Friday, March 14, 2003

Today's Hoot
Ben Macintyre in the UK Times amuses with Le Bulldozer takes up tap dancing and learns to love himself:
"The President is in ecstasy," one aide remarked as M Chirac began collecting the bouquets and billets-doux from an adoring French media. "He’s like a man smoking a cigarette after making love." The Lothario who did not love himself has now fallen head over heels, and is playing the moment for all it is worth, unconcerned about the wider outcome: the impact on the UN, the long-term crisis in relations with the US and Britain, and the wreckage of the concept of a European foreign policy. The roar of the crowd is deafening. For the first time, M Chirac is playing to packed houses, a bulldozer tap-dancing in the spotlight.

The uncompromising (some would say vigorously unhelpful) French stance over Iraq reflects a search for an international voice that has gnawed the country throughout the 1990s; for many of M Chirac’s supporters, the issue is not America’s action in Iraq, but France’s role in the world. It is about pride, and principle, and domestic politics, but it is also fundamentally about one man’s idea of himself, a story that started in America, with a young Frenchman working a soda fountain, who wanted to be a film star.
Explain to me again why we're supposed to care about this wanker?