[FoRK] France's love of rogues and rule breakers

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Nov 14 11:03:12 PST 2009


Funny...  Clearly used in an oblique way in the "Transporter" movie 
series for the really likable French detective.
I guess if criminals have to try to be stylishly semi-benign, it can't 
be all bad.  Sort of the opposite of a terrorist.

> Many people here subscribe to a code of life known as Systeme D - a 
> sort of living by your wits that ever so slightly bends the rules of 
> the established system.
> No point in moralising, everyone knows here that laws are made to be 
> transgressed - as long as you do it with style of course.
...
> In September, a man accused of the brutal murder of two women escaped 
> from a jail in Burgundy.
>
> Not fascinating in itself but Jean-Pierre Treiber - who has always 
> protested his innocence - hid inside a cardboard box in the prison 
> workshop and had himself "delivered" to the outside world as part of a 
> consignment of stationery.
>
> On the run ever since, Mr Treiber has managed to outwit police at 
> every turn, sending letters to his girlfriend and even posting his 
> prison identity card to a French magazine.
>
> Suckers for romance (even though the balding, jug-eared ex-forester is 
> not exactly a looker), the French are cheering him on. 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/8359124.stm
>
> Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Saturday, 14 November 2009
> France's love of rogues and rule breakers
>
> A prevailing view that laws are made to be broken means criminals are 
> often very popular with the French public which, as Emma Jane Kirby 
> reports, can make the police task all the more difficult.
>
> Actors depict 30s gangsters Bonnie and Clyde in BBC Timewatch: The 
> Real Bonnie And Clyde
> The French admire criminals and gangsters in films as well as real life
>
> Last Thursday morning, I switched on my radio to hear the news as 
> usual and was startled by the high-pitched voice of a reporter who, 
> breathless with excitement, was telling France that a security van 
> driver who had just collected more than 11 million euros from the Bank 
> of France had disappeared with the loot.
>
> It transpired that 39-year-old Tony Musulin, who was described by 
> friends as being a little odd, had been planning his heist for some time.
>
> Before he absconded, added the radio reporter - unable to hide the 
> note of admiration in his voice - Musulin had carefully cleared his 
> bank accounts and apartment.
>
> The report ended by triumphantly informing the listener that French 
> police did not have a clue as to where the fugitive was now.
>
> In fact Tony Musulin has become an overnight internet star here. He 
> now has a fan club on Facebook, which describes him as a hero who has 
> carried out the model non-violent crime of the century.
>
> My personal favourite entry on the site reads simply "Tony - Best 
> Driver 2009".
>
> 'Charming' gangsters
>
> The fact is the French love rogues and rule breakers.
>
>     
> Jean-Pierre Treiber
> The government has complained that the media's interest in Jean-Pierre 
> Treiber has turned him into a hero
>
> Many people here subscribe to a code of life known as Systeme D - a 
> sort of living by your wits that ever so slightly bends the rules of 
> the established system.
>
> French films regularly - one might say obsessively - celebrate the 
> criminal culture. French gangsters are almost always charming, capital 
> sort of chaps who are a lot smarter than the dimwit cops out to get them.
>
> No point in moralising, everyone knows here that laws are made to be 
> transgressed - as long as you do it with style of course.
>
> In September, a man accused of the brutal murder of two women escaped 
> from a jail in Burgundy.
>
> Not fascinating in itself but Jean-Pierre Treiber - who has always 
> protested his innocence - hid inside a cardboard box in the prison 
> workshop and had himself "delivered" to the outside world as part of a 
> consignment of stationery.
>
> On the run ever since, Mr Treiber has managed to outwit police at 
> every turn, sending letters to his girlfriend and even posting his 
> prison identity card to a French magazine.
>
> Suckers for romance (even though the balding, jug-eared ex-forester is 
> not exactly a looker), the French are cheering him on.
>
> The government has complained that the media's interest has turned him 
> into a hero and has hampered the police's efforts to recover him.
>
> Film makers meanwhile are already penning the scripts.
>
> Captured on film
>
> Treiber's story reminds me of another great name in French criminal 
> history, the bank robber Michel Vaujour whom I happened to meet in the 
> cinema a few months ago.
>
>     
> Carla Bruni-Sarkosy and Nicolas Sarkosy
> Squeaky-clean Mr Sarkozy does not stand a chance unless he and Carla 
> set themselves up as the French Bonnie and Clyde
>
> Mr Vaujour, who spent 27 years inside, was of course at the picture 
> house to promote his new film, which might be best translated into 
> English as "Don't bother freeing me, I'm on the case me-self".
>
> The film, which is a fascinating psychological account of how the 
> ex-bank robber coped in jail, is also a celebration of his fortitude 
> at jail breaking.
>
> His most dramatic escape was in 1986 when he fashioned a replica gun 
> from a bar of soap and barged his way on to the prison roof where his 
> obliging wife (having cleverly learned to fly a helicopter in her 
> spare time) hovered above the prison and scooped him up and away to 
> freedom.
>
> Naturally that specific episode is a film in its own right. After the 
> screening, Michel Vaujour kindly took questions from the audience.
>
> I wanted to ask him whether he regretted his criminal ways but 
> question time was dominated by a host of well educated, well dressed, 
> Parisian women who were tearfully thanking him for his honesty, his 
> humility and his humanity.
>
> Good to be 'bad'
>
> The other day, President Sarkozy hit an all-time low in the opinion polls.
>
> When he was elected in 2007, he promised he would base his presidency 
> on transparency and in the summer, when the Elysee accountants 
> mistakenly placed some of his private expenses in the column marked 
> "state accounts", the French leader was quick to pay back every last 
> penny of the money that had gone missing.
>
> The president's poor ratings came in the same week that Jacques 
> Chirac, his predecessor, was ordered by French magistrates to stand 
> trial on embezzlement charges.
>
> In the latest popularity survey, Jacques Chirac was voted the most 
> popular French politician alive today.
>
> Poor squeaky-clean Mr Sarkozy does not stand a chance - unless of 
> course he and Carla get themselves a pistol each and set themselves up 
> as the French Bonnie and Clyde.
>
> No pressure but the French leader needs to get bad fast if he is to 
> win another election.
>
> I notice a new entry has recently appeared on Facebook saying simply 
> "Tony Musulin for president".

sdw



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