Showing posts with label Nicolas Sarkozy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nicolas Sarkozy. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Detained for questioning

This morning, about an hour ago, the French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy was detained for questioning over alleged influence peddling.


These days, whenever we see photos of the former French president, he seems to have stopped shaving for several days.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

British trick

There are rumors that Her Majesty's Guards are recruiting certain exceptional sportsmen with the aim of putting together a top-level basketball team, in the hope of challenging the USA.


Meanwhile, the Coldstream Guards hit upon the diabolical scheme of using one of their top basketball-players (whose identity cannot be determined, since his eyes are hidden behind the rim of his busby) in order to humiliate an unpopular foreign visitor—the perfectly normal president François Hollande—by making him look like a dwarf.


Back in the good old days when Nicolas Sarkozy was president, his buddy David Cameron didn't need to use this kind of nasty trick.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Patron saint of French Socialists

Next Sunday, as we wander out of our village churches after the Mass (while shaking hands with Monsieur le curé and expressing admiration for the excellence of his sermon) and stroll to the polling booths for the first round of the parliamentary elections, we Socialists must not fail to remember that our party now has a patron saint.


The feast day of Saint Nafissatou is the 14th May. A legendary tale reveals that, on that day in the year 2011, in a humble inn in the village of Manhattan, the Holy Ghost alighted upon our heroine in the bodily form of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, clad in less than the bare necessities. Were it not for all the shit that followed, we French Socialists would have pleaded with Dominique to be our leader.


History will surely confirm that Strauss-Kahn would have accepted our pleas of allegiance. We would have gone into presidential battle behind Dominique's banner. And it's not unlikely that Christians among us would have evoked the celebrated words of the Singing Nun, the tragic Belgian Jeanine Deckers [1933-1985 suicide with her female lover]... without worrying too much about the fact that the French verb niquer means "to screw" (in the sense that an internationally-renowned master of economics might like to screw prostitutes).


Were it not for Saint Nafi (her familiar name among friends), we would have gone into the recent presidential elections as innocent lambs, not knowing that the malefic forces of Sarko had more than enough data on hand to screw our hero and ourselves. And the whole nasty affair would have blown up in the middle of the electoral activities.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Big day in the USA

Between Barack Obama and François Hollande, an introductory exchange of a few words on the theme of US cheeseburgers and French fries might have been interpreted as a lighthearted evocation of the recently-adopted diet of our new French president, who used to be quite a plump little man.

photo pool/AFP — Philippe Wojazer

Ah, if only international diplomacy could be determined solely by smiles!

Apparently Barack Obama told François Hollande that he wasn't obliged to stand out in the "crowd" of G8 members by continuing to wear a necktie. Hollande explained that the necktie was purely for the French media. Are we really as formal as that in old-fashioned France? It's a fact that one of our new ministers, Cécile Duflot (chief of the Greens), was the object of certain criticism when she turned up in jeans, on Thursday, for the first ministerial meeting at the Elysée Palace.


The following White House photo highlights the rapid ascension of François Hollande into the sacrosanct courtyard of the great:


It makes me feel good to see France represented at last, within this assembly, by a fine solid left-wing Frenchman such as François Hollande... as opposed to our recent tiny twitcher, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Voices from the Socialist past

Throughout the coming week, we can expect some spectacular fireworks (akin to the final five minutes in a yet-undecided rugby match) as Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande move towards the final moment of truth, next Sunday.


Their forthcoming TV debate will be followed by everybody in France. I don't imagine that there'll be a "winner" and a "loser", unless one of the candidates has a fit of madness... which is a perfectly serious possibility that must not be excluded a priori. And, even if one guy succeeded in knocking out his opponent, I'm not sure that this would change French voting opinion enormously. I believe that most people have already made up their minds, and it's Bye-bye Nicolas (along with your glitzy watches, your charming kids and your top-model wife).

The only thing I regret profoundly in the inevitable impending victory of the left is that Sarko was an adept of cycling, whereas Hollande is a dull soccer guy. OK, I'm a cycling snob, but I find it hard to imagine the president François Hollande watching with enthusiasm (necessary madness) a mythical ascension of the Ventoux. Unless Hollande can do something about this weakness (maybe there are training courses in this domain), his incapacity to go crazy about pairs of wheels on mountain slopes could well turn out to be a significant political handicap.

Meanwhile, we've just heard Dominique Strauss-Kahn informing us that his affair in Manhattan was some kind of Sarkozian setup.


Frankly, for the moment, I can't figure out why DSK chose the present crucial moment (between the two rounds of the presidential elections) to make this disturbing revelation. Is there method in his madness? For the moment, it's impossible to say... But who gives a fuck (apart from DSK, who's apparently good at giving that kind of thing)?

As for the opinions of the former presidential candidate Lionel Jospin, they're easier to understand.


Jospin claims that Sarko was using "the weapon of lies" in suggesting that 700 Muslim mosques in France had proclaimed that their flock should vote for François Hollande. Personally, I've never found it difficult to believe, nor even alarming, that Sarko and his friends might be tempted, from time to time, to play around with the truth.

I'm not saying that being a socialist in France today is a permanent cure against telling political lies... but it seems to help at times.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Vulnerable electoral poster

Nicolas Sarkozy was not particularly prudent in his choice of this calm marine backdrop for his electoral poster, released yesterday.


Really, that vast stretch of calm empty water is an invitation to viewers to imagine ways and means of filling it in. The celebrated Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza [1632-1677] claimed that "Nature abhors a vacuum". In his poster, Sarko has offered us a huge vacuum of water and sky which we all, naturally, start to abhor.

As soon as I saw the poster, yesterday, I started playing around with various possible parodies, and several marine themes jostled in my imagination. I thought about trying to incorporate this delightful image into Sarko's poster, but this composition of an iceberg and a fragile vessel above the ocean depths is narrow and deep, whereas Sarkozy's poster is wide and shallow. So, I abandoned the ship and gave up trying.

For those of us who don't like Sarko, and see his possible reelection as a catastrophe, the first image that springs into mind, to occupy the emptiness in his poster, is the great hull of the Titanic sliding gracefully into the icy waters of the Atlantic.


This theme is reinforced by the recent stupid wreck of the Costa Concordia on the rocky coast of the Mediterranean island of Giglio.


We soon learned that Sarko's photo of the empty sea was in fact a public-domain image of the Aegean. Now, Sarkozy surely regretted the divulgation of this trivial element of information, because the calm waters of Greece are not exactly an ideal symbol, these days, for a European political candidate.

Before the day was out, we heard that France's largest yacht, belonging to the media magnate Stéphane Courbit, had in fact just sunk in the waters of Greece.


And people started to wonder immediately if this were not the same luxurious yacht on which the newly-elected Sarkozy and his current wife had disappeared for a short vacation in the Mediterranean during the days that followed his victory in 2007.


No, it was the same kind of rich owner, and the same bling-bling lifestyle, but not the same boat.


Consequently, this morning, I was delighted to find that a host of excellent parodies had been created during the 24 hours that followed Sarko's presentation of his poster. Click here to see some of them. And here are some others (in which the humor often requires an acquaintance with all kinds of Sarkozian happenings):

Friday, November 4, 2011

Nice couples, nice tax

These days, people who hear of the Sarkozy couple would have normally imagined this duo:

There's an offspring. The extreme right-wing politician Marine Le Pen was offended by the fact that the given name of Sarko's child, Giulia, is not pure dyed-in-the-wool French. But this will surely not give rise to a revolution.

Meanwhile, the major couple in the news is the Merkozy duo:

And a little bit of the Obamazy duo:

The couple strolled together in the rain, at Cannes, in front of musicians of the French Foreign Legion.

Then, on the Friday evening TV news, Obama heaped praise upon the French president for his rôle in the current Greek crisis.

I've never been a fan of Nicolas Sarkozy, but I've admired his tenacity in dealing with this affair… even though nobody is convinced yet that all the basic problems have been solved.

Governments of progressive societies need lots of finance to improve the situation of their citizens, and it's obtained through taxation. To my mind, Sarkozy is on the right track when he advocates a Tobin tax on financial transactions. I would imagine that François Hollande, our likely next president, would also strive to install this good tax.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Feathers in Sarko's hat

It's a bit scary to see that Nicolas Sarkozy is visiting Libya today, at a weird moment when the ousted dictator Gaddafi still remains at large, apparently protected by a certain number of supporters. But it's easy to understand why Sarkozy finds it a good idea, at this precise moment, to fly in and out of this Mediterranean land.

With the French presidential elections looming, liberated Libya will be a fine feather in Sarko's campaign hat. Besides, images of the visit will no doubt dominate this evening's TV news in France, at exactly the same moment that viewers are getting ready to watch the very first debate between the six candidates for the Socialist primary.

Here are the results of the latest opinion poll, published this morning in the French press:

Incidentally, on the subject of Sarko, it's interesting to discover that the poor man's hair is rapidly turning gray.

That, too, will be a significant asset in the forthcoming presidential campaign. The Socialist favorite François Hollande is some six months older than Sarko, and he has a receding hairline. But I can already visualize the wise old gray-haired Sarko treating Hollande condescendingly as a politically-inexperienced youngster.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Frenzy pays

Yes, frenzy might pay. Like crime (at times). But at what price? Almost everybody has come around to agreeing that Nicolas Sarkozy is a crazy guy. You only have to try to watch him for a while, and you soon become burdened by a huge fatigue. Imagine that you were out jogging, and Sarko suddenly came up from behind and passed you, and you decided to follow him. He's so full of infinite energy that he ends up fatiguing you, like the relentless Duracell bunny in the celebrated sketch by the late great French humorist Pierre Desproges.



Over the last couple of days, Sarko devoted his relentless energy to organizing an international wave capable of terminating the bloody madness of Gaddafi. And it looks like Sarko's frenzy is indeed paying. You might think of it as one crazy guy determined to get another.

Even Gaddafi tried to use clinical psychiatric language (which I won't attempt to reproduce here) in trying to explain what might have gone askew in the Mediterranean hemisphere of his old mate's skull… and there may even have been hordes of Mediterranean folk who believed such explanations. Be that as it may, Sarko's frenzy seems—as I just said—to be paying. But at what credibility price?

My primitive old-fashioned Antipodes blog is surely not sophisticated enough—simply not fast enough—to record the speed of Sarko's constantly-evolving agitations. He wriggles nervously his head and shoulders (no anti-dandruff publicity intended) at the speed of lite (a low-power Sarkozian variation on light). Concerning the Libyan affair, for example, I'm almost ashamed to reveal to non-French readers that this whole business of Sarko's anti-Gaddafi stance originated within the context of the diplomatic agitations of a certain romantic but brilliant French philosopher, Bernard-Henri Lévy, bare-chested husband of the actress Arielle Dombasles.

No, I refuse to even try to explain what these contacts might be all about. Not only would my readers fail to grasp anything whatsoever about what I might say, but I too don't really understand what such "people" (as they're called in academic French) have to do with the running of the République. That's the charm of Sarko.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stubborn mummies

Normally, a self-respecting mummy is expected to migrate promptly to the afterlife, particularly when it has ample on-board supplies and more than enough ready cash to buy a coffee or a beer along the way.

Last night on French TV, I witnessed the presence of two distinguished mummies—one in Egypt, as is normal, and the other here in France—who seem to be somewhat stubborn about leaving the scene and allowing another pharaoh to rule over their old territory and people. The first mummy, of course, was Hosni Mubarak, who used his entire farewell oration to inform us that he ain't goin' nowhere in the near future. Earlier on in the day, I had heard snippets of information about the massive wealth that this fellow has amassed and stored away for his family and himself in various corners of the planet. Frankly, whichever way I look at the Egyptian situation, I reckon that this Hosni guy is living dangerously, and I would be most surprised if he ever has a chance of spending his ill-gotten gains in various nice vacation spots around the globe. Maybe, to mention an obvious idea for a voyage, he might end up floating quietly down the Nile… but it's not sure that the circumstances of such a trip would correspond to Hosni's hopes.

Closer to home, our local mummy is Nicolas Sarkozy… but he won't actually be wrapped up and set on his voyage to the afterlife until next year. For the moment, he's in a kind of zombie state, shocked by the massive backlash of citizens the majority of whom appear to consider that the president hasn't delivered the goods he promised, and that his time is up. Yesterday evening, he organized a fake talk show in which he replied to questions from a carefully-selected panel of citizens. I only watched this show for a few minutes, as I thought it would be particularly boring. I'm told it was. Although the cotton wrappings are on the wall, Sarko carries on stubbornly pretending that he's still in the land of the living. Pharaoh enough… presidents never like to go out with a whimper.

BREAKING NEWS: Less than an hour ago, the Egyptian mummy has finally realized (mummies don't think rapidly) that his people would like him to fuck off… and that's what he's doing. Needless to say, the fatigued crowds are erupting in joy.

Meanwhile, here in France, nothing of a similar nature appears to be happening in the case of Sarkophagus.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Funny French website

This hilarious and expertly-engineered website proposes the Sarkophone: that's to say, a personalized version of Sarko's iPhone. And the amazing thing is that it seems to work like a real iPhone… except that you probably can't actually phone up anybody. The YouTube videos featuring Sarko and Berlusconi talking with the Romanian fellow are brilliant.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sarko's fireworks show

French people used to say: We don't produce oil, but we've got ideas. These days, France has been making a great effort to secure Chinese business contracts. So, during the visit to Paris of the Chinese president Hu Jintao and his wife, it was normal to organize a glitzy dinner evening at the Elysées Palace. The following video (with spoof voice-overs from comedians playing the roles of Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni) shows the arrival of various members of the French government:



An observer has the impression that female dinner guests were expected to turn up in glamorous gear. This was what happened… with the exception of the wives of the Chinese and French presidents. In any case, nobody complained about putting a few French female specimens on show to celebrate the signing of some 20 contracts for a sum of 16 billion euros. As Mao stated in his Little Red Book: France doesn't produce oil, but they've got sexy women.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sarko's Vatican show

A profound principle of the French Republic is the separation between the State and the Church. Consequently, many French observers were shocked to see Nicolas Sarkozy behaving outwardly at the Vatican this weekend, in front of cameras, as if he were there on a private religious pilgrimage.

He was seen crossing himself several times, and even mumbling a prayer... which doesn't sound a lot like the everyday Sarko we all know. In any case, many citizens feel that such behavior is inappropriate on the part of the president of a laic republic such as France. It's all the more annoying when we recall that Sarko was visiting the pope primarily with a view to making amends for recent French deportation operations directed at Gypsies.

Since becoming president, Nicolas Sarkozy has had several opportunities of strutting around with celebrities. (He even married one.) He recently told journalists an amusing anecdote about his visit to Buckingham Palace in March 2008.

Apparently, while getting transported around by royal coach in London's chilly air, Sarko had developed a terrible thirst. As soon as he was seated alongside the queen in the magnificent banqueting hall, our parched president was given what he thought was a glass of water. So he gulped it down in one fell swoop. In fact, it wasn't water; it was gin. And, as we all know, Nicolas had given up alcoholic beverages back in the days when he was a young man full of dreams about becoming the president of France. Consequently, the glass of gin had an immediate effect upon him. Sarko told the journalists that he knew he was somewhat inebriated when he heard himself asking his gracious neighbor whether Her Majesty ever got bored by her job. "Well yes, certainly," replied the queen, "but I never admit it."

I wonder what they gave him to drink at the Vatican this weekend. Holy water?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gift idea for a president

In May 2012, France will be holding its five-yearly presidential election. For the moment, we don't know whether or not Nicolas Sarkozy will be a candidate. In any case, I think it would be nice if people were to start thinking about the kind of gift we could offer the president to celebrate the end of his first five years in office. In fact, if I've brought this subject up today, it's because I've just had a good idea for a great gift, which wouldn't even be all that expensive, if we were all to chip in.

A month before the election, on 10 April 2012, the world will be commemorating the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, just four days into her maiden voyage, after she hit an iceberg.

I've just heard that a British cruise ship, the Balmoral, will be leaving Southampton on 8 April 2012 with the aim of following the itinerary of the Titanic, all the way to New York. The vessel will be carrying living descendants of victims and survivors of the disaster, and it will be halting for a while at the very spot where the great ship went down.

Now, Nicolas Sarkozy has always expressed his admiration for the New World, and even takes pleasure (so it's said) in being designated as "Sarko, the American". The Balmoral will be dropping in at Cherbourg (France) before setting out across the Atlantic. And this will be happening just a month before the end of Nicolas Sarkozy's presidency. I simply suggest that we all get together and raise enough cash to offer Sarko a ticket on this voyage. If all goes well, and there are no mishaps during the trip (one never knows…), he would have ample time to get back to France before the election. In that case, the very idea of his having survived a reenactment (as it were) of the voyage of the Titanic would have a precious impact upon the president's future image and heritage.

Sarkozy wounded by a word

In a recent issue of his Marianne weekly, the distinguished journalist Jean-François Kahn chose a very strong word to designate Nicolas Sarkozy. He referred to him as the "voyou de la République".

[Click the image to access the article, in French.]

This time-honored colloquial term is derived from the Latin via (street, road). A voyou is a hoodlum who hangs about on the streets, often a loutish delinquent.

[TRIVIAL ANECDOTE: In my French family, this word evokes a harmless verbal encounter, long ago, between my charming mother-in-law and me, at a time when my French was not very subtle. Feeling that her questions pried mildly into my personal existence, I reacted with a smile: "Madame, je ne suis pas un voyou."]

Kahn's harsh words concerning the president are motivated above all by Sarkozy's treatment of recent urban unrest in the nearby city of Grenoble. The police shot and killed a young bandit who had just returned from an armed attack of a casino in the region. Companions of the deceased bandit then assaulted police forces and behaved riotously for several days and nights. Apparently judging that the rioters belonged to families with origins in the Maghreb (prior to becoming naturalized French citizens), the president dared to evoke the notion that offenders of this kind might be deprived of their French nationality. Now, you don't need to be a expert in French and international law to realize that this idea goes against the grain of certain fundamental republican principles: above all, the legal equality of all French citizens, regardless of their origins. It goes without saying that any attempt to change this principle in France would immediately bring to mind the ugly epoch of Pétain and Laval, when the authorities made a distinction between "pure" French people and those with foreign origins…

In Sarkozy's reactions to the violence in Grenoble, he gave the impression that the killing of a French police officer is "worse", from a legal viewpoint, than, say, the murder of an old lady. If the first killer happened to be of Maghrebi origins, he could be condemned to a stateless existence, whereas the murder of the old lady would remain French. In his anger, Sarkozy even evoked the curious idea that parents could be punished for the delinquency of their offspring.

A few years ago, this same weekly, Marianne, contested strongly the idea that Sarkozy might be compared with George W Bush, as a dogmatic and sectarian ideologist. On the contrary, Sarkozy was designated as follows: "He is a pragmatic and talented Bonapartiste (the best candidate put forward by the Right for ages). He is capable, if he thinks it's in his personal interests, of stigmatizing the 'big bosses' or criticizing capitalism. However, the giant proportions of his swollen ego, the amplification of his self-adoration, and the force of his almost unlimited quest for power and control are close to madness. And they represent a threat for our conception of democracy and the republic."

The present article by Jean-François Kahn gives the impression that Sarkozy will be judged severely for his excessive reactions in the aftermath of the Grenoble rioting. It's important to understand that Kahn states unequivocally that the president is certainly neither a Pétainiste, a racist, a xenophobe nor a Fascist. No, he's simply an urban delinquent, a voyou. Here are Kahn's conclusions concerning Sarkozy, which I've translated freely into English:

"No ideological or ethical constraint ever reins him in. No transcendental principle or moral imperative ever affects him. No Freudian super-ego ever stops him in his tracks. To conquer and to stay in power, he is capable of anything. Absolutely anything at all… in the style of a suburban gangster. In fact, equipped with the talent that such a mentality requires, and the necessary sense of taking risks, Nicolas Sarkozy is a voyou. He is a suburban gang-leader, whose suburb happens to be Neuilly. [Neuilly is an elegant residential neighborhood on the Western outskirts of Paris.] Seen in this light, it is typical of Sarkozy to 'declare war', in all kinds of situations, against rival gangs!"

It was quite unusual that an August issue of a political weekly should have created such a stir, when most French people are away on holidays. I don't have the impression that things will quieten down soon for the president. Henceforth, in evaluating Sarkozy, there'll be two time references: before and after Grenoble 2010.

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."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sarkozy profile in English

You'll have to listen to this quickly, because somebody will surely get around to fixing the bug. You'll hear a woman reading out the English version of the personal profile of Nicolas Sarkozy. OK, that's nice for web users who can't read, but the female voice is pronouncing the English words as if they were French. Hilarious...



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Smear trial

I've already mentioned a messy high-profile court trial in Paris referred to as the Clearstream affair, because of the name of a Luxembourg bank [display]. Nicolas Sarkozy saw himself as the victim of a smear campaign in which Jacques Chirac's former prime minister Dominique de Villepin seemed to have played an evil role.

Sarkozy had even committed the fault, at the start of the trial, of publicly stigmatizing DDV (as Villepin is often called) as "guilty". And he had also threatened to have the culprit hung up (metaphorically, we assume) on a butcher's meat hook. Well, the verdict was announced this morning, and DDV was cleared of all charges. Needless to say, this outcome is a significant moral blow for the president.

Sarkozy reacted by announcing that he did not intend to lodge an appeal. On the surface, that looked like a charitable decision, designed to end the feud and bring about appeasement. In Sarkozy's announcement, however, there's just one tiny mistake of a legal nature, which is quite unexpected in the mouth of a former professional barrister. In this kind of trial, French law simply does not allow the plaintiff (seeking symbolic damages) to lodge an appeal. This blunder, while of no practical significance, is surprising. Is the president flustered? Does he need a holiday break?

BREAKING NEWS: The state prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin has just announced that an appeal (emanating, not from Sarkozy, but from the prosecutor's office) will indeed be lodged. It will be interesting to see whether this extra display of judicial ferocity will have a favorable influence upon Villepin's thinly-disguised plan to be an opponent of Sarkozy in the presidential election of 2012. The former prime minister might end up being cast in a positive underdog role. Having said this, I should point out that the term "underdog" doesn't sound quite right in the case of a distinguished Gaullist gentleman and former French diplomat whose full name is Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin. Son of a senator, Villepin is not in fact a member of the French aristocracy. It was only during the 19th century that this high-sounding name was concocted out of the quite ordinary surnames of paternal and maternal ancestors. But his elegant style as an orator, his noble political principles (concerning, for example, the US invasion of Iraq) and his silvery mane of hair make him out to be a most racy underdog.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jacques Chirac to stand trial

For the first time ever in the history of the Fifth French Republic, a former president will be put on trial. It's alleged that, when he was the mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac used public funds to pay the salaries of 21 alleged municipal employees who were in fact his political agents.

Shortly after learning that Chirac would be brought to trial, former presidential candidate Ségolène Royal provided a surprising demonstration of the unusual state of current political feelings in France by saying publicly on radio that Chirac should be left in peace. One has the impression that the regal behavior of Nicolas Sarkozy—including above all his recent legal pursuit of Chirac's former prime minister Dominique de Villepin—is causing a lot of people to look back upon Chirac's presidency with fond nostalgia.

On 30 December 1941 in Ottawa, Winston Churchill evoked defeatist French generals who had expressed their belief that, within three weeks, England would have her neck wrung, by the Nazis, like a chicken. He pronounced simple words that drew applause from members of the Canadian parliament: "Some chicken, some neck."

In the context of the Clearstream affair, Sarkozy recently blurted out that the individual who tried to smear him through falsified computer listings would be "hung up on a butcher's hook".

Seeing the popularity of Dominique de Villepin, who's starting to look like a presidential candidate for 2012, I'm tempted to paraphrase Churchill: "Some carcass, some cut of meat."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sarko's son not in airship

A few days ago, there was consternation in Paris because of rumors that the president's son might be aloft, all on his own, in a giant airship named the Bling Blimp soaring over the continuation of the Champs Elysées to the west of the capital.

When the airship came back down to earth, everybody was immensely relieved to discover that the youth was not inside. Apparently he had been hiding all along in a luxury penthouse at an unknown address somewhere in Neuilly. In a TV declaration on Friday night, Filius rejected suggestions that this happening might have been a presidential reality show orchestrated by Pater. Doubts subsist however, fueled by the lad's fuzzy reply to a journalist's question about the hypothesis of a conspiracy involving the father and the son: "If your question is whether I talked with the president, the answer is no. If your question is whether I talked with my father, the answer is yes."

We've always imagined that the chief was unique, but he's visualized here as a duality. And, since the son is said to be a clone, that gives rise to a trinity. Clearly, this affair is getting out of hand. Maybe the whole thing was a religious hoax of a new kind, designed to replace alleged apparitions of the Virgin (which have gone out of fashion)...