ISSN : 2266-6060

Capital ritual

Paris, October 2017.

Unlike the graves of our ancestors, which are decorated with flowers especially on All Saints’ Day, those of celebrities are built throughout the year as an observatory of modern religion and individual worship. Empty bottles and cigarette packets littering the grave of Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise, love letters and kisses warming the mausoleum of Dalida in Montmartre testify to the daily life and the individual hold of this collective effervescence, often considered lightly by our so-called secularized societies.
Less famous but no less intriguing, some graves, including that of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and his wife, attract a pile of small pieces of paper covered with a pebble. A guide from Père Lachaise tells me that this is a satanic ritual in which visitors come to claim the support of the deceased; the stacking certifies the power attributed to the dead. If claiming support consists in checking one’s pockets and putting down a piece of paper, most often an old subway ticket as proof of one’ s journey, after having seen shades of yellow, green, purple and white passing by, I wonder what is left in our pockets at the time of the gradual suppression of the subway ticket. Probably our tickets. Beyond the ritual, the ordinary registers of merchant exchanges would probably delight the author of Distinction who could then remain informed of the tastes and lifestyles of his contemporaries.

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