Thursday, May 17, 2012

France's Love and Politics: Vive la Différence!

Americans often have a hard time figuring out certain things about France.

Last week, Jon Stewart asked the most fundamental question about French politics:
"What do your elderly middle-age bureaucrats have really hot spouses or girlfriends?"

His question came from his analysis of the French presidential runoff between Nicolas Sarkozy and François hollande which came down to: "a choice between a diminutive middle-age establishment bureaucrat (Nicolas Sarkozy) with an implausibly hot wife , or a diminutive middle-age socialist bureaucrat (François Hollande) with an implausibly hot girl friend."

In a slightly more serious tone, MSNBC Evening news Brian Williams himself reflected the American fascination for French love and politics:
Can you imagine if one of the men running for president of the United States right now was in a relationship with a woman for whom he left his long-time partner, the mother of his children and the two of them had no plans to marry, and what if they declared it all none of our business. That's pretty much to descrive the new president of France, a nation very different from our when it comes to love and marriage and politics.

I like his non-judgmental tone, and his simple acknowledgement of our differences. It is refreshing from the sometimes moral view by some other media. There is still a lot to say about the myth of the hot French women, but this would take more time than I have right now. And indeed, Vive La Différence!

But the really weird part of the whole story, strangely not mentioned in either coverage is that François Hollande's former partner, and the mother of their four children, Ségolène Royal, was also the presidential candidate in the last runoff against Sarkozy in 2007, to whom she lost.

So in effect, she missed the Elysée Palace (i.e. the French White House) twice: first as a political candidate and then as a partner of the newly elected president.

Hollande and Royal officially broke up right after she lost her bid in 2007, but the relationship had started crumbing years before but the tow of them had maintained a pact of silence until then.

Intrigue, love lost, love found and power struggles are all so French, aren't they? It plays along the American view of France for sure, but to the French, love and politics are two different things and their politicians' private lives should be their own and kept private, unless of course they are accused of raping hotel maids in New York.

(Yes, DSK (le Perv) was also a potential presidential candidate but that did not fly well in France, because, as it seems, the French may be tolerant when it comes to love, not so much when it comes to sexual perversion. Not all French who cannot take 'no' for an answer are acceptable to the French: Pepe Le Pew (a supposedly French skunk who strolls about Paris constantly seeking love) may be cute, but DSK was not.)

Talking about harassing skunks, that was one of the other question asked by Jon Stewart:
Why are all your skunks so date-rapey?
Along with others that will say plenty of American clichés about France:
"Why when you buy a baguette do you only get half a bag to put it in? Bag is in the name.... Why do you put your most hunchbacked people in charge of bells? Do you really think your kid should be drinking wine? Why do you have so much trouble walking against the wind? How windy does it get there? Gerard Depardieu?”
NOTE: Beyond his tone, Jon Stewart ends on an excellent note concerning the European economic situation these days:
Nearly 70 years after the end of WWII, Germany controls all of Europe. The irony: they don't have an army! Who would have thought the key to German world domination would wind up being a an international banking conspiracy. They need US (i.e. "jews"). 


The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
International House of Pander-cakes - Greece & France Vote
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

No comments: