Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chirac style of handling rumors

An Australian article sent to me by my old friend Bruce Hudson was my first encounter with rumors about Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni [display]. There was however a basic error in that article when it evoked "the French media in a frenzy over speculation the singer and her husband are both having extra-marital affairs". The truth of the matter was that the rumor hadn't really surfaced at all in France at that time, so nobody was in a frenzy. Today, it's the president and his entourage (including his wife) who are in a frenzy trying awkwardly to quell tardily this storm in a presidential teacup. And they're simply not doing a very good job of stamping out this silliness. Sarkozy's weak point (his Achilles heel) is emotions. He never stops getting bowled over by emotional matters, which often get the better of his intellectual powers. Consequently, we cannot exclude the possibility that the people who launch rumors such as this are indeed smart guys who know exactly how to lead the president into a sticky mess.

This fellow, named Pierre Charon, is in charge of communications at the Elysées Palace. It goes without saying that he's a little upset by the apparently empty rumors that have been circulating throughout the world about the president and his wife. As for Pierre Charon, he's convinced that these rumors are part of a conspiracy. Funnily enough, back at the time when Jacques Chirac was the mayor of Paris, Pierre Charon was handling communications at the city hall. The weekly Nouvel Observateur of 29 September 2009 related a lovely anecdote revealing the art of Chirac in the face of rumors. The mayor found himself face-to-face with his director of communications at a cocktail party.

Chirac : "Monsieur Charon, I want you to accompany me back to the city hall."

Charon : "Certainly, Monsieur le Maire."

The two men got into the mayor's official automobile.

Chirac : "Monsieur Charon, I want you to do me a favor."

Charon : "Certainly, Monsieur le Maire."

Chirac : "I would like you to stop spreading gossip about my daughter Claude getting into bed with every guy in Paris." There was a long silence, then Chirac tapped his driver on the shoulder, saying: "Monsieur Charon will be getting out at the next red traffic light."

Jacques Chirac was a classy gentleman, so different to screaming Sarko, who wears his boring heart on his shoulder.

POST SCRIPTUM: Happily, in French, there's a nice succinct way of saying "I don't give a screw". The magic French formula for expressing explicitly one's near-to-zero concern for the private life of the president and his first lady: "Je m'en fous."

1 comment:

  1. William, I presume that your reference to "old" friend was not necessarily in the chronological sense as far as the individual is concerned. However, it doesn't really matter whether the reference to "old" means from a long time ago or simply "old" in years, as both interpretations are in fact correct. Fortunately, I am still able to competently differentiate between scotch whisky (or wine as the case may be) and bleach, as I am certain you are. (Ref your blog "Humor & Age" 8 April 2010). Also, I have not (at least in my opinion) contracted Alzheimer's Disease (Ref your correspondent CM) but at times do present with some of the symptoms relating to senile dementia, but at all times continue to exhibit a good sense of humour. As my late Uncle Russell used to say "... if you can't take a joke then you might as well be dead and make room for someone who can."