Guéret, a town in rural France has hit back against fashionable Parisians after a chic magazine published a sarcastic article describing it as full of “yokels, old farts and too many cows”
When Technikart, a Paris-based monthly for young French hipsters, decided to release a tongue-in-cheek reportage called “Cow pats or Life”, little did it know it would spark fury not just among the inhabitants of the town of Guéret, population 14,000, but among country dwellers throughout the central Creuse region and beyond.
Claiming to offer a “survival manual for the fashionable of the countryside”, the article starts by saying : “Guéret is almost a dead town…there are yokels, old farts and too many cows and young people who, despite everything, don’t always have bad taste.”
It goes on to mock the town as a “godforsaken hole” with a “quagmire ambience” and where tracking down youngsters with dress sense is like “finding a needle in a haystack”…
Within days, furious locals hit back with a Facebook page called “Les Creusois against Technikart“, where 1,500 followers freely vented their anger against Parisian snobs…
One of the most virulent critics was Stéphanie Dagge, an English writer who moved to the area from Cork six years ago with her husband and three children to run a llama trekking farm and carp fishery. Her youngest daughter, Caitlin, goes to school in Guérert.
“All in all it’s an unprovoked, hateful tirade from an outsider about a friendly (apart from a couple of government departments!), pleasant country town,” she wrote in her blog on expat life in rural France. “I suppose its purpose was to win a cheap laugh from its sophisticated readership. Boy, has it backfired!,” she wrote .
“The Technikart crowd may think everything is better and classier in Paris, but just maybe it isn’t…”
The sophistication of Paris like that of New York or Berlin is enjoyable for what it is. When it become an affectation designed to inculcate favor with snobs usefulness ends. Small town artsy-fartsy galleries can be as guilty as the urbane giants. I’ve has relationships with every flavor.
Push comes to shove, I’ll take the rural context any time. If for nothing else, the likelihood of clean air, peace and quiet, diminished incidence of crime. The values cloistered inside the wrapper of a magazine designed for consumers who will pay too much for crappola isn’t especially important to anyone – urbane or rural.