January Potpourri: Latest Fun and Flippancy from France

What follows is an incomplete and irreverent summary of French news from January 2023. Brought to you, in part, by some of France’s favorite cartoonists.

Ushering In the New Year

Cartoon, Dog eats New Year's Resolutions
“You chewed up my list of resolutions for 2023! Well done, good dog!”
Cartoon, North Korean New Year's Greeting
Happy New Year’s 2023
Cartoon, A toxic year ahead

Macron’s Proposed Retirement Reforms

In January, millions of French people took to the streets to protest President Macron’s proposed retirement reforms. Particularly unpopular is a change to the age of retirement, which would increase from 62 years to 64. If passed, the new plan would gradually begin increasing the age of retirement this fall, with a full transition accomplished by 2030.

Macron attempted to make similar reforms in 2019, setting off massive street protests and the longest transportation strike in French history. Once again, a majority of French people are opposed to the shift. And once again, they are unanimously backed by the country’s labor unions that promise ongoing disruptions and strikes unless Macron backs down from his current position.

Cartoon, Protests against retirement reforms
Cartoon, Retirement Survey
“The government is asking our opinion on the next level of retirement benefits.”
“Try to enter 10,000 euros per month starting at the age of 60…”
Cartoon, Work for nothing
“But if you refuse to work by accomplishing stupid tasks with shitty hours and for a pathetic salary, how will you reach a retirement that no longer exists?”
Cartoon, Die pencil in hand
“Retirement, not really, but dying with pencil in hand, yes!!!”
Cartoon, Retirement
Comic, Tax the rich!
“How do we finance retirement?”
“Tax the rich!”
“Of course! And healthcare? Research?”
“Tax the rich!”
“Switch to renewable energy? Overhaul the justice system? Modernize infrastructure and defense?”
“Tax the rich! Tax the rich! Tax the rich! Tax the rich!”
Cartoon, You have a raise
“You have a raise!”
Raise in the Age of Retirement
Cartoon, Work less live longer
“We need to work longer because we are living longer…”
“But aren’t we living longer because we work less?”
Cartoon, Live Longer
“If I understand correctly, we’ll need to live two years longer.”

The Environment

Cartoon, Pollution detectors
“Just look at what they’ve planted for a purer air.”
Comic, Billionaire projects
“Given that our planet risks becoming uninhabitable in the near future…”
“As a billionaire, I’ve decided to take responsibility and allocate part of my fortune…”
“to financing a space program that aims to colonize an even more inhospitable planet!”
“What genius!”
Cartoon, Carbonless footprint
“We won’t leave a mark on history, not even a carbon footprint.”

The Economy

Cartoon, Find a link
“There must be a link… but where?”
Graph labels: Unemployment, Executive Salaries, Populism, Dividends, Poverty, Pollution, Inequity
Cartoon, Bitcoin rebounds
Value of Bitcoin is Up, Mining is Once Again Profitable
“Your grandfather was also a miner.. but it was fairly different”

The Latest Apps

Cartoon, Hunter location app
An application for locating hunters:
A stroke of luck for street vendors!
“Beer” “Wine” “Pastis”
Comic, Homework problems
Before: “I didn’t do my homework because it was too hard!”
Today: “The AI program that was supposed to do my homework was down.”

Outside France

Cartoon, Prince Harry
Harry: 3 million euros per year to support his lifestyle
“If not, I’ll end up under the bridges like mother…”
Cartoon, Afghani psychoanalysis
Afghani Psychoanalysis
“My psychiatrist asked where my fear, hatred, and contempt for women comes from…”
“And you said what?”
“I cut his throat.”
Cartoon, Ukraine receives tanks
Ukraine: Western Nations Ready to Deliver Heavy Armored Tanks
“Yes, but these tanks are non-belligerent.”
Cartoon, Iranian protests

General Gripes and Grievances

Meme, Our world
We live in a world where stupidity is heeded, intelligence is ignored, and where education is no longer in style.
Cartoon, Regulating scooters
The Government Wants to Regulate the Use of Electric Scooters
“In the big cities, they’ve already set up speed bumps.”
Cartoon, Existence of God
“There’s nothing there?”
“It might be time you realize…”
Cartoon, Crazy confidence
“I’ll say that the French must be realistic and that the French must be confident.”
“If I’m realistic, I don’t see how I could be confident.”

On the Lighter Side

Meme, Don't give up
Don’t give up!
You’ll get there!
When you think of quitting..
Think of the road you have already traveled..
Comic, Lost cellphone
“Oh My God! My cellphone!!!”
“STOP!!! Taxi! Wait, wait!”
“Sorry Sir, I forgot my phone in your taxi…”
“There’s a kid here who’s using it…”
“Oh.. that’s also my kid”
Meme, Lesson learned
In exactly 0.1 seconds these kids are going to learn a host of new words.
Cartoon, thread of consciousness

Previous Posts of French Political Cartoons

About Carol A. Seidl

Serial software entrepreneur, writer, translator, and mother of 3. Avid follower of French media, culture, history, and language. Lover of books, travel, history, art, cooking, fitness, and nature. Cultivating connections with francophiles and francophones.


  1. Mais mourir le crayon à la main, oui!

    He has the spirit of a true blogger!

    Love the poke at Elon Musk’s idiotic Mars obsession.

    I can only admire the determination of the French to protect their retirement system from Macron’s “reforms”. And it’s only natural that cartoonists would find this a fruitful topic.

    As for “Dieu”, it’s indeed high time they figured it out.

    Thanks for collecting all these and translating them.

    • Ha! I hadn’t thought of the blogger’s demise. That comic is by a very well-known female illustrator named Florence Castec. She’s the first woman to win the Grand Prize at the International Comics Festival in Angoulême. The comic here is a self-portrait. Luckily for her, she’s not likely to be in need of benefits. At 73, she’s still going strong.

      I agree, the Elon jab is spot on. I also appreciated the Afghan psychoanalysis even though it’s terribly sick.

      The onslaught of cartoons covering the retirement reform continues and in case you were wondering, the French really did announce they are working on a hunter location app (in response to calls for banning hunting on Sundays to make the woods safer for strolls.)

      It was fun gathering these. Hopefully, I’ll do more at the end of Feb.

      • I stand corrected — she has the spirit of a true blogger. 🙂

        The Afghan cartoon reminded me of one I saw some time ago, in which an Afghan man is talking to a counselor. The Afghan man says, “My wife is going through ‘the change’ and I just don’t find her attractive any more.” The counselor says, “You mean, menopause?” The Afghan man replies, “No, puberty.”

        A really useful hunter location app would be one the animals could use.

        I’m sure the cartoonists will continue to be inspired by the pension battle through February, unless Macron finally backs down.

        Noting the cartoon about the woman chasing the taxi, are the French as zombified by smartphones as Americans are? It came up on my own blog and I really have no idea.

        • The Afghan cartoon you mention is indeed similar. After reading, you have to ask yourself “is that actually funny?” Maybe not but at least some media outlets continue to bring the horrors of the worst Islamic theocracies to our attention. I’ve noticed that French media has been covering the uprisings in Iran (and resulting crack downs) far more closely than here in the U.S.

          Regarding the animal app, someone is probably working on it. 🙂

          Your question about whether French people are as zombied out as Americans is a good one. I can’t answer that, but they are definitely experiencing increased screen addiction since there are plenty of jokes about it.

  2. Excellent, as usual, thanks!

  3. Très bien. (Un peu déprimant, mais tellement vrai.) Gorce is one of favourite current cartoonists. His penguins are remarkable…

    • Tu as raison, “un peu déprimant”. In this cartoon of Gorce, I wonder if he is defending Macron’s actions by implying that the rich (who already pay very high taxes compared to here in the U.S.) can’t be expect to fund every single government program as well as every shortfall. What do you think Gorce is trying to say, Brieuc?

  4. Great comics! But I see the French cartoonists are not feeling hopeful.

  5. Excellent, Carol ! Many thanks !

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.