Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"We are not amused!"

"We are not amused," Queen Victoria used to say. Another Brit, Charles Bremner, the Times of London correspondent in Paris, scans the celeb layout of Nick and Carla at the Carlyle Hotel in New York and reacts in similarly censorious fashion:

Having luxurious fun in New York, the source of the financial mayhem that has hit Europe, is surely not a great idea. It hardly matches the censorious terms with which Sarko damned Wall Street greed in a speech in Toulon two days after his return from New York. It is especially surprising since the president ordered his ministers last month to stop appearing in glamour shots in the celebrity press. "In times like these, I don't want to see pictures of anyone at fancy events in dinner jackets (tuxedos) and long Dior dresses," he was reported to have told the cabinet.

Wait No More

In recent weeks rumors have been floated that Sarkozy might invite Dominique de Villepin to join a new government, perhaps as minister of finance, in an effort to cope with the unfolding crisis. A few days ago, Claude Guéant denied these rumors with a seemingly definitive and authoritative voice: "Out of the question!" Today the parquet of Paris announced that it has decided to press charges against Villepin for his involvement in the Clearstream affair and is referring his case to the judges.

Guéant of course knew this was coming. So, no doubt, did the people who started the rumors about tapping Villepin as a savior/fall guy in the financial crisis. Maybe it was Villepin's lawyers, or Villepin himself--a sort of Hail Mary pass, suggesting to Sarko that he could score a coup de théâtre by calling off the prosecutorial dogs and inviting Napoleon's ghost back into government to confront the invading Anglo-Saxon assets at Waterloo.

Ain't gonna happen. So much for Napoleon Redux at Waterloo II. Now Napoleon le Petit bis is left to face Madame Merkel at the remake of Sedan.

A Confession

A while ago, I published a short note about justice minister Rachida Dati's pregnancy. Shortly thereafter, I noticed in my blog logs a substantial number of hits from Google searches looking for "Rachida Dati + pregnancy + Arthur." I was flattered that so many people were turning to me by name as a source of information on the latest, er, developments in France, but it turned out they weren't searching for me at all. They were searching for a TV personality named "Arthur," rumored to be the father of Dati's child. I had not previously known of my homonym's existence, but for a while his notoriety increased the popularity of my blog. Now, it seems, he has denied being the father of the still unborn Dati, as have José Maria Aznar, Eric Besson, and Bernard Laporte.

How does that saying go? "Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan." For the record, O! intrepid Google searchers, I'm not the father either.