New update (Feb. 4): Gilles de Robien takes his initial decision back and turns it into a 6 months suspension (compared to a permanent revocation). This reversal comes after two weeks of campaigning on French blogs (which led to the exposure of this affair in mainstream media) and the quick recognition by the ministry that the initial sanction was totally out of proportion.
Important update (shamelessly copied from Dangeureuse Trilingue's post about the Gardfielddgate):
In a press release of 2006-01-20, the Minister of Education, Gilles de Robien, announced that « given [Garfieldd’s] record of service, the Minister will soon take a decision that is more commensurate with the civil servant’s misconduct » (my translation). In plain English, that means that Garfieldd’s dismissal can be expected to be reversed and commuted into a lesser sentence. Considering that M. de Robien signed off the dismissal only a very short time ago, the blogs’ mobilisation might well have had an impact on this. Anyway, let’s stay tuned, and hugs to Garfieldd.
This is one post I won't have to write: Blogs and institutional homophobia in France. Go read it. I think this story is just unfolding as a potential national scandal revealed through blogs. It has already generated hundreds of posts and comments in just a couple of days. Homophobia has certainly played a role (because had it be a woman, or pics of women in panties, no one would have dared to bring pornography on the table). But I tend to see this more as a giant clash between the old rusted French institutions wrapped in their cult of secrecy and the boundaries of freedom of expression that individuals are expanding through their blogs.
We call our ministry of National Education the mamoth. It clearly deserves its nickname, and it's rigid as a fossile. Welcome in the era of personal publishing, old France!
P.S. another one in English: Fired for… Blogging?