Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Le footing and now le running

From Arts & Letters Daily comes this link to a Time Online article regarding French opinion on their newly installed leader, President Sarkozy.

Some nasty bits:
"(Some) intellectuals and critics see his passion for jogging as un-French, right-wing and even a ploy to brainwash his citizens.

"Alain Finkelkraut, a celebrated philosopher, begged Mr Sarkozy on France 2, the main state television channel, to abandon his "undignified" pursuit. He should take up walking, like Socrates, Arthur Rimbaud, the poet, and other great men."

"Le running du Président, often clad in his favourite NYPD T-shirt, has become a ritual, like King Louis XIV’s rides at Versailles."

"Mr Sarkozy has rekindled a French suspicion that the habit is for self-centred individualists such as the Americans who popularised it. "Jogging is of course about performance and individualism, values that are traditionally ascribed to the Right," Odile Baudrier, editor of V02 magazine, a sports publication, told Libération"

I could keep on clipping, so I suggest to just read the entire article. It must be a slow news day in Paris.

Note Bene: Click on the cartoon for the full blown effect of Gallic Wit.

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Performance and individualism are ascribed to the Right? Excuse me?! What about the perceived health benefits of exercise? I suppose those are Right-wing conspiracy notions as well. Sounds like France's new leader is going to have his hands full. ;-)
Somehow it shocked me, too: Le Jogging is Right?
Is actually everything one does Left or Right (or Center)?
What about Le Blogging? Picking one's nose?
Are not the French an interesting peoples? And, are you not glad that you are not French?

IMHO, thats what's so great about blogging; it's Right, Left, Center and all points in between.
Or, as a group I enjoy listening to, 3 Mustaphas 3 , puts it, Forward in All Directions
My sister-in-law hosted a French high school student in an exchange program some years back. The girl spoke glowingly of her family, especially her father ... until the subject of exercise came up. She rolled her eyes. "He runs," she groaned (with such lovely French despair). "The shoes, and the sweat pants and shirt - ahh!"

"What's wrong with running?" we asked.

"He is old!"

"Uh ... how old?"

Again, rolling eyes, elbows and shoulders pitching toward the table. "He is 42."

Now, so far as I'm concerned I wouldn't mind if our politicians declared a moratorium on the public disclosure of their personal fitness habits (although in this matter, as in just about everything else, Trudeau seems to be the exception). And I suspect the French are similarly minded, simply because once most people reach a certain age the display of their physical abilities had better be damn impressive for it to be made public. But just running? Or riding a mountain bike (on a groomed trail, yet)? Feh. Not enough. Paddle a canoe solo down some rapids when you're in your 70s, and maybe we'll watch with some respect.
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