“The elephant is still in the room”: the newspaper of the month Philippe Labro

Clear and Confused. Clear and confused. These two words come up often in my recent conversations with some American friends. Following the midterm elections in the United States, after Trump declared his candidacy, I wanted to ask: “Hello, America, where are you? You have a presidential election in 2024. What do you say? »​

Read also – “The oval room”: the journal of the month by Philippe Labro

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Jim Hoagland, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, one of the legendary sages of washington post:​

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— If you want to talk about 2024, you must first observe what is happening today, at the end of 2022. It is clear and, however, confusing.​

— Why?

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— Because Trump is weakened, yes, but still there. He sees the appointment of a “special counsel” appointed by the Minister of Justice to investigate two files: his responsibility in the invasion of the Capitol on January 6 – the illicit transfer of classified documents when he left the House – Blanche, that’s clear.

The “special adviser” has reason to worry Trump. His name is Jack Smith, it couldn’t be more American. Stern face, black beard, frowning, he investigated war crimes in Kosovo. “Impartial and determined”, according to the Minister of Justice, Merrick Garland. It is this man who is important. Back to Trump.

— Well, it is diminished by the defeats of its candidates – the American electorate had a reflex of the kind “All the same, we cannot give mandates to such mediocre people”.

— And Biden, in all this?

— The loss of the majority in Congress will immobilize him. The Republicans are preparing all sorts of trouble for him: investigating the possible corruption of his son, Hunter, the likelihood of impeachment proceedings.

“Can it go far?”

– Nope. But it will make noise. They will make a lot of noise.

— 2024, Biden candidate?​

– Yes. If Trump is himself nominated by his party, Biden knows he will beat him. If it’s a younger, DeSantis-style, Biden will be in trouble.

Second call, Adam Gopnik, brilliant essayist of the New Yorker:​

— What is clear is that, as often in a democracy, we come close to disaster but we escape it. What’s confusing is that no one can tell you what will happen in 2024. It’s way too far away.

— Will Biden be too old?​

“We underestimate him. He has a good track record, an excellent government. But the picture is confused, because if he is not “senile”he “gets old”. He would be two or three years younger, he would easily be re-elected.

“If not, any possible strangers?”

“Too soon, far too soon. No one believes Vice President Kamala Harris can do the job. Personally, I find that Pete Buttigieg is the only Democrat capable of astonishing. He is as eloquent as Obama was at that same semi-celebrity stage. He’s gay. It is not a handicap today in America.​​

— And what about Trump today?

— In politics, there are those who fascinate and those who bore. Kamala Harris, and in a way Biden, generate boredom. Trump fascinates. He’s the devil, perhaps, but he fascinates.

So we come back to Trump. Abandoned by Murdoch’s press (which is an event), diminished by the midterms, underhandedly criticized by a wing of his party, he continues to cause fear. I think it’s wearing itself out over time. But there is an eternal truth: an elephant with such thick skin did not die until it was shot twice in the eye. Except here it is: the elephant is still in the room.


After politics, we had a few minutes to discuss the “woke” disease that is ravaging the USA. In New York, the grandson of a friend of mine, entering class at the age of 4 and a half, was asked by the school authorities if he was “he”. or “she” or “they”, the third gender (ie no gender). Her parents, like so many others, when they send emails, are forced to mention “she, her” (her, hers) or “he, his” (him, hers). Another friend tells me: “I tell my 25-year-old son that his girlfriend is ‘lovely’, he interrupts me: ‘Careful, you’re harassing us.’ »


Within three days, November 30, at 3 p.m., the talented designer Catherine Meurisse will be installed in chair V of the “engraving and drawing” section of the Academy of Fine Arts. It’s a first.

– So you go, you who practice tender and critical irony in your drawings (the last album, Human, too human at Dargaud, is a little treasure of misappropriation of philosophy), wearing a sword, a uniform, isn’t that the complete opposite of your culture, your friendships, your long collaboration with Charlie Hebdo?​

She laughs. This attractive forties, dressed in a yellow and black checkered shirt, with long black hair, is gifted with an almost constant laugh (“He protects my shyness” ) and considers it a chance for comics, a recognition of this art.

— I’m going to defend young creators, take an interest in artist residencies.

— You who have drawn and told Lightness(Dargaud, 2016) you are not afraid of being “institutionalized”?

She laughs again and shakes her head.

— My parents and my friends smiled. But it’s not a joke. I’m proud of it.

She has this lovely phrase:

— All children draw. There are those who stop, without knowing why, and those who continue, without knowing why either. I continued.

A dozen albums, hundreds of thousands of copies. A signature and a style. Catherine Meurisse had arrived late at Charlie HebdoJanuary 7, 2015. Within minutes, she would have found herself in the newsroom where the massacre of her friends, colleagues, members of her universe took place.

— For a few months, I couldn’t draw. I was stopped. No more memory, nothing, and then I went back to drawing, I published La Légèreté. In three days, during my acceptance speech – it will last half an hour, I’m still working on it – I will mention Cabu and Wolinski, and others.

“Thinking about that delay that saved your life?”

— Yes, I’m thinking about it. I found peace reading the philosophers and stopping before Caravaggio and Rothko’s abstractions.

It seems to me that Catherine Meurisse is going to make a very fine academician.


Ending quote: “Every idea becomes false the moment you are content with it. »Alain (1868-1951)

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“The elephant is still in the room”: the newspaper of the month Philippe Labro