Ladies and Gentlemen, Raymond-Devos Prize Jurors,Mr Delegate General for the French Language and the Languages of France [Xavier NORTH],Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,Mr Professor, Dear François ROLLIN,

“Bonsoar!” … which my collaborators wrote “BONSOAR”… I
see that the French language is in the spotlight…
So I’m going to ask you a little bit of silence, even a
very great silence, to welcome Professor ROLLIN»...
You all know, when the bell rang, this ritual phrase of
Saturday morning, not at the Ministry of Culture, but on France
Culture, which is much more important, this sentence that opens the
Professor ROLLIN’s class, in an ideal atmosphere, halfway
between the Communale and the Collège de France dear to another FRANÇOIS
– not the one you think of, I didn’t say another MITTERRAND –
but to the «most illustrious of Francis», FRANCIS I, its founder.
Dear Professor ROLLIN, now that the silence has taken place, I
would like to tell you that the presentation of this prize is a pretext for you
approach at last. For, as you can imagine, since my arrival in
Valois, I felt strongly, sometimes even painfully, the need
to be surrounded, assisted, supported by an intellectual, a wise, a
philosopher of your ilk.
First, by your command of the French language, you would have allowed me
solve the Chinese puzzle of a number of these words
“epicenes” – that is, they have the same shape, I believe, dear Alain
REY, male and female – legion in the political world
which, as you know, is particularly open to parity. The first
of them, of course, Minister. Must I say, to address
some of my colleagues, “Madam Minister” or “Madam
Minister” – “Minister” being, you will agree, a
rarer opportunity…?
Another «epic» problem, and very thorny, and which has nothing of a
epiphenomenon, concerned the way in which I had to evoke madame la
Minister – or Minister – who preceded me. Is she my predecessor?
My predecessor (without “e”)? My predecessor (with an “e”)? My
predecessor? My predecessor, as you say, "author"
in one of your sketches? I would have also proposed
predecessor”? My office has phosphorus on the issue, but
I would have needed, Professor, your guidance in this
delicate matter.

You who were a pioneer of Copenhagen and who save words,
like other endangered animals, I enjoy your
presence to ask you what a HADOPI really is. I
I would like to say that the
was not an “alpine animal or any Indian tribe”. Some
of my advisors wanted me to believe that this is some kind of
Dahut Minister, but today I am fortunate to have you in
face of me, I can finally hope for an answer, unless you do
preferred to have you replaced, as do the ministers to whom the
ask questions, by your dear, by our dear
I have so many questions for you, Professor. Rotten
explain to me, you who are an expert in French,
what we call here “Elements of language”? Is it a form
of sausage of our tongue, of a kind of new cuisine
Japanese way, halfway between sushi, maki, and
sashimi? Small mouthfuls not to the queen, but to the minister, for
transition without transition from the language of the Self to the language of wood? And this
is not, dear François MOREL, a specialty of the Sarthe as the
claim some bad tongues.
If you were not taken by France Culture, by Europe 1, by France
Inter, by your shows and by your ever more numerous audiences and
passionate, you would have brought me here so many lights, you would have put me
in the mouth so many rare words.
Professor, you would have told me, for example, who is this
“GOOGLE”, which everybody has been talking to me about, for six months. I haven’t
never dared to ask my collaborators, but who is this gentleman
that I was never made to meet and that I was described as a
“Californian giant”? I haven’t met yet – and barely yesterday
even, besides – that a certain Mr. David DRUMMOND, whom I am told is
its Director, but I did not know that the giants had also
Directors… By educating me, you would have saved me a lot of anxiety
and many nightmares of which this GOOGLE is the main character – and
I have to tell you that he has nothing of the sympathetic little Donald who plays
rugby in yours... He has the unfortunate habit, I am told, of fighting
with a large library, what I find, for my part, for the
less singular, not to say entirely inappropriate.
You would also have told me who these “good-children” are that I hear about
and if they are also threatened by this terrible giant?
You would have no doubt invented for us one of those encryption
have the secret to protect our credit cards. You could have done so
significantly accelerate the digitization of our heritage in
transforming the thousand billion letters of our works in
libraries, in a series of figures of your invention and use
much easier for the general public…
You would have found mnemonics probably very
practices to help me remember what acronyms mean
as poetic as ZPPAUP, RGPP, DMDTS, DGLFLF, FNCF – it’s
possible! – , and of course, ET CETERA.
Because, it is true, I admit, I am from day to day more «addicted» to

You would also have explained to me what a blue is; I’m not talking about those
that one enlists in politics, nor those that one necessarily receives immediately
after, but those that are made in Matignon, in RIM that are
The European Parliament has a very important role to play.
You who «draw a diagonal», you would have helped me to «diagonalize
of the initials», as they say in this strange Valois tribe,
with all the acuity of your «larynx eye», and to remember by heart, without
the Culture and Communication budget figures, for
which you would have established a secret code by letters, hoping that the
crisis does not lead us, to transport our subsidies, to use the
“wheelbarrow” from your friend DÉDÉ-LA-BOULETTE, an invention
that I would love to discover – and I take this opportunity to tell SIMONE
that this is not just a broken wheelbarrow.
Obviously, after a stint in the office, you could have been integrated
in a body, in a large body, following the rules of the
administrative memo. I would not have allowed you
resurrect in a small alpine animal obliged to do, a few centuries
during the shuttle between the two assemblies…
Failing to attract you to the «Palaces» of the Republic to which
if you were not monopolized by your
I believe that I would like to entrust you with a mission
– the twenty-third since I took office – a mission
naturally at the height of your talent, that is to say a mission
impossible and that I leave entirely at your convenience. What would you say
a report on “Humour and Technocracy”, I’ll leave you with 20
years to gather all the material. I thought of Lyricism and
"Budget", "Creation and Understanding", to a prospective study on
evolution of the “pride index” of which you are the illustrious inventor and who,
I am sure, has very strong ties with the presence
cultural facilities. Or else, you could bring us
response elements – or language elements – to the question “The
is reunionite a humanism?" You will naturally have to your
to carry out your mission, your SIMONE assistant and a
free dictionary made available by the Ministry, which does not
Resolutely steps back from no sacrifice in these difficult times…
You would have especially brought us this humor which is your identity
your unique way to make the French language live
in a comic distance that is a subtle form of love. It may be
that’s why the words of humor and love have this lovely kinship
You would have been our Professor of «madness», in the true sense of the word.
You would have made us, like every Saturday noon on the radio, the
gift of this irony and jovial retreat on the things that are the
ethical and generous and selfless attitude. You us
would have helped, on a daily basis, to never fall into the pitfalls of
emphasis, for your madness, your gentle irony, and never bitter, are
the expression of a wisdom, a kind of comic maieutic that we
offers the mysterious teaching of laughter and the saving sense of the absurd.
You are a teacher of a very special kind, who makes us
pleasantly waver our certainties and confer on reality and everyday life a
rare poetic quality, through games on the language, but also games
this unmistakable false compunction, which is a light satire and
Liberating the complacent connivance of the powerful.

You have this perfect diction and at the same time outraged until
that fake emphasis of improbable lecturer that makes
a kind of parodic paragon of the Republic of
Teachers” … And of course, your art of shopping and plastering is done
to disassemble more than to demonstrate and we have never seen, in the background, a
teacher so little didactic and, at the same time, so pedagogical in one
higher sense. A bit like the pedals of MOLIÈRE and
some immortal sketches by Raymond DEVOS, another great poet
of laughter, you deploy a communicative truculence that dispenses us
a form of “gay knowledge” that accompanies us and lightens our minds and
the heart as the work goes on and the days…
But I see you’re tempted to lean on your knee, like you
like to do it, to turn the earth faster and shorten this moment
too flattering that hurts your ego too modest. I know that I have yielded to the
"Hofstadter Law", which is dear to you and which is somewhat the law of the
departments: it states that everything always takes longer than expected,
even if we take into account… the Hofstadter law! It is high time
I also give you as solemnly as it should be the Prize
Raymond DEVOS and especially that I give you the floor, because I know that
“Professor ROLLIN always has something to say”…