Monday, August 25, 2008

Sarko Apologizes

As is well known, Nicolas Sarkozy does not think presidents ought to apologize for faulty behavior in France's past. His refusal to apologize suffered an exception today, however, when he appeared in Maillé to evoke a massacre that took place there during World War II. The exception to Sarkozy's rule was more apparent than real, however. As is also well known, Sarkozy has no compunctions about evoking the suffering of the French as opposed to the suffering that France inflicted on others. The former is, in his eyes, a "usable past," and he returns to it again and again. In this case, France was guilty of a "moral lapse," the president said, for having failed to commemorate what happened in Maillé in August 1944.

Of course it's not quite true that France failed to commemorate this event or, in Sarkozy's words, sought to "erase it from memory." The event has been remembered annually. A German officer was tried for war crimes in 1952 because of it. A German investigation was launched to identify other guilty soldiers. What is different, of course, is that this year the head of state chose to go to Maillé and raise the annual commemoration to national status. In this respect, Sarkozy's own action demonstrates that his policy of selective memory is by no means haphazard.

Laurence Ferrari, who took over the TF1 news tonight following the ouster of PPDA, presented the day's news, including the Maillé events, with an indelible smile and crisp, rapid-fire delivery. For the rentrée, then, a smiling speakerine and a somber president set the tone for the new public relations strategy of Year II of the Sarkozyan revolution. Two pros. No false notes--and no doubt the Elysée hopes that this memorial will "erase the memory" of the unfortunate presidential chuckle at another memorial that has become something of a samizdat hit on the Internet.


kirkmc said...

Technically, she's not a "speakerine". That's the now-defunct race of females who would talk in between shows telling you which program was on next.

When did they disappear exactly? I remember being somewhat suprised to see them when I first came to France (1984), and they went the way of the dinosaur sometime between then and, say, ten years ago.


Anonymous said...


If you're nostalgic of the "speakerines", there's a "Speakerine Jurrassic Park" for you. It's "called Télévision Suisse Romande" (aka TSR). With a touch of modernity as there are also a few "speakerins"...

Anonymous said...

I can't help but find it ... let's say interesting that from this typically well-honed precis, a model of concision and restraint - even though the point of view is clear - the object of comment has been the antiquated use of "speakerine". As usual, this speaks "paragraphs" (because "volumes" would be an infelicitous hyperbole) about the commenters rather than about the author.

Unknown said...

I used the term "speakerine" deliberately to diminish the status of the "anchor person." In Britain one has "news readers," who are paid normal salaries. In the US, we have anchormen and anchorwomen who are paid as if they were rock stars. I imagine that Laurence Ferrari is paid as if she were a rock star, albeit not as much as Katie Couric. I prefer to think of her as a news reader, an "announcer," if you will, and therefore a "speakerine."

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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