petite anglaise

November 18, 2004

entente cordiale?

Filed under: french touch — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:43 pm

That crafty old fox Jacques Chirac is over in Blighty for a spot of fish and chips and amour violent to mark the end of the Entente Cordiale centenary celebrations.

Not being someone who watches the news or reads newspapers on a regular basis (there are simply not enough hours in the day, so I have resigned myself to remaining a bit of a political philistine), I admit that my opinions about Chirac are just that: personal opinions formed on the basis of tuning in to the odd documentary or presidential speech and following the guignols de l’info, a parody of the eight o’clock news which uses Spitting Image style puppets.

I was rather pleased about France’s position on Iraq, but not convinced that Chirac’s personal motivations for adopting this stance were altruistic. I cannot abide watching the President address the nation. I always have the impression he is forcing himself to s p e a k r e a l l y s l o w l y, in the hope that this will inject gravitas into his subject matter. Mr Chirac and his wife Bernadette were almost certainly involved in a grand scale misuse of taxpayers money during his stint as Mayor of Paris. Various inquiries have taken place into the funding of the RPR political party, the awarding of lucrative business contracts and the (literally) millions of francs siphoned from the town hall budget/allegedly spent on feeding the couple while Chirac held this office. But, regardless of the weight of the evidence against him, Chirac cannot be prosecuted for any of the above as long as he holds the highest office in the République. By the time he stands down, given that the French seem to expect (and even respect) corruption in their politicians, all will probably have been forgiven.

The French press is making much of the fact that Mr and Mrs Chirac will be staying with QE2 at Windsor Castle this evening and watching ‘Les Misérables’ in the ‘Waterloo Room’, which has been rebaptised ‘The Music Room’ for the occasion, so as not to run the risk of offending French sensibilities.

Across the Channel, the English papers are gleefully airing the best soundbites from previous confrontations between Blair and Le Worm (sic The Sun (news)paper). I’m afraid I did a double take when I saw the Sun headline, ‘le Worm raps Blair’. Maybe I’m focusing too much on that amour violent quote.


  1. The “amour violent”? Does it sound better in French than in direct English translation? I read it last night and thought it was a very peculiar way to describe a political (supposed) alliance. (Not to mention hardly PC.)

    Comment by Natalie Bennett — November 18, 2004 @ 1:27 pm

  2. dont read the sun … its a scary paper

    Comment by andre — November 18, 2004 @ 1:43 pm

  3. The end of the centenary of the entent cordiale? Does this mean it’s back to knocking the merry bells out of each other again?

    Did it ever stop?

    Comment by Watski — November 18, 2004 @ 2:04 pm

  4. andre – I don’t! It was purely for research purposes.

    watski – if it’s open warfare from now on I’ll have to choose sides. that could be tricky.

    nathalie – the guardian newsblog entry on that was quite amusing. there are several possible translations – I am left with an unfortunate image of Jacques and Tony in a BDSM dungeon.


    Comment by petite — November 18, 2004 @ 2:19 pm

  5. I do love les guignols de l’info tho….. even if I don’t always get the joke. :grin:

    Comment by ViVi — November 18, 2004 @ 2:47 pm

  6. haha, i must say that getting the news from you is much more fun than reading the newspaper :D

    Comment by miss lulu — November 18, 2004 @ 2:49 pm

  7. Violent? No, a better tranlation of what Chirac said last night (Yes, I watched Newsnight) would be “a stormy relationship”. Like any proper love story!

    Comment by Chninkel — November 18, 2004 @ 3:05 pm

  8. i love chirac for the simple reason that he puts blair in his place. nothing like an arrogant frog telling him what to do. chirac is good at what he does – to an extent. how strange that he had to leave for saudi (was it ?) when allawi visited brussels ….

    and les guignols … i used to watch them all the time when i was married. the funniest french comedians (they do exist) HAVE to be ‘les inconnus’. it’s a shame that they no longer appear on TV.

    Comment by zed — November 18, 2004 @ 7:14 pm

  9. zed, have you seen “les inconnus” recently? I wonder if they’d still be funny. I got “L’intégrule des Nuls” (les Nuls were on Canal + about 10-15 years ago) for Christmas last year and was shuddering with excitement when I put it in the DVD. I remembered them as incisive and hilarious, hilarious, hilarious. It was so bad I struggled to watch 15 minutes. To this day I still can’t decide: did I have a dodgy sense of humour when I was younger or were they always bad?

    Comment by céline — November 19, 2004 @ 9:09 am

  10. French humour will have to be the subject of a future post. After all, this is the country where Benny Hill reruns were still popular long after he was axed in the UK…

    Comment by petite — November 19, 2004 @ 10:46 am

  11. whoooaaa! chirac is the grand master of over-effective public speaking. Nobody hand gestures and pontificates like this guy. He’s probably the easiest person to imitate since he acts like a caricature already. I loved it when he went to China and had this dumb smily face while playing this ultra-violent video game, holding a semi-automatic weapon/joystick, pointing it at the screen, and firing at 3-D walls. Thing’ll get a lot less funny once Sarkozy steps in.

    oh, and thought the amour violent comment was actually kind of fitting and pointed. The relationship is exactly that, and the language hovers between diplomatic and poetic. Too bad the translators over in England have such a hard time finding news that they have to make a tempest in their teacup.

    BTW, what I can’t understand, however, is how they can still love Columbo.

    Comment by nardac — November 19, 2004 @ 1:27 pm

  12. We love Columbo because he drives a Peugeot. Yep!

    Comment by Chninkel — November 19, 2004 @ 2:25 pm

  13. columbo is classic! i love columbo. here in the US i’m constantly explaining to americans that the french aren’t obsessed with jerry lewis. (they aren’t anymore are they?)

    Comment by maryse — November 19, 2004 @ 9:22 pm

  14. I was also thinking of the dungeon – not a pleasant thought, although I suppose if I really had to choose I’d take Chirac rather than Blair.

    Comment by Natalie Bennett — November 22, 2004 @ 4:12 am

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