Monday, February 25, 2008

Inappropriate - or just normal?

The only exciting event of the 2001 UK General Election was the Prescott Punch, a member of a crowd attacked him, he punched him and they ended up rolling around in a heap. Not the best sight in the world but it did Prescott no real harm as many said it is the normal reaction. French president Nicolas Sarkozy faces a similar dilemma, on Saturday he visited a farming centre (Politique agricole commune) was doing the usual meeting and greeting, shaking hands, waving and saying 'Merci' when one man whose hand he was going to shake withdrew his hand and told the french president not to touch him as it would make him 'dirty' "Touche moi pas, tu me salis"; Sarkozy responded with "Casse-toi alors, pauvre con" which translates as 'then get out of here you jerk', though there are various translations offered on the web (funnily enough 'pauvre' wasn't taught at O'Level).

The french newspaper Le Parisien has made it a big story, and because it was on video they have posted it on their website, there are pages of comments. It is also very popular on YouTube, particularly among french users, 555 thousand views and 1,534 comments and counting. So the world has now seen him calling a left-wing opponent a 'jerk', will this damage his reputation or enhance it. Opinion on YouTube is mixed but there is a lot of 'go for it' style remarks as well as hostility to Sarkozy himself (not necessarily about what he said). Is this him showing he is an authentic, normal guy or did he make a fool of himself and demean the office of the president - what perception to we take of him following this incident?

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