Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Vous pouvez vérifier."

Those were the words of Jean Sarkozy to an interviewer when questioned about his work at law school. He gave some grades, then said that journalists could check if they didn't believe him. Rue89 did. Here are the results.

Note that he's now doing his second year of law for the third time.


MYOS said...

I love also how the journalist discovered he wasn't actually going to class but was taking online/distance education credits.
Or how the classes he did pass are ... electives (he failed all 4 of his core subjects, along with 4 other electives.)
Or how Jean Sarkozy, when he said "you can check", must have known schools cannot give out grades to anyone.
Did he have his bac with honors or "au rattrapage", like his dad?

Anonymous said...

a dynasty of enarques they aien't, these Sarkozy guys.
far from it. lol

Chris P

Cincinna said...

A do-over year in Law School?

How very French.

In American Law Schools it is three years,period; no failures,no makeups,no do-overs.

College (university) here is four years. Same deal. If you flunk out you're finished. In France an education that should take four years (BA or BS) can be stretched out, at government expense, I might add, almost forever.

Why is the French educational system so indulgent towards slackers? Especially on the tax payers dime, or Euro, or whatever.

MYOS said...

Cincinna: because the grading system is screwy and passing your core subjects is actually an accomplishment.

Also, Jean isn't in Law school: in France, you start law as a major for college. On the other hand, you have a variety of other subjects during your first 2 years, such as economics or "culture générale" (Humanities?) Jean is just a sophomore in college.

However, the journalist points out that in order to be allowed to repeat his second year of college for the third time, Jean Sarkozy needed a waiver: indeed, students can only repeat once throughout college.
As for college in the US being 4 years, ermmmm.... Not so. The *majority* of students need 5 years to graduate, which is why colleges keep 5-year graduation rate stats, not 4-year grad rates.
However the main reason for American kids to take 5 (or more) years is that they took on a part-time job, whereas Jean Sarkozy was... doing what, exactly?

Cincinna said...

I guess I wasted my time, then. Working hard studying 8 hours minimum per day every day for four years of college full time. Then three wicked tough years of 24/7 Law School for three years straight.

My parents could have saved a whole lot of dough, too.

Whether it is Sarko, Jr or anyone else, College and Law School are serious business.

Having gone to school in France, I understand that what is free is rarely valued. A "free" education at La Sorbonne isn't really free. Someone is paying, and that is every tax paying French person.

When parents shell out 42K a year for their kids to go to Law School, you can be sure there is little slacking permitted, and little time for hanging out in cafes. Same for college.

But the education one gets is first class, bar none.

Ever wonder why almost all French who can afford it, send their kids to the US for their education?

Even Chirac soent some time at Harvard, and DSK's kids as well.

Unknown said...

Your years in law school appear to have taught you to value rhetoric over fact. I haven't noticed that scholarship students, who don't pay for their education, value it any less than those who do. Some students whose parents pay quite a lot fritter their time away, while others do not. My own education was paid for by the taxpayers, and I think I've given them good value for the money. They didn't do it for me, after all; their generosity served them well.

Steven Rendall said...

Given all the other things Jean Sarkozy has been doing, it seems to me hardly surprising that he hasn't yet finished his degree. One might think he'd do better to complete his education first, and then pursue his political career. But in the final analysis, the real question is how well he's doing as a politician. Looks to me like he's doing as well as most and better than some.

Cincinna said...

Steve, I agree.Maybe we need to look at the whole question of education and degrees in a different, more outside the box fashion.

We have a government full of people with advanced degrees from top schools, and they are in a tizzy, not being able to solve basic problems. IMO because they have no common sense, no street smarts, and live in a world of elites like themselves, not the world of regular people. Keep in mind that elite is not class or economic based, it is a state of mind.

I guess we are used to thinking conventionally, for ourselves and for our children. Believing that getting an education and completing it are top priority. And for most people, it is. Without those framed pieces of paper hanging on our office wall, where would we be?

As for me, I'm not so sure.

There are obvious exceptions. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard, and look at what happened to him.

Jean Sarkozy seems to be an exceptionally gifted politician. More gifted, many say, than his father, who is certainly the most gifted politician of his generation on the world scene. No one even comes close. That is something that can never be learned at school. It is an inate talent and a gift.

My feeling is Jean would have probably done as well if his name were Jean Tout-le-Monde. His Papa did it at 21 with a name like Sarkozy, and being the son of an immigrant to boot.

The brouhaha is all about SDS, Sarko Derangement Syndrome, closely related to BDS, Bush Derangement Syndrome and PDS, and so on.

Cincinna said...

Art,I think you misunderstood my comments , or I didn't explain myself very well.

I think it's great that you were able to attend the best schools.I know it was because you met the highly competitive standards of admission, which are based on achievement, test scores, and not based on ability to pay.

Our American system of education is very misunderstood in France. No one who shows great ability and promise, who meets the acceptance standards,and has the right scores on admission tests, is turned away. In fact, many students are enticed by certain schools with scholarships based on merit, not ability to pay.

My comments were not about individual students who earn scholarships, but a system, like the French, where education is "free".

The highly conpetitive nature of Law School, Medical School, and post graduate degree admissions in the US is such that it weeds out slackers.

Even if your Daddy is rich, he can't take the LSATs, MCATs or GMATs for you, he can't write your papers, and he can't take your exams. You still have to do the work.

Anonymous said...

I think it's great that George W Bush was able to attend the best schools. I know it was because he met the highly competitive standards of admission, which are based on achievement, test scores, and not based on ability to pay.

Or not?

Unknown said...

France also has a highly competitive system of higher education: the Grandes Ecoles. And the United States has 4,000 colleges and universities, only a small number of which are highly competitive. I would urge you to rein in your generalizations, which, if I were to emulate your nomenclature, I might characterize as Francophobic Derangement Syndrome. Speaking for myself, I don't feel that my doubts about Jean Sarkozy stem from Sarkozy Derangement Syndrome, a malady from which I don't think I suffer. My criticism of Sarkozy has been rather measured.

I agree that Jean Sarkozy has obvious political talents. As for "doing as well as most and better than some," I think we might differ. How has he been tested? His election was certainly not his own unaided achievement. His lack of education is not irrelevant to the position he now covets at EPAD. In any case, the issue is not the young man's ability to get himself elected, but the level of responsibility to which he aspires, which would be beyond the reach of anyone so young, no matter how gifted, were his father not president.

In any case, opinions as to political talent often vary with the observer's opinion of the ends to which that talent is put. For some, Sarko is "the most gifted politician of his generation on the world scene," for others "Bush was the worst president in American history." Talk is cheap, and diverting, and makes the world go round, but de gustibus non disputandum ...

meshplate said...

Dear Mr. Godhammer,

A question: If the following is what you believe, " His lack of education is not irrelevant to the position he now covets at EPAD," I have to wonder why you posted your link to the rue89 article? It seems based on the opposite and commonly held, presumption.

I share that presumption, and therefore got quite a chuckle out of the article.

Cincinna: As for Sarko being "the most gifted politician of his generation": it is surely Obama who is both nationally and internationally viewed as the most legitimate pretender to that honorific.

My personal opinion is that, for all his vaunted skills, Sarko is something of a Gallic Berlusconi: contempt for the people and, more seriously, contempt for the "independence" of French judicial system. The vulgarity of his behavior and speech (the insults and gaffs are almost as frequent as Berlusconi's) is, I believe, unprecedented in a fifth Republic president.

Unknown said...

Meshplate, Perhaps you missed the "not" in "not irrelevant." In other words, his lack of education is a reason why he is not qualified for the job. If I'm not mistaken, we agree on that.

meshplate said...

You are right indeed-- I did somehow overlooked the "not." Apologies!

MYOS said...

I'm willing to grant Jean Sarkozy some leeway for not passing all his core subject exams at once, since very few kids do (as I said, the system is screwy). However failing those twice, and completely, disqualifies him for internships above clerking.

How seriously a kid takes education has NO bearing upon how much the PARENTS pay.

How would you feel if your firm's new CEO were a college freshman who's failed his sophomore year, has zero work experience (no internship, no flipping burgers, no volunteering), has always been in the poshest suburb of the country without venturing outside his comfort zone, had no knowledge (even theoretical - even though it's basic but not sufficient!) of business, international law, conflict resolution, or foreign languages necessary for the position, and will hold the future of 150,000 fellow employees in his white hands? Wouldn't it seem SURREAL?
Like, when do I wake up? Is the kid going to work his way up the company first, perhaps? ...
Note that the petition is not against Jean president of EPAD, just that he should petition again once he's had a degree of some sort (thus showing dedication, perseverance, understanding of basic legal and economic issues) plus work experience in various sectors pertaining to the position.

Cecilia Sarkozy mentioned that one reason (among many) that she divorced Nicolas is that she didn't want Louis to turn into Jean, who'd casually ask his dad for $2,000 to buy himself a new pair of shoes he liked, and thought nothing of it. Having no sense of money and a complacent sense of entitlement does not prepare one for such a position as president of the #1 business district in Europe.

Cincinna said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for providing a perfect illustration of BDS, Bush Derangement Syndrome.

I rest my case!

Anonymous said...


I don't think that I suffer from any Syndrome. I may be cynical, but my doctor tells that's not recognized as a medical condition yet.

My point is not that Bush is the root of all evil. It's is not either that only dumb rich kids go to college. Of course there's meritocracy selection process to go into college. Particularly the Ivy league ones.

But I am always wary of bold generalizations. Like making it sound that the US system is only meritocratic. I would have done the same for any other country.

I chose Bush because his background is still fresh in everyone's mind. But you must be right. The facts that generations of Bush went to Yale, that his father was an oil milionaire turned politician, and that his grand-father have been part of the principal governing body of Yale University are irrelevant. Only test scores matter.

That's also why Chelsea Clinton (who actually had very good grades); had all the US universities lining-up at her door. Of course she had the required level to get in. But she also had an active president father. Kids on scholarship may have had top universties fighting to enroll them, but not to a "Chelsea level".

But I must also have CDS (Clinton Derangement Syndrome").
God forbid that fame & fortune may have the slightest impact in our world...

Cincinna said...

Anonymous, your knee-jerk reaction of inserting George W.
Bush as your only example means you are definitely suffering from BDS.

You should probably consult your doctor very soon. Certainly before Sarah Palin's autobiography, which has already sold more than 1.5 million copies pre-publication, is in bookstores in a few weeks.

Cincinna said...


Please list Barack Obama's achievements in his first year in office.

Giving speeches with from a TelePromTer does not count. Neither do awards.

Sarko came into Office with an Agenda of reform and inclusion. By the end of his first year, he had accomnplished many of the goals he had set . He assembled a government of inclusion, inviting participation of former opposition, like Kouchner, DSK, and others. Including people from immigrant backgrounds like Rama Yade, Rachida Dati. He appointed more women to prominent positions than all previous Presidents combined.

Politics is, as many before me have stated, the art of the possible. In the end, it is about substance and policy, not personality and likeabilty. It is about building consensus and finding common ground.

Governing is very different from campaigning.

Many people may not like Sarko much, but in every poll, they agree that he is doing a better job under the circumstances than anyone else could.

Obama is faced with the opposite. Although people like him, the American people are just not buying what he is selling.

According to the Times today, Obama's popularity is in freefall, with drops not seen in more than 50 years.

Unknown said...

Cincinna, Your memory is very selective. Obama has been in office about nine months. At this point in Sarkozy's presidency, he was at the nadir of his popularity, having dropped to about 32% approval, George Bush levels, after a series of blunders, including expensive vacations, the "Casse-toi pauvr' con" incident, the presumptuous dressing down of Laurent Joffrin at a news conference, etc. His ubiquity had done him a disservice, and people had begun to think that his idea of reform was a long series of media events and press conferences. His comeback, such as it is, began only after assuming the EU rotating presidency, where he accomplished much less than he had hoped but was aided by the perception of his role as mediator in the Georgia conflict. He has been energetic in his pursuit of reforms, but less has actually changed than meets the eye.

We can talk about Obama after the vote on health care reform.

Cincinna said...

You might be interested in this. It is going viral on the internet, being picked up by Drudge, Forbes.com, and the Washington Post.