Alex Massie

The Symbolism of Sarko?

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An entry for Pseud's Corner. Adam Gopnik on Sarko's romance with Carla Bruni:

It is possible to imagine that Sarkozy is not simply a man governed by his impulses and appetites but one trying to use a situation to make a strategic point. In the past, all French politicians were involved in an organized hypocrisy, where mistresses were known, and hidden with a wink. Just as Tony Blair used the cold body of Princess Diana to underline the need for a departure from the national habit of perpetual emotional postponement, Sarko conceivably is using the very warm body of Bruni to make the point that the French need to escape from their habit of perpetual cloaked privilege—of allowing an educated élite to have prerogatives and manners different from the great mass of the people. No more subsidized mistresses; instead, openly carnal vacations.

Or maybe, you know, he's just enjoying himself.

Also: it's piffle to suppose that the English - for here Gopnik means the English rather than the British - have a "habit of perpetual emotional postponement". It's just that they channel to their emotions into sensible areas. Spaniels, for instance. Or roses. Other people's children, sometimes. The English are in fact a very emotional people; it's a great mistake to believe otherwise.'

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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