Dialogue des sourds is a French expression for two parties sharing an animated expression without listening to each other. A conversation between the deaf.
As this interminable French presidential election is whipped up to a frothy finale, the dispiriting news that Marine le Pen may well be adding to her surely fruitless share of the vote confirms this as a dialogue of the deaf. A le Pen win is unthinkable, but a higher percentage for her will be devastating: damningly divisive and destructive.
France is severely and frigidly divided, and those on the side of le Pen will listen to no reason, no logic, no argument – no matter how cogent, convincing and evident it may be.
Goya’s famous dystopian allegory of two Spains brutally clubbing each other seems pertinent here. The only loser is France.
It is not without irony that this late work from Goya, one of his “black paintings” was painted on the walls of his reclusive retreat outside Madrid, the “Quinta del Sordo“, the house of the deaf man. But Goya was not deaf to despair, just witness to it.