Sunday, November 25, 2007

Precedents


Yesterday, I mentioned that Alain Badiou had compared Sarkozy's regime to Giscard's and Pétain's. Today, Le Monde's proofreaders compare it to the Restoration and the July Monarchy. The former comparison derives not so much from historical analogies as from the person of Édouard Balladur, M. Sarkozy's factotum in charge of constitutional reform, who "always looks as though he has just stepped out of a sedan chair." Indeed he does. I congratulate my blogging colleagues on this marvelous description, which they believe "incarnates [the Restoration style] with panache." More conventionally, they view Sarkozy as "a self-avowed nouveau riche" who is always running.

As Ron Tiersky remarked the other day, the historical analogy game is always fun to play. Which past regime does the present one remind you of? I wonder if it wouldn't be more profitable in Sarkozy's case to extend the game outward rather than indulge in traditional hexagonal nombrilisme. I ask you, then, which foreign regime of any period does Sarkozy's remind you of, and why? I await your answers in comments.

In searching for the picture of Louis XVIII (above), I discover that he and I share a birthday.

4 comments:

alain q. said...

I wonder where all these talented critics hid their marvelous wit during Mitterand's regime.

It must have been very painful for them to keep quiet and refrain from any of these historical comparisons for 14 years.

Their silence, or their servility at that time does not leave them with much credit now.

Unknown said...

Alain,
Surely you've got to be kidding. Mitterrand was compared, to my knowledge, to Louis XIV, Louis-Philippe, Napoleon III, Pétain, de Gaulle, etc. There is an essay in Les Lieux de Mémoire by Jacques Revel in which the Louis XIV/Mitterrand parallel is developed at length. The sarcasms about Mitterrand's regal style and adoption of de Gaulle's hauteur despite his having written Le coup d'État permanent were endless.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for your incisive and funny blog. Regardless of his high red heels, Sarkozy’s personality – apparently a hybrid of corporate raider, Rififi tough guy, and rug peddler – is new to the Elysee, has captured public imagination, and may prove a tonic after oily Chirac and triplicitous Mitterand. But his alleged dynamic, entrepreneurial “Americanism” (which may be just a euphemism for unfettered capitalism) is only tolerable if he also adopts (mythic?) American ideals of fair play, justice, and sympathy for the underdog. Alas, these are not popular attitudes among French pashas, who are expected to be arrogrant, vain, and greedy. I hope you don’t me linking to you blog on my new site, where I will be following these issues: http://www.frenchculturenow.com. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

As I'm french, i will not try foreign comparisons to sarkozy's beginning in power...
it seems that he likes to compare himself to de Gaulle in 1958, I would rather speak of giscard d'estaing in 1974: youth, "ouverture", societal changes, optimism, will, the idea of a new era opening, a more pro-USA trend...