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Photo: Mathi et Mathi.

No one quite masters the art of whining and complaining like the French, which means the world's ultimate râleurs and blasés find the deepest kind of pleasure in cursing.

Some French musicians have now taken it to the next level, singing songs essentially based around the use of the word “merde”, or “c’est d’la merde” (“this is bullsh*t”). French newspaper Libération focused on three of them this week — Mathi et Mathi, Jo Dahan and Fabien Martin — who have made it their mission to grumble and insult the universe.

Mathi et Mathi use their song “C’est d’la merde” as a kind of catharsis, notes Libération, expressing their deep dissatisfaction with the shittiness of all that surrounds them: work, love, friends, family — even holidays. Everything is nothing but “d’la merde”:


Fabien Martin instead uses the word more to share his boredom and fatigue with life. He says “merde” too, but adds “s’emmerde” (“so fu**ing bored”) to the music.

Jo Dahan resorts to rock'n'roll rhythms and profanity to communicate nostalgia. Just like Mathi et Mathi, he counts off all the things in life that were "mieux avant." Music, cars, movies ... Merde itself, it seems, was "better before."

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Society

How India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy

India is one of the world's worst countries for air pollution, with women more likely to be affected by the problem than men. Now, experts and activists are fighting to reframe pollution as a gendered health crisis.

A woman walking through dense fog in New Delhi

*Saumya Kalia

MUMBAI In New Delhi, a city that has topped urban air-pollution charts in recent years, Shakuntala describes a discomfort that has become too familiar. Surrounded by bricks and austere buildings, she tells an interviewer: "The eyes burn and it becomes difficult to breathe". She is referring to the noxious fumes she routinely breathes as a construction worker.

Like Shakuntala, women’s experiences of polluted air fill every corner of their lives – inside homes, in parks and markets, on the way to work. Ambient air in most districts in India has never been worse than it is today. As many as 1.67 million people in the country die prematurely due to polluted air. It is India’s second largest health risk after malnutrition.

This risk of exposure to air pollution is compounded for women. Their experiences of toxic air are more frequent and often more hazardous. Yet “policies around air quality have not yet adequately taken into account gender or other factors that might influence people’s health,” Pallavi Pant, a senior scientist at the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S., told The Wire Science.

“It’s unacceptable that the biggest burden [rests on] those who can least bear it,” Sherebanu Frosh, an activist, added. People like her are building a unique resistance within India.

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