Update on a previous postPosted: December 10, 2010
My friend schooled me on the real translation — and political and social context — of this poster. Way more interesting and complete …
Chienlit is a traditional French term typically translated as masquerade (French Mascarade) or carnival/chaos. It was brought to notoriety by General Charles de Gaulle in an angry speech during the student protests in Paris during May 1968 in France, when he used the vernacular term as a scatological pun “La réforme oui, la chie-en-lit non” meaning crap in bed.
He used it first in a private meeting discussing the demand for direct participation in business and government by students and workers. This was first reported by the Minister of Information Georges Gorse and softened by the French media to ‘masquerade/chaos’. De Gaulle then repeated it in a TV broadcast for high impact.
Subsequently the students re-used the expression on leaflets where the silhouette of de Gaulle was accompanied by the slogans “La chienlit, c’est lui ! – the chienlit, it is him!” and “La chienlit, c’est encore lui ! – it is still him!”.
I have heard a few versions of that saying on my poster. According to the newspaper article taped to the back of it, it was printed by students in 1968.