Saturday, March 12, 2005

Strikes, Movies, Dirty Words

Usually Thursday is my busiest day, but this particular Thursday there was a massive strike throughout most of the public sector.* Only my first class bothered to show up at all. This is the third time this year I've had classes disrupted due to strikes by teachers, students, or both.

Let's talk about strikes for a minute, because they're different here. French strikes aren't, in general, like the big American-flavored strikes that drag on and make everybody feel the hurt. Remember the UPS strike? Major League Baseball? How about the Chicago garbage collector strike? You'd better believe there was public outcry on that one.

In France they do one-day strikes, but they do them in style. Thursday's action was more of a net of mutually reinforcing strikes that had a shock-and-awe effect. In addition to public stuff like the post offices and some schools, the national railways and Paris transportation systems went mostly dark. Even air travel was affected. About 150,000 people clogged Paris in a massive protest.

All this happened while the International Olympic Committee was touring the city in a big bus. Ever been embarrassed in front of the international community? France has!

So, because of the strike, this Thursday I showed chunks of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Philadelphia to a grand total of maybe 17 kids. I spent one cancelled class period writing the dirtiest things I could think of on the whiteboard in my very best penmanship. Day well spent.

* the strike was timed to disrupt the IOC's visit to Paris to evaluate it as a candidate city for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Anyway, screw Paris. Back the Bid!


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