First they came for the Cat and I said nothing.
September 26, 2010 3:22 AM   Subscribe

Le Cirque Romanès is believed to be Europe's only Gypsy Circus.
Deemed good enough to represent France at the World Expo in Shanghai, it may be forced to close by Nicolas Sarkozy's government. This traditional Circus in a tent, where the artists still live in caravans stars as an added bonus a Cat on a trapeze.
More about Le Cirque Romanès. (Recently)
posted by adamvasco (28 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
That cat looks kind of pissed.
posted by lollusc at 4:11 AM on September 26, 2010

Damn you, Sarkozy. What's the harm in a little child labor?
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:37 AM on September 26, 2010

and all this time i've been using crowds of adoring, cheering people and a full serenade just to get my finicky cats to eat.
posted by msconduct at 4:40 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

That looks like more work than generally required by the usual cat residence contract.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:03 AM on September 26, 2010

I honestly doubt "child labor" is the problem here. There are children who work in family businesses the world over, without an eye-brow raised. And there are child performers in movies, plays, and touring shows in every country wealthy enough to support an entertainment industry.

I don't know anything about French laws, but in the U.S. you have to follow a certain set of rules about the number of hours worked and the number of hours spent in school, and then you're free to have kids in your musical theatre performance, blockbuster film, or family circus. There was no indication from any of the linked articles that the Romanes are not following every law to the letter (in fact, given that they applied for a permit for their tent 12 times before being approved, and yet waited for said permit before setting up, I'd say there's every indication they ARE following the laws to the letter), other than that the French authorities "question the use of child performers."

Why do they question it? Well...uh...wait! i know this one...something about thieves, dirty-oh, can't say that...where's my handbook of government-approved euphemisms for racial discrimination?!
posted by philotes at 6:09 AM on September 26, 2010 [5 favorites]

The current French authorities question it because the current French government is mostly (not entirely, but at the highest levels, it is mostly) a group of brazenly corrupt nepotist xenophobes. Read especially the last link, because I'm pretty sure this has everything to do with the fact that the circus is Roma and little to do with child labor. The government we have in France right now is wilfully ignoring the people, and hooo boy are they fools to pull that sort of nonsense in a country where the people are entirely capable of shutting the country down with strikes. There have been two major ones — between 2 and 3 million protesters each — recently, and although they're more linked to proposed retirement "reforms", people are also shocked at the illegal deportations of Roma, and especially shocked by Sarkozy's brushing off (even insulting) EU officials who are telling him that it is indeed illegal. More strikes and protests are planned.

I especially liked the mountain climbers who reenacted Delacroix' "Liberty Leading the People" on (next to, actually) Mont Blanc (nsfw due to partial nudity — this is France, eh :) ), and a L'Oreal-Sarkozy-Woerth "Because they're worth nothing" (photo I took) at the latest retirement protests.
posted by fraula at 6:28 AM on September 26, 2010 [7 favorites]

France can only be saved by the introduction of a new leader. Luckily her ally and best friend Britain has a spare Milliband, who can be shipped directly to Paris and who requires little assembly. This glorious gift will sure the bonds of deep love between these two mighty and redonculous nations, and then we can gang up on Spain together. N'est pas, or ne n'est pas pas?
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:27 AM on September 26, 2010

Great band, too. Love that singer.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:30 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

That cat looks like it's thinking "Aww fuck... I fell for it again... JESUS CHRIST WILL YOU KEEP STILL YOU CRAZY WOMAN!"
posted by Decani at 7:43 AM on September 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

French authorities "question the use of child performers."

The question however is "How on earth do you get kids to actually do what you want?"
posted by srboisvert at 8:13 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Well...uh...wait! i know this one...something about thieves, dirty-oh, can't say that...where's my handbook of government-approved euphemisms for racial discrimination?!

According to Sarkozy it's the The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Now only if we could come up with a doctrine justifying immigrant internment camps on humanitarian grounds. Fortuyn could have done it, God rest his soul.
posted by clarknova at 8:41 AM on September 26, 2010

I'm thinking that must be a more substantial outfit than the standard skin-tight spandex trapeze artist uniform....
posted by Redhush at 8:42 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's like being stuck up a tree, except there's a wall of high-pitched screeching noise all around you and the tree keeps twisting around like a crazed eel underneath you and no one even gave you any goddamned tuna.
posted by Scattercat at 8:47 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm a little doubtful that this has anything to do directly with the current anti-Roma policy. There's zero political benefit for Sarkozy in targeting popular artists like the Romanès Circus. Of course one cannot rule out stupidity...
About the children, a fellow artist from the support committee claims here that the work inspectors got confused when they saw 30 children bowing at the end of the show when only 10 were registered as workers (the 20 extra kids being non-working family members). The work inspection agency recently targeted the Little singers of Paris, a famous group of catholic choir boys, also for lacking work permits.
posted by elgilito at 9:20 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I was so sure that the cat wouldn't deign to climb up, but then it did!
posted by of strange foe at 10:24 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Europe is lurching to the right.
History teaches us that anti-Roma rhetoric is playing with fire.
posted by adamvasco at 11:50 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

In an attempt to overcome stereotypes, their carnies have the only sideshow games in the world certified & calibrated to ISO standards - if you have the skills, you can win an oversized novelty fluffy toy with your very first ring toss or ball in the mouth of a laughing clown.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:37 PM on September 26, 2010

Sarkozy is a race-baiting dick.

Responding to the authorities' chief criticism – that of low pay – he added: "They get four times the minimum wage, and they are fed and housed. When I contacted a lawyer and told her what they [the authorities] were trying to claim, she just burst out laughing."

Four times the minimum wage in Paris, btw, translates to about $50 US. French minimum wage workers need not be concerned about medical expenses (which constitute 1/9 of all spending in the USA) because there is an excellent system of universal medical insurance. They do not need to be concerned about saving to pay for their kid's university education because most universities in France do not charge tuition and have only a small annual fee.

Full-time workers in France work five hours less per week, are entitled to five weeks of paid vacation... for starters.

Add in free room and board and free food, and it's surprising, perhaps, that more people in other countries don't run off to join the (French) circus.
posted by markkraft at 7:34 PM on September 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

Surely the French Circus is reserved for citizens? The runaway riffraff of the world would be signing up for the French Foreign Circus.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:24 PM on September 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

Not the only gypsy circus. In fact, most travelling circuses in Europe are Roma or Sinti - they just don't tell you about it for fear of persecution. For example, the italian Orfei and Togni are Sinti.
posted by Baldons at 1:17 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here is the correct playing with fire link
posted by adamvasco at 1:36 AM on September 27, 2010

First the Gypsies Re 'lazy' and 'don't want to work' then they get in trouble because Gypsy kids work? Serious double standard right there! Oh loved the cat, she was only building up the suspense.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:42 AM on September 27, 2010

posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:49 AM on September 27, 2010

Well, at least he's only going after the gypsies, and not the muslims, or journalists, or black women and children... or pensioners. At least he's not trying to pay certain minorities, like the Roma, to leave France, much like the British Nationalists proposed, or like what was done to Jewish populations in parts of Europe. Or threatening to take away people's citizenship...

Oh... wait. I meant to say that he is, actually, doing *all* of these things.

Perhaps Nicholas de Nagy-Bocsa should go after Hungarian immigrants and their kids next.
posted by markkraft at 11:11 AM on September 27, 2010

sarkozy needs to go diaf; i was slightly amused when his wife was called a ho.
posted by talaitha at 2:12 PM on September 27, 2010

I appreciated hearing that Dominique de Villepin called Sarkozy's conduct "shameful", and seems set on running against him, creating a center-right party.

My hope is still that this will split the right, and leave the left in charge, if only because they will have to face the deficit and find French solutions to it... and if that means soaking the rich, well, that's probably not the worst idea, considering how much richer they have become under the right.

That said, I would be tempted to vote for Villepin, if only because his dignified and wise words, spoken at the UN on the eve of war with Iraq, now seem prescient, even though they were once considered an unforgivable betrayal by those insistent in racing to war and driving the country over the cliff.

They were, in fact, a kindness of complete truth, from one friend to another.
posted by markkraft at 2:55 PM on September 27, 2010

A senior French official is to appear in court accused of inciting racial hatred after the leaking of his internal memo on the targeting of Roma camps.
posted by adamvasco at 2:38 AM on September 30, 2010

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