Johnny, a symbol of the absence of a commonality that brings people together?

It will have been, as in the demonstration of January 11, 2015 after the terrorist attack on the editorial office of Charlie Hebdo, the moment of great « national communion. » Such collective homilies are needed, where the French people are reminded that they are all one, where a French people is created in which wage earners, tax exiles, the middle class, senior executives, students, the unemployed, commoners and notables all share the same sadness and give the illusion of belonging to the same group, united in the same French identity, which has the advantage of erasing the glaring asperities and inequalities of our societies.

Johnny, the man who « didn’t do politics », but officially supported politicians who held a right-wing policy, as in 1988, when he told us during the presidential elections « that we all have something in us of Jacques Chirac ». His aura on the people, particularly visible today, lets us think that his support to those who could support him, will not have been useless.

But what marks above all the ultimate media-political coronation of the rocker, supported by a part of the population, is the triumph of scandalous wealth, the ideology of the poor guy who managed, « by force of arms », to get by. Johnny will have been this media icon, this star who shines and illuminates all his subjects, these others who live by proxy a form of symbolic recognition that he lacks in their real life.

Johnny’s success is therefore that of the individual, of the ideology of success, of wealth without any link with poverty, of personal ambition as the only cause of fortune, where on the one hand one plays « who wants to make millions » for the good cause(1)While on the other hand, the tax exodus is practiced to extract even more from society, and therefore from those who need it the most… It is the triumph of the indecent, of amorality. It is, if we are to believe the crowd present, the media broadcasts of the funeral — for we know nothing of those who refuse this mass and are neither in Paris nor behind their screens -, the triumph of resignation. For this mourning by proxy participates in a mobilization of the affects that only serves the individual cause, endorsing the power in place and signing the submission of the people.

As Jean-Claude Michéa said, « the awareness of those who produce collective wealth of the need to abolish a system that monopolizes their time and sacrifices their humanity on the altar of private profit and « competitiveness » at allcostsThe « scientific laws of history » (…) are almost never understood in a strictly intellectual way, contrary to what Lenin believed. This awareness is almost always born, on the contrary, of a deep sense of anger and injustice — that is to say, a moral revolt — against the way in which the unbridled search for profit (…) and the resulting ruthless competition lead not only to the transformation of workers, in Marx’s words, into mere « machines for producing surplus value » (with all that this implies in terms of management), but also to the progressive subjection of society as a whole to the sole imperatives of egoistic calculation and the war of all against all. « (2)

Let’s hope that all those who refuse the show — they are undoubtedly millions, even among those who could appreciate the artist -, will not go to work today, or to the unemployment office, with sadness in their hearts, humming Johnny, who did not give them anymore the desire to bring down this unjust and unequal world.


Alexandre Penasse

Notes et références
  2. La gauche et le peuple, Flammarion, p.228–229.

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