Friday, December 31, 2010

A Wooden Performance

Langue de bois, stiff delivery, stumbling over the teleprompter, verbiage dispensed with a haste and incomprehension bespeaking an utter lack of conviction--one of Sarkozy's worst speeches ever. And how about that thumb-twiddling and the tacky green-screen setting of the pres in front of an external shot of the Élysée, as if he were standing outside in the cold while giving his speech? Worst production values ever. The palace comm shop has lost its touch. They have to be hoping that no one was watching.

Those who were will, however, have discovered that the defense of the "most fundamental" principles of the Republic now includes enforcing "both the letter and the spirit" of the law against the burqa--a rather chilling statement when you think about it, since the "spirit" of such a law includes a pervasive distrust of whatever is unfamiliar, different, and "alien."


Anonymous said...

My wife and I had exactly the opposite impression than yours of Sarko's speak last night.

At the end we agreed: He very presidential and forceful. The production values were fitting.

On the burqa law in France, there is a large bit of protecting against "The Other". But there is also a good measure of protecting women (I assume you know many women are forced to ware burqas).a

Anonymous said...

Don't know. At the party yesterday, one of the guys wondered "should we watch the Sarko on television now ?", but everybody else strongly objected, included a woman who said that she can produce a medical certificate stating that whenever she sees Nicolas Sarkozy, she is immediately covered in the most loath eczema.

So thank you Mr. Goldhammer for confirming there was nothing to watch anyway.


Boz said...

Worst? Okay, considering he can be an effective public speaker, it left much to be desired. Not the best way to enter the election season, especially if, as you note, that's the PR crew he'll be working with. He may be banking on the assumption that the international roles he'll have this year will give him a boost akin to when France had the EU presidency, though I'm afraid he'll be disappointed. That said, there are certainly plenty of actual foreign policy challenges he could get his hands dirty with.

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I skipped the ordeal. I saw little bits the following days, in between the Fenice's New Year's concert and the Vienna New Year's concert, and it looked rehearsed, with "Undercovers"-worthy use of CGI.

I think he highlighted the burqa thing because it's one of the very few laws that please a broader group than his usual voter base (which has dramatically shrunk).

As for the Eu presidency, he did get a boost from it, but "I saved the world from foreign tax havens" has become a joke you hear everywhere to mean "I am ineffective". So the international crusader better have actual deeds to boost him.

Happy new year!

MCG said...

Thank you for your helpful critique. The speech seemed dull and the exterior background inappropriate, especially given the weather.

As for the burqa, apparently Mr. Sarkozy stands on solid legal ground. If so, isn't it fruitless to base criticisms on personal attacks?

Happy New Year!


brent said...

But wasn't M. le Président's renewed plea on behalf of "moral capitalism" touching? Particularly so inasmuch as he was apparently almost simultaneously bestowing the Legion of Honor on a M. Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, the billionaire owner of Fitch Ratings and thus a major perpetrator of the fraudulent transactions which aroused the President's ire. It takes a truly hyper president to be in two places so far apart at the same time.