Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Newsweek may not be much on accuracy...

Chirac the dinosaur

But you can't beat them on comedy, as this week's cover story of their International Edition illustrates - France: Delusions of Grandeur:
Deep in rural France, the ancient village of Sarran (population: 300) boasts a strange museum. It's a 4 million euro building, constructed at the expense of today's French and European taxpayers, and very modern, to be sure. But its spirit harks back to the cabinets de curiosite of the 18th century, in which the great dilettantes of the French Enlightenment accumulated vast eccentric collections that often revealed the hidden corners of their minds. Sarran's cabinet is all about French President Jacques Chirac, who traces his family roots and his political origins to this region of Correze.
It's sure swell of the "French and European taxpayers" to kick in for a Chirac museum while the weasel is still in office. He's a legend in his own time! Later on, we find out his wife is deputy mayor of Sarran and responsible for snagging the Chirac amusement park. But I digress:
At Sarran's Musee du President Jacques Chirac, there's a huge, ugly stuffed fish, a coelacanth, "often called a living fossil," according to a nearby plaque. The aging Chirac, with his fixation on the glories of the French past, has come to be seen in much the same light.
Last month a public epiphany flashed through France when Chirac tried to answer questions about the [EU] referendum posed by a preselected group of French young people. They wanted to hear about jobs, not glory, schools, not grandeur. He looked like he'd been bushwhacked. They said they were afraid. "I have trouble understanding," he replied. For ordinary French, that said it all.
Maybe because he's been listening too much to that Napolean violet sniffer, Dominique de Villepin:
Chirac is intelligent but no intellectual. Villepin is, and he feeds the president a steady stream of semimystical rhetoric about French history. In a bizarre little manifesto called "The Cry of the Gargoyle," published after Chirac's re-election in 2002, Villepin's messianic tone echoed the Book of Lamentations. "Today orphaned, unsteady, easily disillusioned, France still burns with a desire for history; she has kept intact the flame of a great nation, eager to defend her rank." As Villepin wrote, he and Chirac dream of "a France capable of transcending and astounding the world."
OK by me, but perpetually acting like sleazy weasels isn't going to make it.

Much more by following the link, including:
Some suspect that Chirac sees "Europe" as a sort of muscle suit he can zip on over the gangly frame of France.
Sheesh, how long before he offers to let us feel his muscle?