Bedbug alert in France
Bedbugs have been a nuisance in a number of French cities for decades. Now the topic is taking on political dimensions. Members of the country’s National Assembly argued over what measures should be taken to counter the problem on Tuesday — a test tube full of bugs was brought into the parliament as a visual aid — with some demanding drastic measures. The government will hold an emergency meeting on Friday. Commentators warn against making a mountain out of a molehill.
Social media are fuelling anxiety, philosopher Gaspard Koenig sighs in Les Echos:
“Although the fingernail-sized bloodsuckers have undeniably made a comeback since the 1990s, there is no indication that their populnumbers have exploded this year. ... But once a few creepy photos have been posted on the social networks, how can you stop the panic? Are there really more bedbugs in cinemas these days, or have we just got it into our heads to seek them out and report them? ... Why are we suddenly so frightened by the annoying but by no means dangerous Cimex lectularius? ... We forget that our bodies are constantly in contact with a host of micro-organisms and want to turn our bedrooms into bunkers. What a mistake!”
Activism demonstrates impotence
The politicians aren’t doing themselves any favours, L’Opinion remarks:
“This little spectacle would be downright obscene if it did not expose a dangerous and inevitable trend. In their perpetual race to protect the French, our leaders are abolishing the boundaries between the public and the private spheres at the cost of an ever more liberticidal intrusion — even getting between our sheets! ... They are undoubtedly doing this with the aim of demonstrating their closeness to the people. But this activism, which is as irrational as the partially imaginary evil it is supposed to eradicate, brings them more and more into discredit: they feign omnipotence to conceal their impotence.”