Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sarko la Pute

Sarko la Pute

The graffiti outside mon chambre reads “Sarko la pute”, a reference to Nicolas Sarkozy and whoredom respectively. Ever since Sarkozy left his wife for a nymphet model, the French have been outraged, like children whose father has abandoned their mother for a slut. Newspapers here portray the ex-wife Camille as a martyr, the cartoons dressing her as the Virgin mother, while the model is shown in dominatrix garb leading Sarko around on a leash. Older men and women stand around on street corners tut-tutting the man’s behavior. Gossip magazines publish salacious pictures of the model lounging topless on the beach. It is curious how politics in republics so often comes to resemble a family drama.

In Canada, elections are often like abstracted bartering tables, in which voters try to figure out which party will give which concessions to which social group and vote accordingly. In our blue-collar town, the NDP, who are basically the socialists, usually win because they give the most benefits to working people. Out west, in Alberta, the Conservatives usually win because they give the most concessions to religious groups. The focus tends to be on the parties, and not on whichever poor sap will end up as Prime Minister when his party gets enough seats.

In republics, the focus of elections is on the candidates, and it becomes something like children selecting a new parent. Sarkozy’s bristling arrogance tends to rub the French the wrong way and his philandering has been the last straw. It’s often the same in the United States- remember that we impeached a President for cheating on his wife. Now that very wife is running for President herself and as with all of the candidates, the focus is on personality and identity- the nation tries to understand who these people are as people, as if they were naming a saint instead of a President.

It’s strange to watch. A while back, Claire and I were eating at a restaurant in upstate New York and I was listening to the middle aged Hillary Clinton supporters at the table next to me talking about how horrible the candidate Barack Obama was to that poor woman. “And you can really tell what sort of character he has by the fact that he is still trying to quit smoking cigarettes,” one of them tut-tutted. Clearly, this is not the man to replace daddy in these people’s eyes. God only knows what platforms, if any, they support or even care about.

As for who is going to give which concessions to which groups, or who stands for what positions, or other such trifling matters, you hardly ever hear about them on the American news until after the suckers get elected. The idea seems to be that we select the surrogate parent whose personality we like the most and then let them make the decisions for us. One of the most fascinating complaints you hear about Obama is that “he doesn’t really have any specific plans if he gets elected President.” Meanwhile, the man has detailed at great length his specific plans in his book, in lengthy documents on his website and in journals, in even lengthier speeches; but none of this is on CNN, so who could be expected to know? Clearly what’s important is that he seems like the sort of person who has no specific plans, and he smokes. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton seems kind of bitchy, and Bill Clinton once cheated on his wife, and Sarko married a slut.

And I have to wonder if we really need leaders anyway. Don’t Presidents really just give pep talks to several “task forces” that do the real work for them? Couldn’t we just get rid of the Presidents altogether and keep the groups that do the work? Or do we need to have these personalities around to obsess over like our lost parents?

1 comment:

Holly said...

And here I thought a good 20% of the appeal of being a major political player was the acquisition of primo tail. Just another nail in the coffin of how-not-with-the-times-I-am...

All I have for the French, though, is the advice that when you find someone despicable, it might be better to NOT elect that person to public office. Is this just more of that legendary French self-loathing at play?