- 1 min
« Ah! I am going to die! ...Come closer, warm me up! Not with your hands! No! With your whole body! »
Gustave Flaubert, « Saint-Julien l’Hospitalier ».
Barely recovering from a new and exhilarating win of the French football team against the brave Croatian team, I am suddenly thrown into current affairs without transition. No time to savour the second star freshly imprinted onto the football shirt just above the ghostly silhouette of a cockerel. No time to contemplate this strange World Cup final. Shit happens. Whilst the rain washes away the photogénie of this globally transmitted event, shit happens. Without warning. It begins slowly, but very quickly becomes painful.
The president of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, takes the players of the French team in his arms, languorously, holding the backs of their necks with a bit too much insistence. Lasting, his embrace is strong and friendly, loving and delicately authoritarian. His mouth, already in someone’s ear, spills out burning secrets. The national territory engulfs the winners. But it is no longer the abstract body of the State, instead it is a body ready for all forms of intimacy, which no one can contest through the creation of their own limits or secret spaces. A narcissistic apparatus is unfolding, in which it is unclear if we are witnessing an outrageous mise-en-scène or simply the expression of an already integrated capitalist system that has made of affect a new object of extraction with the body as its training ground. We don’t remember having seen this before. But since the arrival of this new neoliberal French Kingdom, there is no « before », no official history by which a young president might feel imprisoned [^ During his visit to Algeria in December 2017, President Macron asserted that he didn’t feel like a prisoner of French colonial history.].
There is however an old tradition of politicians visiting changing rooms during victorious evenings and national celebrations. But that is something else. A real vampirisation; the affective capture of a body loaded with value and bursting with fame and glory.
I take you in my arms even if I don’t know who you are. You are now my dearest friend because I need you to give me what you have. I have nothing to comfort you with, I come only to feel your heat and to make it mine.
The president lays bare his strategy of amorous emotion within the economy of capture - a love of oneself in the body of the Other; a substance that is seized, squeezed and extracted as much as it is flattered. It is simple and direct, it should inform us, reveal to us the social project through which the Other is seized before they can flee towards their own history, their own autonomy, glory and complexity, before they can escape the national storybook with no memory, before they can point towards a difference, a gap.