None of those boys know the first thing about your fantasy/And if they try they cannot do it just like me – “Come Get It Bae”, Pharrell Williams
Trying to break the ice, I said, “You know, Karine, I heard something that sent a chill up my spine…”
A British polling guy, I continued, has said that the demographic of the British protest vote has grown with the aging baby boomers and with this growth of grumpy codgers the tendency is to utter unpredictability in how the protest vote will shape out. He said that it was this tendency to insouciant protest that destroyed Britain’s Liberal Democrats …
“Where’s the menu?” Karine said, looking past me, for a waiter.
I have always liked to be with Karine, of course. For one thing, she’s so good-looking that I have always felt other men must surely be jealous of me, Mister Tracy-in-luck. That’s balm to me, though this is saying perhaps too much to a passel of strangers. For another thing, I was long besotted with her.
A propos of lasting and letting go.
When Nicolas Sarkozy got himself nominated for president for the first time – 10 years ago now, is it? – Karine slapped her newspaper down on the table and, literally, vibrating, like a cat’s tail, with indignant disgust, hissed out that she’d never, ever, been able to bear that “nasty little man”, that “slimy little shit”, that, that, that “leetle rooster odieux”!
You will have noticed that Karine has properly been cited as using the present perfect, both to express a present distaste for that era’s odious little man and indicating a longstanding basis for said distaste. And well she might have done.
For, though his personal odiousness, along with the scandals that spring, tumble and jeer around him like maddened jongleurs wherever he goes, have generally worn down even his hardiest would-supporters, the Sarkozy number is still much in view five long years after merited defeat. The medias brim still with the self-important remarks and empty wisdoms of this little engine that wants to still, a full 30 years after he first started waving frantically at the cameras.
Sarkozy is a pattern of a typical French political big stick. He, or, from time to time, she, flails the country’s dead horses for what seem a thousand years and then are dead. This is what the expression “France millénaire” actually refers to: “Appellation d’Origine Controlée (AOC): thousand-year-old politicians, cheese or eggs.”. Look in the Robert if you don’t believe this. It’s pay-per-view, but it’ll be worth it if you believe me in the first place next time around.
Among this cycle’s presidentiables - that is, among those whom elite consensus determines can be president - , this incredible political longevity is not true only for Emmanuel Macron, a leading “right of center left” candidate, who has a pretty good chance of being president. The others, including Marine Le Pen, François Fillon, Philippe Dupont- Aignan, Jean-Luc Melenchon, Nathalie Arthaud, Benoît Hamon, etc, as well as virtually all the leaders of French cultural, social and economic institutions, barring the recent and un-concealable ill-health or evident death of the previous placeholder, have been on the scene for, at least, a thousand years…
Except Macron, the whole tribe named above, began pronouncing on “important issues”, carefully sipping multiple apértifs and pumping hands in the country’s market places no later than 1995.
Like Sarkozy, French politicians all have political sponsors. Sarkozy served Big Poon Charles Pasqua in the typical career-trajectory qualities over the first five-hundred years of his political initiation. He first served as a step-an’-fetch-it: he was rewarded for this by being seen at the older man’s side, usually holding something, in the occasional photograph. Later, after sufficiently pleasing the Big Poon’s entourage and, not having dribbled wine on Madame’s Louis-XVIII sofa and having not proved ridicule outre mesure, he became a trusted but dis-ownable political water carrier for unpleasant policies. Finally, all went well, and, competitors dished or bought off, Sarkozy became a favorite son of Big Poon Pasqua and, since not absolutely absurd, became heir apparent. The final and necessary step was the betrayal of the Big Poon or “Political Father”, if you will, and the latter’s ritual slaughter.
In respect to the betrayal of the the sponsor-symbolic father, Sarkozy has also been a pattern. But, since it involves actual betrayal and ritual dismembering of a Dad and not a mere Dad-figure, Marine Le Pen’s rise-to-power as leader maxima of the Front national is as amusing as story as it is an instructive one. I certainly get a frisson. And Karine really ought to, I think. Her daughter, when she sees me, even now, especially now, throws her arms about my shoulders and neck and calls my name aloud, as if I, Yahweh, had only just then returned from Soviet exile.
Marine Le Pen’s Dad was Jean-Marie Le Pen, a creature of Pétainist France and a paratroop scion of Algérie-française who was raised up from the mud in the early 80s by the political black magic of then President François Mitterand, also a creature of Pétainist France. Mitterand's dark purpose was to bedevil the Gaullist right. The attraction of Jean-Marie’s personal coarseness as well as his lack of sense and the ordinary decencies, exposed the right flank of Gaullism as the communists exposed the Socialists on the left. Thus did the political imp that Mitterand made so ensure Rotation in Office or, alternance, in the Fifth Republic.
Marine Le Pen is the youngest daughter of three … Le Pen’s Wikipedia article in French or in English, is a veritable comparative study in editorial treatment of men and women… just quite amazing when you compare the information given about her with that of her fellow candidates. For example, while you know that Marine Le Pen helped her older sister Yann raise an ungrateful child, you learn virtually nothing of the household events of the others, even that Macron married his high school French teacher, 25 years his senior.
“Marine” is a composite nickname of “Marie” and “Perrine” and has its origin, without a doubt, in some lisping sibling’s inability to say “Marie” or “Perrine” correctly. In this Le Pen is like my Uncle Ralph, late of Perry County, who was called “Haukie”, even in his business dealings. Thus far, however, she has not shown herself like Haukie inasmuch as the moment Hauk inherited the family business, he divorced his wife, moved out of town, married his secretary and called himself Ralph ever after.
Even as Father Jean-Marie, Lear-like, defended Marine, this cruel Goneril-in-Cordelia’s miniskirt, this new Le Pen well-dished Jean-Marie's old-guard pals, sending some quite sinister political operators into Provincial exile and grabbing power for herself in the party institutions.
Taking a leaf from Mussolini's granddaughter, Marine Le Pen then brought a thousand deep stabs to bear on doting Dad’s political body, dumping not only racial nationalism but also old-fashioned social neanderthalism – including even, can you believe it! armchair anti-Semitism! – as well as all else that might have once distinguished the National Front from other main-stream parties. And while the Front’s platform is practically indistinguishable from that of François Fillon’s conservative coalition – even in its anti-EU-ism and anti-NATO-ism – she seems of more authentic socially-liberal opinions herself.
When Dad cried out with existential pain at all this, Le Pen publicly slammed down the coffin lid and turned off the air supply. But Jean-Marie shouldn’t despair: she’s still real good friends with KGB poster boy Vladimir Putin.
Le Pen, divorced more than once, and with a not-wholly-unremarked penchant for short, intense male attachments, in office may very well prove more fun than rotund teddy-binky, but erotically-p’issant, current President François Hollande. Should the worst happen and Marine Le Pen be elected, I am hoping to hear, in my cell at the Bastille, of Gérard Depardieu or Jean Dujardin or a lesser-known – O! Younger! boy-toy – sleepily drinking strong coffee in the Elysée garden of a summer’s morning. With Obama-era protocol hotly perplexed by Hollande’s Trautweiler-Gayet confusions, what will the White House do if Le Pen brings Depardieu and say, a certain Mohammed “Mo the Syrian Stallion” El Rakoshi to the annual White House dinner as her dual evening pieces? Send in an explosive drone? Give ‘em a three-pronged toy with a presidential seal?
The possibilities almost tempt a vote for the woman, eh?
But no. The fat guy has not yet sung and the world, Messieurs-dames, does not revolve about me and my pet’t fun, eh?
“Consider,” I say to Karine, desperate, “Consider," I say, hopefully.
This could be very important. As all true French politicians must, Le Pen has killed her political father… that does mean something. But is it fatal. As the best story on offer, does it mean she will be the chosen?
– Le café, c’est pour Madame, le vin, c’est moi … -
“But, Karine.” I continue, “Though Emmanuel Macron has ignored but not symbolically slain patron-Dad François Hollande..."
I pause for effect.
On the other hand, Ma Karine, I say, "He has married a woman old enough to be his mother.”
I pause for effect.
“Does this, Karine, just make him as politico-Oedipal as the rest or does it make him really different? And if so, Karine, if so! What future can this difference portend? Is a predictable difference or a parasitical one?”
Karine looks up at the sky and says, shivering, “I am just glad it’s not that Sarkozy. Putain. Ca serait in-tol-er-able.”
She takes her coffee in a slug and reminds me that the second weekend in May is a long one, perfect for taking off for the country if you aren’t feeling particular about who gets elected.