Friday, January 10, 2014

My apologies to M. le Président

I know of no sadder sight  than a commander who has little of command but the name.
-- Melville, Benito Cereno (1855)

Certain passages over the course of these essays (here, and here), might have been construed as suggesting that the French President, M. F. Hollande, is a bumbling, shambling, mealy-mouthed crowd-courting doofus;  a lackwit wazzock a waddling dumpling, a toddling butterball upon the world stage, upon which Fortuna has improvidently cast him.  Nothing, it turns out, could be further from the truth, if we are to credit the testimonies of the following lucid-skinned, diamond-eyed hottie:

Il fait chic, dans mon sac!

Let the French newspaper of record tell it:

La rumeur court depuis des mois mais Closer dit en avoir la preuve. Le magazine people affirme que François Hollande entretiendrait une liaison avec la comédienne française Julie Gayet. Vers 23 heures jeudi, le magazine a annoncé sur son site une édition spéciale pour le lendemain «révélant dans un dossier spécial de 7 pages les photos de la relation entre le chef de l'État et la comédienne». L'Élysée a réagi dès 7 heures vendredi matin. François Hollande «déplore profondément les atteintes au respect de la vie privée auquel il a droit comme tout citoyen» et «examine les suites, y compris judiciaires, à apporter à cette parution».

La une de Closer titre sur «L'amour secret du président: il passe ses nuits avec elle à deux pas de l'Élysée». «Autour du jour de l'An, le chef de l'État, casque sur la tête, rejoint à scooter la comédienne dans son pied-à-terre où le président a pris l'habitude de passer la nuit», écrit Closer sur son site . D'après l'hebdomadaire, «ces rendez-vous secrets» auraient commencé en juin 2013.

«Des photos étonnantes, poursuit l'hebdomadaire, qui pose aussi la question de la sécurité du président. Le chef de l'État est accompagné d'un seul garde du corps qui protège le secret de ces rencontres avec la comédienne et apporte même les croissants!»

It is that detail of the bodyguard supplying the croissants for these trysts -- that objective correlative, as Eliot would put it -- which lifts this saga from the level of the sordid, to the realm of the sublime.

Having already shown his iron resolve by threatening prosecution of the comedian who invented the gesture of the “quenelle” (La justice interdit le spectacle de Dieudonné ), M. Hollande, with perfect conséquence, is thus threatening the newspaper as well.


The magazine promised photographs, but none were actually of the Président and his paramour in flagrante.   Rather (in the manner of that Monty Python spoof of tabloid television blackmailing highly placed men with a secret, initially showing only blurry and ambiguous images, while the cost of hush-money keeps rising as the film advances) they presented a photo of two helmeted figures on a Vespa, on which the President riding bitch.  (A perfect metaphor for his domestic policy.)


For further sober, high-toned, scientific examinations (suitable for use in the classroom, to supplement Civics texts) of Sex and the Hegagon, try these:


[Update 11 January 2014]
Some caviling commenter with a sketchy display-name (vide infra) kvetches that this post lacks gravitas.   We-ell --  You want gravitas, we got vats of it !  Simply turn on the tap.

Ahem.  This whole affaire, from quenelle to the bit-o’-jam, well illustrates the Cyclic Theory of History.
Was it not the great historian Ibn-Khaldun who said… something quite relevant, one feels sure, but which at present escapes me.   In any case, Hegel then went on to say that “History repeats itself”;  to which Marx remarked,  “Hegel forgot to mention:  the first time as tragedy -- the second time as farce!”
To which now Dr Justice appends [epigram ©2014, all rights reserved, y compris en URSS and in Taleban-controlled areas of Afghanistan]:  “… and the third time as French politics !” ® TM    (Or alors ça, c’est bien un bon mot.)

[Update 18 January 2014]  Pour préciser. 
In further defense of the much-maligned Président, who has presided  like a toad squatting on a stone  over the further deline of France, allow me to object, contra to his various detractors, that his sordid moped-borne nocturnal trysts  do not//NOT  constitute actual “adultery”,  since  wife  has he none.   Rather, they were an infidelity (if you can even call it that, for someone with no conception of faith) vis-à-vis his current (and easily disposible) concubine (a different hetaira, whose name is here -- and elsewhere -- of no consequence).   Hollande himself has always denounced the sacrament of marriage as a “bourgeois institution”, and can in no way be criticized for demeaning something of which he has not the slightest understanding:  any more than a garden slug, having (which God forfend) somehow slimed its way up onto the communion table, could possibly desecrate the consecrated Host.  

[Update 27 mars 2014]   Anthony Lane, reviewing the new Tavernier film “Quai d'Orsay” (the title which Wiki gives it in English as well, though apparently it has recently been dumbed down for American audiences as “The French Minister”, rather the way the first Harry Potter book, “The Philosopher’s Stone”, had to become “The Sorcerer’s Stone” to cross the Atlantic), highlights the femme fatale character:

She is played by Julie Gayet, who was in the news recently as the woman to whom the real French President, François Hollande, was paying regular visits  on his little scooter.  And her character is called Valérie, which is the name of the partner whom Hollande was allegedly spurning for Mme. Gayet.  This is not life imitating art.  This is art going to bed with life  and staying there for the afternoon.
-- The New Yorker, 31 March 2014

A nice touch, that, by the way -- “his little scooter”.  This is artful of Mr Lane, suggesting that what the dumpling Hollande has between his legs is pretty small, and goes putt-putt.

1 comment:

  1. Bonum’st. Sed gravitas deficit.