By: Simone Spilka
Since the 2008 ban of smoking indoors at bars and clubs in Paris, an activity highly associated with French culture, outdoor noise level has become a main concern for citizens of residential neighborhoods. As addressed in the article, party-goers now flock outside to the streets for multiple and noisy cigarette breaks through all hours of the late-night and early-morning, causing a clear disturbance for the sleeping families and businessmen in the surrounding areas. To control the issue, a project has been issued to send people dressed as mimes and clowns into the streets as a reminder to keep quiet.
I found this article incredibly humorous because of its clear distinction of French culture: an attempt to stop a problem caused largely in part by smoking with a group of mimes. However funny it may be I do not believe this will be at all an effective solution and could potentially lead to escalating noise levels. I think that the clowns and mimes will certainly serve as a sight to go outside and see as a form of entertainment for the drunken revellers, drawing larger crowds into the streets.
As a concerned citizen, I would take this project as a sign of mockery more than anything else. According to this article, the mayor’s level of professionalism doesn’t seem as high as one, say, from California, as he argues in favor of the need to maintain Parisian party culture rather than the residential and working class citizens demands for noise control. A suggestion was made to relocate nightclubs to one central location, but Delanoe argued that “lively streets keep the city safer at night.” As a student studying in a foreign country I agree that it is a more protected environment when other people roam the city as well. Without his complete and full support of their demands, it seems the mime and clown plan will play out humorously stimulating, yet short-lived for its initial objective.