Groning University, Dirk Slotboom.

Slotboom and his team, along with his colleague Albert Guskov, they set out to elucidate the protein structure of the enigmatic transporter. “This was a long process, but we finally solved it using cryo-electron microscopy,” adds Slotboom. This was done in the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, in United States.

There is strong evidence that other bacterial species have a similar system, which means that they collect random molecules from their environment.

The structure revealed a big surprise: a cavity filled with water that spreads over the entire cell membrane of 7,700 cubic Angstrom. That’s so big like seven vitamin B12 molecules“he specifies.

The system of non-selective transport it is totally different from the known conveyors. As such, it changes the way we view the physiology of bacteria. There are strong indications that other bacterial species have a similar system, which means that they collect random molecules from their environment, “he adds.

It also offers an interesting perspective on the treatment of tuberculosis: “If we could stimulate the activity of this transporter, it could import antibiotics more efficiently, facilitating the elimination of these cells. However, we realized that this may not be easy, as the bacterium uses effective strategies to prevent the entry of antibiotics. “

The next step is to discover how the conveyor works. “We hope that inside the cell, the lock will empty by binding and hydrolyzing ATP. But we don’t know how it opens up outside, to let in new molecules, “he continues.

The transport protein is a dimer, and the two halves appear to protrude on the outside, where they can somehow be opened to let in fresh cargo. “Maybe we can find a way to loosen this lid and let more antibiotics in,” he ventures.


Candied bodies # 3: self-hypnosis with Catherine Contour

Traumatized by a double fracture of the little finger after having recklessly clubbed on the mixes of Bob Sinclar between the click-clack and the changing table, you are looking today in hypnotic practice for a form of reconciliation, a trance at a time less standardized, more minimal in terms of spatial deployment and more economical with alcohol. Trained in the Ericksonian method, who has become the Yoda Master of a large community of dancers – the artistic field being the one where she applies her practice -, Catherine Contour teaches the subtle art of crossing the walls of your 16 m2 and to feel “here by being somewhere else”. A superpower very useful in time of confinement, as much as to commit more dubious packages.

• Preamble: it is unlikely to see in your room, from the first initiation session, hallucinatory visions of baby pangolins stroking the hair of Agnes Buzyn. Forget Messmer, the crossing will be less nag.

“Know, introduces Catherine Contour, that the most important thing is above all to do it only at the head. The most important thing is not to follow what there is to do, but to know how to be “interpreter” of my suggestions. Also be aware that attention travels and wanders, that it picks up and comes back and that the benefit of this practice comes when you gradually calm down with the fact of “being there or not” “.

• Attention is not concentration. Think about it.

• Welcome the following information in amazement: “We practice every day without knowing it. It’s a natural process that the brain needs all the time. “ and that could explain why you sometimes put your guinea pig in the fridge without any intention of doing harm.

• Then do the cat. Not by urinating with disdain on the carpet but by taking the time to elect in the room – even if it is the size of Leïla Slimani’s doormat – the privileged place to settle in – “the place to be” being not necessarily the one that jumps out at you (what an adventure).

• Sit or stand, avoid lying down or closing your eyes: “The principle is to let happen, not to induce, but we are not going to seek relaxation (it would then be sophrology).”

“Let your listening wander towards the sounds of the place, the most obvious as the finest, the closest and the distant.” Even if the child who shares your existence sings “My che beauty” from Jul next door, “Draw on the music of the place and bring your attention to the shoulder blades. Remember their shape [non, ceci est un humérus], remember that they support the spine and extend through the arms. “

“You will activate them according to the amplitude that you choose, until these microperceptions bring out the image of a bird. Think about the type of bird you can summon. ” And let your attention wander, even if your mind lands on the image of a chicken. Consider the possibility of “Spread and untie your wings, lean on the air, think about the quality of light and shade, the rustle and the air temperature.”

“Then, why not, imagine this known place that is your room, flying over it to come and land in an unusual place.” Perched, ecstatic, on your Ikea “Räcka” curtain rod, “Perceive this real and imaginary moment when the body changes space and point of view.”

• Then, like the one-legged pigeon on your balcony, go and settle in another place, far from a cluster, and “Take advantage of this change in altitude and speed to take the time to perceive what surrounds the body. Let him find his position, in this other place, known or imagined for the occasion, alone or with other fellows. “ Yes, your friends are there. Their hair has grown. Too much. But the feeling of their presence enchants you. They laugh and throw small spelled seeds in their faces. You would like to touch them but … chimera …

“Are you back?” Yes. You are alone. You can now burst into sobs. Kisses.

Eve Beauvallet


“Slow Men”, a lesson in breaks

In the theological tradition, laziness (long qualified as acedia) is a capital sin which is characterized by softness but also by slowness. For Guillaume Peyraud, Dominican of the XIIIe century, acedia leads to the waste of one of the most precious goods that God has granted to man: time. To be slow and idle is strongly condemnable because it is the opposite of good Christian behavior. “Man was not created to be idle but to work”, explains Martin Luther in his Commentary on the book of Genesis. Hence the concern of the elites against a different temporality, explains the historian Laurent Vidal, “Which cannot be framed either by the liturgical rhythm or by that of economic activities”. The idleness of the monks, denounced by Luther, or the endless chatter of women on their balconies, stigmatized by the Florentine architect Alberti, are all behaviors that become with the Renaissance a sin in the face of society.


At the dawn of modernity, therefore, an imaginary triangle forms, associating slowness, laziness and non-work. The “Indians”, barely discovered people, will be associated with the disparaging idea of ​​slowness. “What never ceases to surprise Europeans, observe the author, this is the singularity of the relationship that the inhabitants of the Americas have with work “, This observation is valid for the entire colonized world, in particular Africa, whose populations are regularly described as indolent. The figure ofslow man is blacklisted in favor of the imposition of the model that is both superior and universal of modern and civilized man, that is to say efficient and fast.

German historian Reinhart Koselleck gets it right when he makes acceleration a “Foolproof clue” of modern times (1). If the character of Don Quixote – the one who left “Slowly” – provokes laughter, it is that it is completely out of step with its era.

Increasingly, says Laurent Vidal, slowness in all its forms is perceived as an obstacle to the proper functioning of society, even a source of disorder, because it harms work. It is now a question, in these first days of the industrial revolution, of subjecting work to precise standards and of chasing any hint of autonomy. As Edward Thompson pointed out, the watch is by far the greatest invention of industrial companies. Widely distributed at the end of the 18th centurye century, it made it possible to impose on workers the rigid rhythms of factory work and, even more, to internalize them to the point of leading to a “Advanced timing of society”. We would like, with the author, to be true the famous anecdote reported by Walter Benjamin according to which Parisian workers threw stones at the clocks during the revolution of 1830 … The machines will then take over with great advantage, explains engineer Charles Babbage, “The surveillance that they exercise over human inattention, negligence and laziness”.


Slow women and men are not passive victims. Slow down or use multiple ways to “casting” are ancient, and still current, forms of resistance. They are observed from the XVIIIe century in the American slave plantations, pioneers in the organization of work and in the imposition of authoritarian and timed working hours, including for women in charge of domestic service. They are found in the custom of Holy Monday, an institution which spread throughout Europe in the XIXe century, which consists of extending Sunday rest to Monday. The invention of Taylorism in the United States at the end of the century, which breaks down every worker gesture to better measure it, is a direct response to what Taylor calls the “Natural laziness” and the “Systematic stroll” Workers. The movement of yellow vests, wonders Laurent Vidal, is it a refresh of the figure of slow women and men? Their privileged occupation of roundabouts and roundabouts to slow or even stop traffic in order to oppose a “Political thought for which all immobility is perceived as problematic” makes you believe it.

(1) Reinhart Koselleck, the future past. Contribution to the semantics of historical times (Editions de l’EHESS, 1977).

Jean-Yves Grenier

Laurent Vidal Slow Men. Resisting modernity XVe-XXe century Flammarion, 306 pp., € 20, ebook, € 15.99.