Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sarko's Penmen

The excellent Jean Véronis, whom I've cited before, has conducted a linguistic analysis of Sarkozy's speeches. The results are displayed in graphic form here. The graph shows that the speeches fall into four different groups on the basis of lexical and stylistic analysis. The speeches written by Henri Guaino, who formerly wrote for Chirac and whom Sarko has called a "genius," stand out clearly. Of course Sarko has also referred to Guaino as un fêlé, according to Yasmina Reza (for Éloi Laurent's portrait of her, see here). Un fêlé: cracked, deranged. "I don't like to be surrounded by people who are all smooth," Sarko is supposed to have said. Reza doesn't elaborate on the adjective, so we're left wondering. But Guaino was asked about it in an interview. Here is his response: "If 'cracked' means not accepting la pensée unique, preconceived ideas, the politically correct, intellectual conformism, then I claim the name with pride."

Guaino is the son of a housecleaner. He never knew his father. Jospin fired him for publishing a report on unemployment inconsistent with the official government analysis. In the past he was close politically to Philippe Séguin. Sarkozy has said that he owes his victory more to Guaino than to anyone else.

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