Saturday, February 27, 2010

With the Peasants

Like le baron de Charlus, who moved with cunning ease among the Parisian salons yet could always strike a direct and unaffected manner with his peasants, Bruno Le Maire, once the right hand man of Dominique de Villepin, today charmed the farmers at the Salon de l'Agriculture--an art he may have learned by tailing Jacques Chirac but has been unable to impart to his current master Nicolas Sarkozy. There has been tension, to put it mildly, between the Elysée and le monde rural, but Le Maire, a Germanist by training and an énarque whose memoir Des hommes d'État is something of a tour de force in its presentation of politics as both a vocation and a crucifixion, has the knack, apparently, of shedding his urbanity convincingly enough to seem at home in the vast simulacrum of agricultural life that passes for "la plus grande ferme de France," to quote Le Figaro.

And à propos, Le Figaro, too, has shed its urbanity, committing the following delightful howler:
"Au grand damne parfois des organisateurs ..."

Yes, one can hear their "damns" from here.

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