Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Charles Pasqua, Bellowesque Macher

Charles Pasqua was a macher in his day. I use the Yiddish word because he always reminded me of a character out of Saul Bellow, a political mobster with verbal flair. He was as corrupt as they come, deeply mixed up in all the magouilles de la République and Françafrique and the Marseille and Corsican milieus from which he sprang. But he had style. Who else could have said, "Without Charles de Gaulle and Paul Ricard I wouldn't be what I am today." Charles de Gaulle needs no introduction, but some of my non-French readers may not recognize Paul Ricard as the patron of the distiller of Ricard, my favorite pastis, drinking which always puts me in the mood of the Midi on a summer day. Ricard was Pasqua's first employer and major backer. I don't have time to write a proper obit, but you can read about Pasqua here and here. Like the taste of Rica', the taste of Pasqua will not appeal to everyone, nor should it, but it brings back the flavor of French politics in a certain era as effectively as pastis recalls the south of France.

I would say rest in peace, but peace was never Pasqua's cup of tea. He was a scrapper, and will no doubt go on scrapping wherever his soul ends up. I doubt it will be the proverbial "better place."