Tablets of Chanteroels
LNA. (July 16th 2004)
During the summer season, Goodtrick, who is known for her scathing pen, gives her enlightened point of view on local questions.
For some years now, because of the major archeographical discovery that was made – written tablets that, today more than ever, remain undecipherable – the “Chanteroels” excavation site has never ceased to be visited. Scholars, but also tourists and onlookers come by bus from all over the world. They jostle to a site where the tablets are no longer exposed (sheltered as they are by a tarp spread out as to create a marquee elevated ten meters over the ground, they were replaced by facsimiles artistically displayed in soil trenches). Some leave with a T-shirt smeared with enigmatic hieroglyphs, some with a reproduction of a plastered fragment of the tablet, some with a snow-covered landscape of the site, or others with… a few good bottles of kirsch, secular specialties of the valley. The locals responsible for this attraction, mostly the tourist information office, who have backed the project of guided tours, conferences and even a sound and light show, are rubbing their hands. In fact, recently, guesthouses and souvenir shops have started flourishing on street corners of the picturesque towns in the valley. Some investors even wish to build a luxury hotel in the area… The regional cultural authorities, the political officials have also asked the UNESCO for a place in the world cultural and natural heritage. For the past few months now, rumors of a hoax that has never been denied seem to be projecting a dark shadow on the planet of good bargains. Some, but they are not from here I agree, are certainly more preoccupied by petty intellectual feuds than scientific truths and claim that the said tablets are fake. Even worse, an unknown amateur artist, who was a tombstone sculptor and, who would have thought, was quite the drinker of Schnapps, supposedly did them rapidly and without craftsmanship. The scene took place one evening in the month of June, in a “Winstub” of Strasbourg, well-known for its noisy clients, a few local celebrities inclined to drinking Edel-zwicker. An ex non-repentant situationnist (of the bottle), the debauchee that night supposedly spilled the beans as he was puking the chunks of his cornucopian meal (sauerkraut washed down with wine) in front of Parisian press reporters. That is, nonetheless, what we can read on the question in some highly enlightened weekly magazines of the capital. Let’s bet on the fact that these good people have never seen the site…
For the sake of the story… It is actually in Strasbourg that in 1967 the situationists became spectacularly famous when they published a leaflet, that has become cult ever since “Misery in the student environment”. In doing so, they paraphrased the titles of leaflets that had, back in their days, opposed Proudhon’s anarchist thesis to those of Marx, father of dialectic materialism (The Philosophy of Misery and The Misery of Philosophy). We know the rest of the story: the events of May 1968 happened a year later.
In the small number of things that I have enjoyed doing, what I was able to do well, surely the best thing I was able to do was drinking. Even though I have read a lot, I have drunk more than I read. I have written far less than most people who write; but I have drunk a lot more than most people who drink. (Guy Debord)