French Election Day: Summing Up

Here’s a quote that aptly sums up the election campaign, mostly from an online standpoint. It probably reverberates enough to be applicable to most other election campaigns of recent years. From (yes or no, clever…).

Que les organisations de militants arrêtent de pourrir les commentaires de blogs, forums, sondages et quotidiens en ligne ; qu’ils arrêtent d’envahir Youtube avec leurs vidéos grotesques ; qu’ils épargnent les murs de leurs affichage sauvage ; que le matériel de campagne officiel soit plus orienté vers l’information que vers la publicité ; que notre argent ne servent plus à financer des meetings religieux ; que les candidats profitent de la campagne pour nous parler de leurs idées au lieu de monter des coups de communications et du lobbying médiatique en série. Qu’on arrête de nous prendre pour des jambons quoi…

Which, roughly translated, means

Could the Militant organisations please stop lowering the tone of blog, forum and [online] newspaper comments; stop invading YouTube with grotesque videos; spare the walls their bill posters. Could the official campaign propaganda be oriented towards information and not advertising; our money stop being used to finance religious meetings; the candidates use the campaign to speak of their ideas instead of communications strategy and serial media lobbying. Could they, like, stop taking us for pork / sheep…

Original French text from “Spécialiste de rien du tout” who also made an excellent analysis of the campaign posters (in French). You might also want to read a fellow Englishwoman in France’s view of the recent TV debate.


  1. En tout cas……… COME ON YOU REDS!!!!!

  2. fruey

    7/5/2007 at 10:04 am


    Sadly, looks like the Reds lost out…

    Given the bookie’s odds (and all the polls), you had to call it before the result for the blues.

    There’s always the “législatives”.


  3. Fruey,
    Sorry i’m not commenting about the French election – i don’t know enough about it as i’m in the process of moving to Paris. What i did want to ask you was – did you ever get any resolution over whether to focus on speaking English with your son? I’m asking as i have 2 daughters (3 1/2 & 22 months) with another bubs on the way & when we move there i intend to speak English to them, though it won’t do my French any good… We have another complication as my wife is Danish – so we’ll have 3 languages contending for dominance 🙂 R

  4. fruey

    18/5/2007 at 12:47 pm

    Hi Richard,

    I speak English all the time to my son. He’s only just starting to speak, one word at a time, and he’s picked up a few English words. He seems to understand what I say to him in English (get your shoes, are you hungry, etc) so I’m sticking with it.

    If you are moving to France, your children will pick up French independently anyway. If you don’t speak French to a fairly fluent level you are probably better off speaking to them in English – especially if they already speak it – in my opinion.

    As for three languages… if you can separate the person that speaks a language it’s better. Like, Mummy speaks Danish, Daddy speaks English, and everyone else (or when Daddy is speaking to others, etc) speaks French.

    Warning: I am not a child psychologist, you probably want to read up on this subject and ask other bilingual / trilingual families. Look into multilingual schooling too.


  5. Hi, Fruey:

    Sorry for this off-topic post, but your “Ask Me a Question” isn’t accepting comments, and neither is the “Nathan Stars on YouTube” page, and I have a burning question to ask with regards to the settings you used on VirtualDub because your clip of Nathan was so sharp and clear.

    I’ve tried just about every compression setting of XVid, as well as applying resizing filter to resize to 320×240 (and compressing audio to MPEG-Layer3), and the clip looks OK when I view locally on my computer, but the resolution goes to hell when I upload to YouTube (you can see the results here: ). Would you be so kind as to let me know what settings you used to make that incredibly sharp clip of Nathan?


    Ron Gee

  6. fruey

    21/5/2007 at 10:40 pm

    Hi Ron,

    I had a quick look at your video, and there are a few things that strike me as problematic to get good quality at high compression, which is effectively what YouTube seem to use.

    But first the VirtualDub settings. I use the following chain of filters, something like

    – levels (to brighten video, may not be required on your clip)
    – smoother (on original size video) or try chroma smoother for more detail
    – 2:1 reduction (high quality) if your original is 640×480 (otherwise resize)
    – sharpen

    The “smoother” reduces quality initially but will aid better compression later. Don’t go crazy setting values too high for smoother / sharpen, and remember you can preview on the right hand side what it will look like and get the setting right before running the encoding process.

    For XviD settings I just set average bitrate to around 600kbps which is way higher than you’ll need. Audio might want to be treated separately if you want to really hear the singing well, but that’s another topic.

    Now as far as the source film itself is concerned, there are a couple of things that won’t help compression.

    Firstly that it’s a wide-angle viewpoint which means there’s a lot of detail to capture that’s moving, including people in the background. Close-up and medium range works better, since even though it might be heavily compressed, the eye doesn’t notice as much. What we’re trying to focus on in your clip is the singing, and as such the subjects are at a distance and don’t take up much of the screen individually.

    The other thing that doesn’t help, and this is accentuated by the first point (since my camerawork isn’t super steady either), is that the camera is handheld and moves left to right to capture everyone. The thing video compression seems to do worst is panning / tracking along the horizontal axis.

    I might suggest that there is something you might be able to do, if your source is at 640×480, and that’s trying a centered crop to, say, 480×360 and then a resize. You’ll lose information from the frame that way, because you’ll be cutting 80 pixels from the left & right plus 60 from top & bottom, but what’s left will work quite well; a digital zoom closer to the action. If you don’t quite see what I mean, feel free to make a link to a compressed 640×480 version and I’ll have a go at it for you sometime.