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French politics

An amusing  piece by John Thornhill from the Comment & Analysis page of last weekend's Financial Times.  There's one image in the piece that still has me staring off into space whenever I think about it.  A gold star to the first person who guesses correctly.

A few tips as Sarkozy meets his Molière
Financial Times; January 20/January 21, 2007)

Politics, they say, is show business for ugly people.  Naturally the French are an exception.

Few French politicians could be described as truly ugly.  Some are famously fragrant.  Besides, French politics has traditionally tended more towards high literary drama than low show business.

Dominique de Villepin, France's prime minister, is a case in point.  This lustrously haired poet-politician could surely have earned a fortune on the silver screen or in modelling, like his daughter and son, but has opted for the political salon and the library over the film studio and the catwalk.

While foreign mnister, Mr de Villepin succeeded in citing Montaigne, Villon, Byron, Rimbaud, Holderlin, Dante, Primo Levi and Garcia Lorca in a single speech on Europe, while also referring to the tribulations of Hamlet and the temptations of Faust.  On a trip to London this week, Mr de Villepin made a point of investing Harold Pinter, the scabrous playwright, into the Légion d'Honneur.

Nicolas Sarkozy, perhaps the most pulchritudinously challenged of the current crop of presidential contenders, has much of the show business about him and loves hanging out with actors and rock stars such as Jean Reno and Johnny Hallyday.  Lest the French think him too vulgar, however, Mr Sarkozy has given one of France's most reputed writers free access to his presidential campaign to research a play about the "existential dimension of a politician.  Yasmina Reza, most famous for her play Art, is promishing to publish her work in September.

Ms Reza has yet to choose a name for the play, prompting speculation.  She could perhaps draw inspiration from the titles -- if not the plot-lines -- of earlier literary works.  Waiting for Sarko (pace Beckett), would seem too retrospective.  The Myth of Sisyphus (Camus) a little too bleak.  The Game of Love ad Chance (Marivaux) could be more appropriate.  Thankfully, Ms.Reza has already penned the God of Carnage.

No doubt the balletic Ségolène Royal, La Fille Mal Gardée (The Unguarded Maiden) of the Socialist party, would consider such traditional literary works rather passé as they lack any reader participation.  If Ms Reza were ever to write a play about Ms Royal's campaign, she could include alternative endings depending on audience preference.

Mr Sarkozy's leftwing rival has been encouraging voters to contribute their own policy ideas to her interactive website, Desires for the Future, hinting that she will use them to help cure her sometimes hypochondraic compatriots of their Imaginary Illness (Molière).

One observer has compared this approach to the Second Life phenomenon on the internet in which participants can invent new cyber personalities, construct alternative realities and live out their dreams.  Only, in France, of course, it would be called La Ségonde Vie.


( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 24th, 2007 02:20 am (UTC)
If this means Reza is supporting Sarkozy's campaign, I will be crushed. Crushed, I tell you. I will weep. Because she is an awesome, awesome writer. Art is pure delight, and to think she might be supporting that twat's campaign... unless she's researching for a satire. Or intends to make fun of the whole thing. I guess I'll have to wait and see.
Jan. 24th, 2007 10:58 am (UTC)
You and dominiquelechic should put your heads together and think up suitable passwords for the sarko_le_grand lj. She has much the same opinion of Sarkozy as you do. ;-)
Jan. 24th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
Well, it can't be too flattering if she's not going to publish it until September...
Jan. 24th, 2007 09:16 am (UTC)
lol - the whole thing about Villepin is almost too good to be true (is this the one?) "lustrously haired poet-politician"
Jan. 24th, 2007 10:17 am (UTC)
Zere is nothing more beautiful zan ze truth. Except for me, of course.
Jan. 24th, 2007 10:38 am (UTC)
Well, I quite agree with you, Monsieur le Premier Ministre. It really is quite a shame that you are not featured in the media as much as you used to, since I am quite sure it would have been good for the general French moral.
Jan. 24th, 2007 11:29 am (UTC)
Bonjour, Mademoiselle! It's so nice to hear a new voice, even though you seem to be yet another fangirl of my deadly enemy cher colleague Dominique. I'm sure, though, that given enough time you'll grow to love me much better than him. Looks fade, ma chère, but intelligence and good breeding last forever. *kisses your hand* Now, tell me, are you French by any chance? Can I count on your vote in the election?
(no subject) - babycakesin - Jan. 24th, 2007 12:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dominiquelechic - Jan. 24th, 2007 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarko_le_grand - Jan. 24th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dominiquelechic - Jan. 26th, 2007 08:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarko_le_grand - Jan. 26th, 2007 08:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dominiquelechic - Jan. 26th, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarko_le_grand - Jan. 27th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dominiquelechic - Jan. 30th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarko_le_grand - Jan. 27th, 2007 06:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 24th, 2007 11:32 am (UTC)
Nicolas is kissing hands again. Did you notice?
Jan. 24th, 2007 01:10 pm (UTC)
Et alors? Do you zink I should follow him around and hand out cleansing wipes to his unfortunate victims?
Jan. 24th, 2007 10:46 am (UTC)
It's the image of Dominique on a catwalk. (Probably modeling Armani.)
Jan. 24th, 2007 10:52 am (UTC)
damn, I should have seen that... then again, I have a big hair fetish generally speaking, so... lol
(no subject) - dominiquelechic - Jan. 24th, 2007 02:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - babycakesin - Jan. 24th, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 24th, 2007 10:13 am (UTC)
*with scorn* Nicolas doesn't even know who Molière is!
Jan. 24th, 2007 11:09 am (UTC)
*bitterly* Oh, is that what you'll be giving me for my birthday, a book of plays? Save your money. You already know what I want from you.

And stop insulting my education.
Jan. 24th, 2007 12:33 pm (UTC)
*smirks* Insulting your education? I would never dream of doing such a zing you uncultured little shit.
(no subject) - sarko_le_grand - Jan. 24th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dominiquelechic - Jan. 26th, 2007 08:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarko_le_grand - Jan. 26th, 2007 09:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dominiquelechic - Jan. 26th, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarko_le_grand - Jan. 27th, 2007 06:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - sarko_le_grand - Feb. 1st, 2007 01:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dominiquelechic - Feb. 2nd, 2007 11:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarko_le_grand - Feb. 3rd, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 24th, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
Will have to use this article; it's great. I've never heard Domi cite Lorca - yay! I like reading him, have just finished the poetry collection and Bodas de Sangre. Was thinking about having Domi cite him in Rusalki - will definitely do so now it's canon.
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )