those who speak for themselves to pay homage to others

Mikhaïl Gorbachev, the queen of England, Jean-Luc Godard, William Klein… With each disappearance, his tributes. But social networks have inaugurated a new type of tribute. It consists of unearthing a memory of the deceased (a photo, a secret) and, under the pretext of evoking his memory, to be able to talk a little more about oneself.

People’s version of “guess where I’m calling you from”, the ego-tribute crosses all layers of the population, from those who exhume the cliché of the day they met Jean-Pierre Pernaut at Disneyland to Barack Obama tweeting that his wife, Michelle, and himself had had the chance to know Her Majesty the Queen.

How do we recognize them?

They post old photos in which they always look more radiant than the guest. In their memories, it is always the deceased who solicits them (“he had offered to accompany me”, “he had asked me to…”) or distinguishes them (“He had taken the time to…”). With the ego-homage, “I had laid siege to his press service for a five-minute interview” becomes, among journalists, “He granted me an interview”.

Sometimes, some recall that they were able to grasp the talent of the deceased very quickly (Edwy Plenel: ” William Klein, whose photo-painting I had chosen for the front page of the World during the transition to the year 2000 “) or that they are the dolphins (the classic: “He taught me everything”).

In their memories, they evolve in the same spheres as the deceased (“we had the chance to work together”, rather than ” I had the chance to work for him”), even, sail a little above, like Jacques Attali recounting, on France Inter, his meeting with François Mitterrand and Mikhail Gorbachev, slipping that it was the Russian head of state who was taking notes.

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They greet “extraordinary generosity” of the disappeared, implying that they benefited from it. They bring out their very old official visit photos and present them in vacation picture albums (Jack Lang on Twitter : “Weekend of the Gorbachev couple in 1993 in Solutré in the company of President François Mitterrand, Pierre Bergé, Roland Dumas and myself. I always remember the wonderful visit we made to the Château de Cormatin”).

When they evoke the works of the deceased, it is to underline how much they were inspired (Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres: “Queen Elizabeth II has done me the great honor of bestowing on me the insignia of Knight Commander of the British Empire! Pride, emotion and gratitude overwhelm me today when the whole world recognizes his exceptional influence,” or Jack Lang, again: “I find with emotion the poster of the film that Godard dedicated to me in 1986”).

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