mercredi 16 janvier 2008

titre désactivé (trop de visiteurs déçus...)

When former President François Mitterrand’s funeral was held, his wife and two sons attended the burial as you would expect. However, his mistress and his daughter (born out of wedlock), also attended. This young woman is now part of the Parisian intelligentsia and she’s a writer (what else in France?). The picture of the funeral is regularly presented in the American media as evidence that the French are different, verging on immorality, which makes them probably somewhat unreliable. And one must concede they’re on to something here. Isn’t adultery basically a breach of confidence?
Nothing new here, mind you. Just consider the case of another French President, Félix Faure, who died in the arms of his mistress in 1899 at the Elysée Palace.
Want some more? Take, for instance, Jacques Chirac, our former president whose love conquests are too numerous to be numbered, yet his wife, Bernadette, is perfectly well aware of this state of affairs.

The same goes for former President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who was caught by the police one very early morning on the streets of Paris in 1976 because he was involved in a car crash. He was on his way back to the Elysée Palace from a nightly visit to a “friend”. Giscard went so far as to publicly confess that he often thought, during the Council of Ministers, how Mme. X, then Minister for Higher Education, looked like when…
You might think, only presidents? Wrong you are.
It doesn’t stop there. The current French Minister of Interior, Mme. Alliot-Marie, who is divorced, has been engaged for over 15 years in a relationship with a French deputy. They still aren’t married.
Of the two contenders for the second round of the presidential election last year, both had an unusual marital status. On the left, Segolene Royal had been living unmarried with the father of her 4 children for over 20 years. On the right side, Nicolas Sarkozy’s second marriage nearly went on the rocks after his wife left him for 6 months (no, not to live in seclusion in some kind of monastery…). While separated from his wife, Mr. Sarkozy took a mistress...
And now, the President of France aiming at a third marriage, is a divorced man with children from 2 beds, whose former spouse is also a divorcee from a (prior) TV entertainer. He won the presidential race over an unmarried woman who has been living in sin for over 20 years.
And you know what? The French simply don’t care. They don’t care to a point that probably can hardly be imagined by our American friends.
Do you think someone could ever be elected President of the US in the forthcoming years under the same sinful circumstances? Bill and Monica anyone? Gary Hart? And in the end, does it really matter what politicians do with their private lives?
(It is said American President F.D. Roosevelt died with his mistress on his side.)

Note: The painting is "Jeune fille résistant à Eros" by W. Bouguereau.

As everyone knows, things have dramatically changed since last year:
Segolène Royal has split from her former partner because he had a mistress!
Nicolas Sarkozy, the now president of France, has divorced from his second wife (see Lesly Stahl) but has engaged within three months with a former top-model.

Some things never change on the other hand: The French don't care about all these personnal affairs but we're really, really tired to be informed about what we don't want to know.

And I was wondering how our American friends could not believe there must be some truth in the cliché of the French as serial womanizers and their general liberal attitude regarding all things related to sex...

19 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

What better way to maintain a coalition government than through sexual congress and cabinet liaisons; I think you are a fortunate society to be able to proclaim to your wife, “I did it for France!”

FDR had a mistress, as you observed — how sad is it when a woman falls for a paralyzed man? The uncouth observation would be, “Yes, but have you seen Eleanor?”

Eisenhower had a mistress while in London, Kennedy may have had several, LBJ was a known cock-hound, and Bill Clinton was a cigar aficionado. All of which proves that men will be boys, and the ladies (not their wives) are glad for it.

American women take marriage vows seriously, and not known for a sense of humor in matters relating to infidelity. The ghosts of many American men will attest that the last sound they heard, after proclaiming, “I did it for America!” was a bullet piercing a “cheating heart.”

Anonyme a dit…

I find it rather ironic and hypocritical. If the mistress had an abortion, then the American media would of said that she "killed" her baby and is an immoral woman. However, if she keeps the child and raises it, while maintaining a relationship with the father as evidenced by going to the funeral, then she's still an immoral woman for having had an affair with a married man.

meanwhile, 54% of marriages in America end in divorce and Kinsey had reported that around 90% of married American men secretly cheat on their wives.

Methinks I smell the stick of hypocracy.

Flocon a dit…


"American women take marriage vows seriously, and not known for a sense of humor in matters relating to infidelity."

This must be universal. I can't think of any society where women have any sense of humor regarding this issue...
Well, it makes sense, does'nt it?

"The ghosts of many American men will attest that the last sound they heard, after proclaiming, “I did it for America!” was a bullet piercing a “cheating heart.”

Lucky American males! There are places where women cut off certain parts in retaliation...

Flocon a dit…


Hypocrisy maybe but immorality certainly, whichever side of the Atlantic we are.

ned a dit…

The only divorced American president was reactionary conservative values guy Ronald Reagan. As an actor in Hollywood, he had his adventures.

President Clinton's major critics, like Newt Gingrich, had multiple marriages and/or mistress sex scandals. Yet they criticized Clinton's values when he was the one who stayed with his original wife and raised his child.

If you are a Rethuglican, you seem to get a pass, like ultra-reactionary Strom Thurmond who had a child with an African-American maid in his house.

The list goes on almost indefinitely.

Anonyme a dit…

Ned, I'm not sure why you think Reagan was reactionary, or even what political persuasion has to do with marital situation. But since you brought it up, the only bigamist American president was a democrat who was, in every since of the word, was a reactionary.

ned a dit…

mustang, a few definitions of "reactionary".

- An opponent of progress or liberalism; an extreme conservative.(American Heritage Dictionary)

- Vehemently, often fanatically opposing progress or reform: die-hard, mossbacked, ultraconservative.

- Clinging to obsolete ideas: backward, conservative, unprogressive.

- A person who vehemently, often fanatically opposes progress and favors return to a previous condition: die-hard, mossback, ultraconservative.(Houghton Mifflin Thesaurus).

Reagan was the beginning of the Republican Party's move to the extreme right and its ongoing effort to roll back the New Deal reforms. It has been since that time attempting to "return to a previous condition" which they think of as the good old days.

The term appeared during the French Revolution and applied to those who wanted to restore the ancien régime.

I don't care about the private sex lives of the politicians, but just used Reagan as an example of the hypocrisy and double-standard used by so-called conservatives.

Presidents who had mistresses goes back at least to Jefferson. Andrew Jackson was technically a bigamist because his wife's divorce had not gone through at the time, but I don't see what that has to do with being a reactionary. However, Jackson could be more reproached for his turning on the Cherokee Indians who had once been his allies. A much more serious affair.

Anonyme a dit…

If you study history, one thing stands out among almost every culture: a reliance on the past, to guide the future. Culture changes over time, and most change is the result of young people who question the status quo and the wisdom of the ways of older persons. In my youth, I was guilty of this myself; today I find that I echo the concerns of my grandparents about younger generations. But now, as I am much older and hopefully wiser, I realize that not every traditional value is bad, nor should anyone seek change for change’s sake. So then perhaps, according to some, I too am a reactionary.

I was still in the Marines when Carter was president. He decimated our ranks by programs that lacked an appreciation for global commitments in opposition to Soviet mischief. Our troops were demoralized, and funding cuts gutted our effectiveness, the ability to train, or to maintain aging equipment. Some of this had to do with the aftermath of the Vietnam War; an unpopular war, and some of it was related to the fact that Carter was a complete idiot. The Iran Hostage Crisis proved to everyone how incompetent Carter war, but what made it worse is that it demonstrated to the country’s distracters how incompetent he was. Not many people realize even now how dangerous those years were — because as Carter reduced the effectiveness of conventional forces, he increased the nation’s reliance on nuclear deterrence. I won’t mention how bad the economy was . . .

With this backdrop, Reagan’s election brought a sigh of relief among those of us who weren’t yet old, but who were old enough to understand that a return to traditional values was exactly what we needed to restore national morale. In this sense, perhaps Reagan was a reactionary — inasmuch as he rejected the notion of détente and refused to accept that the United States had already reached the pinnacle of its golden-years. He was far from perfect, but I do think that he understood leadership, motivating citizens, forming important relationships, and he understood the Soviets. We can only observe that today, while the situation in Russia continues to be interesting, the Soviet Union is a footnote in history.

I do agree with you, however, that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Men who sat in judgment of Clinton kept mistresses; dallying about has been a fact of human frailty for a very long time. Years ago, one legislator hired a hooker and put her on the payroll as a staff assistant — which I assume was a function she performed very well. But society does require a moral compass, and we can hope that national leaders will provide it even as we realize that no one is perfect. Imagine that legislators are permitted to write bad checks, while citizens go to jail for such things — and as elected officials take “fact finding jaunts” to the Caribbean with their mistresses, many Americans can’t afford a one-week vacation. Perhaps it is the illicit nature of these officials that demand a more “reactionary” electorate, because for as long as we allow these fools to celebrate on our dime, they will.

Thanks for the discussion, Ned.

ned a dit…

mustang, "I was still in the Marines when Carter was president. He decimated our ranks by programs that lacked an appreciation for global commitments in opposition to Soviet mischief."

The U.S. was spending too much on the military(I don't call it defense), but in fact, it was during the Bush 1 administration that Dick Cheney of all people started reducing military spending.

In the 90's, Newt Gingrinch also argued for reductions in Pentagon spending.

Carter was one of the best American presidents and one of the least imperialist, and the only reason he lost was that Reagan made a deal with the Iranian Mullahs not to release the hostages before the election. Iran released them the day of his inauguration.

It is a myth that Reagan's outrageous military spending defeated the USSR. Today, Dumbya's Regime spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined, and there is no more Cold War.

Obob a dit…

to say Carter was a good President is comical. I was ten and saw through his administration. Now older, but not more mature and questionable in my wisdow, I really shudder at Carter's term in office. If he was such a good President, the democrats should have maintained the Oval Office for another decade after Nixon.
The men of the White House did not have a monopoly on lateral lovers. Eleneaor had her lesbian lover on the side. I felt odd reading their love letters, but it was more historical. I also believe FDR was with his mistress at Hot Springs when he died.

LASunsett a dit…


//Carter was one of the best American presidents and one of the least imperialist, and the only reason he lost was that Reagan made a deal with the Iranian Mullahs not to release the hostages before the election. Iran released them the day of his inauguration.//

Easy for you to say. I, too, was in the military under Carter. I witnessed the things Mustang described, firsthand, just as he did.

The reasons he lost to Reagan:

1. Double digit inflation

2. Double digit interest rates

3. The dollar was virtually worthless against all other foreign currencies.

4. He decimated the military, morale was low, the equipment was obsolete and run down, at best. He also botched the rescue operation of the hostages.

No, Ned. The hostage situation as you describe it, had nothing to do with it. The American public had no knowledge of the backroom dealings with Iran.

ned a dit…

lasunsett, it doesn't matter that the public didn't know about the Reagan horse-trading with Iran. The goal was to prevent the October Surprise of the release of the hostages. That is what effectively happened.

Reagan then rewarded the Iranians with his illegal delivery of arms to them.

I am not a fan of Reason Magazine, but sometimes they get things right.

"Military spending bills, always complicated and always larded up at the last minute, are the stuff of great political ads. One anti–John Kerry commercial from 2004 portrayed weapons and military vehicles literally vanishing from a battle scene, each representing a program the Massachusetts senator had voted against.

That anti-Kerry ad illustrated a larger point: Some of those cuts were supported by Republicans, too. As Kerry haplessly explained on the campaign trail, George H.W. Bush’s Department of Defense, run by Dick Cheney, worked with Congress to reduce defense spending and shrink the Pentagon after the end of the Cold War. That effort continued into the 1990s, as defense spending fell below 4 percent of GDP. The decline was one of those rare points of agreement between President Bill Clinton and Republicans like Newt Gingrich."

I am certainly not a fan of this site or of the libertarian author here, but again good points are made.

Notice that Carter followed two big Republican spenders, Nixon and Ford, so he inherited a difficult situation. Bush's non-military spending grows twice as fast as Clinton's and about 50% faster than Carter's.

I can understand why military people might be upset with Carter's trying to rationalize the military budget, but much more Pentagon downsizing was and is necessary.

Sure, generals and soldiers will necessarily lose some of their playgrounds because they won't have the money or the forces to galevant around the world "defending" American Empire.

LASunsett a dit…


Sorry it took so long to respond.

Despite the fact I am slightly skeptical of the time lines presented in the October Surprise conspiracy theory, I do not totally discount that such contacts were made in the interim between the election and the inauguration. I think that if it did occur, it was not done as to manipulate the election so much as it was to take credit for it happening on Reagan's watch.

Furthermore, I do not discount the other things you mention about why the economy was so bad during Carter's administration. Unlike Nixon (who had much of the same problems with inflation), Carter did not manage the situation with the same intensity.

But beyond all of this, here's the statement you made that led me to respond to your comment (emphasis is mine, or course):

//Carter was one of the best American presidents and one of the least imperialist, and the only reason he lost was that Reagan made a deal with the Iranian Mullahs not to release the hostages before the election. Iran released them the day of his inauguration.//

My point is that I disagree with you on this highlighted portion of your statement, ergo I stated why. Another point to consider is, it is not important when analyzing reasonings for a lost election to note the things that are not known by the voters at the time of the election. That is to say, it is the voters' perceptions that count the most. The people do not consider the things that lead up to economic crises when they cast their ballots, they merely vote to accept or reject a sitting President based solely on what the situation is in the present moment.

Because of this, I still maintain that Carter lost due to the aforementioned things like inflation and interest rates, In the minds of the people, he was responsible for allowing these things to get too far out of hand.

Put that with the military issues that Mustang and I mentioned, and maybe you can understand why he lost and why it was by such a large margin. Remember, many Democrats voted against Carter, hence the term "Reagan Democrats". Dems are usually the most loyal of voters, but in this case he was abandoned by people that traditionally support the party and the candidates they nominate. The variations in voting patterns usually occur in the independent vote.

Anonyme a dit…

Ned, I have to say that I’m unaware of “a deal” that Reagan made with the Mullahs in Iran. What I do know is this: After Reagan won the election he made a statement on the radio, something to the effect that if the hostages weren’t released on the day of his inauguration, he would make a parking lot out of Tehran. He later said that he wasn’t aware that the microphone was on, and he was just kidding. Hard to believe that, given his many years as a radio personality — but whether you choose to believe his statement had any effect, recall that on the day Reagan was inaugurated, the hostages were released. And well, it might not have been all that “diplomatic,” but you can’t argue with the results.

I am simply unable to agree with you about Jimmy Carter. In my judgment, he was one of our very worst presidents. LA is correct to point out that even dyed in the wool democrats abandoned him. Carter was the epitome of what is wrong with socialism. When people get to the point where they expect government to take care of their every need — a Nanny State, if you will — then you end up with a citizenry without pride in individual accomplishment, and people who are perfectly content to stay home and watch television while they wait for their unemployment check to arrive. Such is not a traditional American value, and it runs contrary to our political culture. High inflation and interest rates during the Carter administration simply indicated that most people lost confidence in the US economy, and while it is true that no president can control prices, he certainly did not demonstrate any leadership in confronting these challenges.

ned a dit…

lasunsett and mustang, either you are totally naive, ignorant, or simply in bad faith to say that Reagan didn't arrange BEFORE the election the retention of hostages by Iran.

His campaign knew he was burnt toast if the hostages were released. But Reagan/Bush 1/Bush 2 and company are the lowest Republiscum on earth.

So-called conservatives like to refer to the good old days of Reagan. But Reagan was the beginning of the move towards fascism in the U.S. A move that is accelerating with Bush/Cheney.

You might like to read "The End of America" by Naomi Wolf or "Free Lunch" by David Cay Johnston.

LASunsett a dit…


//You might like to read "The End of America" by Naomi Wolf or "Free Lunch" by David Cay Johnston.//

Why would I want to read another book by two people whom I vehemently disagree with on, the majority of the issues and share very little with in the area of political ideology. It's not like I haven't read these arguments before. In have read countless books and articles from people that embrace the socialist and feminist ideologies, I cannot imagine they are saying anything else new that hasn't been said before.

The same ideas do not get anymore valid, in my view, just because some else says them.

And while we are at it:

//lasunsett and mustang, either you are totally naive, ignorant, or simply in bad faith to say that Reagan didn't arrange BEFORE the election the retention of hostages by Iran.//

Where's your proof from someone other than some purported Reagan hater? Where is a mainstream piece of evidence that says you are right and I am wrong, just because I don't buy into your version of events that you know nothing directly about. What makes you such an authority of what the right way is or isn't?

All you have is an opinion, just like Mustang and me. Your opinion counts no more or less than ours and yet you come off with this arrogant attitude that we are somehow idiots because we do not agree with you and your worldview.

Have a good day, sir. I will not debate with you any further because you are not interested in healthy and civil debate. You want to condescend towards people you know nothing about, or how they know what they know.

Flocon a dit…

Hmmm.... I saw it coming... :-(

I know LA is very sensitive on matters relating to good manners, he always exchanges in a most civilized fashion.

Name calling certainly don't help matters and don't make any point more valid, however right (or wrong) they may be.

I've been a great offender myself at times and looking back, I've realized how ridiculous and preposterous such rants can be.

It tells more about the person arguing in inflammatory tones than about his/her arguments.`

Ned, you should know by now that it always end up this way. So what now? An opportunity to exchange has been wasted. And that wasn't worth it.

And to think this post was about Sex, Love and Passion...

ned a dit…

I am sorry if I somehow offended lasunsett, but the facts, nothing but the facts, ma'am. Ignorance or naivety are not personal faults. I did not call him an idiot, only uniformed. But he does seem to think that if he believes something, it must be true.

"Mr. Hashemi told me that he and his brother helped to arrange two critical meetings. In a Madrid hotel in late July 1980, an important Iranian cleric, Mehdi Karrubi, who is now the speaker of the Iranian Parliament, allegedly met with Mr. Casey and a U.S. intelligence officer who was operating outside authority. The same group met again several weeks later. Mr. Hashemi told me that Mr. Karrubi agreed in the second Madrid meeting to cooperate with the Reagan campaign about the timing of any hostage release.

In return, he was promised that the Reagan Administration, once in office, would return Iran's frozen assets and help them acquire badly needed military equipment and spare parts. Two other sources subsequently described these meetings in very similar terms in interviews with me and my colleagues. The Carter Administration had no knowledge of these meetings.

At about the time of the second meeting in Madrid, according to two former Israeli intelligence officers I interviewed, individuals associated with the Reagan campaign made contact with senior Government officials in Israel, which agreed to act as the channel for the arms deliveries to Iran that Mr. Casey had promised. Israel had been eager to sell military equipment to Iran, but the Carter Administration, which was maintaining a total arms embargo on Iran, had refused to agree.

As the threat of war with Iraq began to mount in early September 1980, Iran opened direct hostage negotiations with the Carter Administration. In retrospect, it appears that Iran may have been playing both sides, seeking the highest bid for the release of the hostages. The Carter Administration, however, did not realize it was involved in a three-cornered bidding contest, and resisted Iran's apparent interest in military equipment."

"From Oct. 15 to Oct. 20, events came to a head in a series of meetings in several hotels in Paris, involving members of the Reagan-Bush campaign and high-level Iranian and Israeli representatives. Accounts of these meetings and the exact number of participants vary considerably among the more than 15 sources who claim direct or indirect knowledge of some aspect of them. There is, however, widespread agreement on three points: William Casey was a key participant: the Iranian representatives agreed that the hostages would not be released prior to the Presidential election on Nov. 4; in return, Israel would serve as a conduit for arms and spare parts to Iran.

At least five of the sources who say they were in Paris in connection with these meetings insist that George Bush was present for at least one meeting. Three of the sources say that they saw him there. In the absence of further information, I have not made up my mind about this allegation.

Immediately after the Paris meetings, things began to happen. On Oct. 21, Iran publicly shifted its position in the negotiations with the Carter Administration, disclaiming any further interest in receiving military equipment. From my position at the N.S.C., I learned that Cyrus Hashemi and another Iranian arms dealer secretly had reported to State Department officials that Iran had decided to hold the hostages until after the elections."

- lasunsett says that it is just a difference of opinion, as if there were no difference between informed opinion and uninformed opinion. But I don't go off in a huff if someone ruffles my feathers. And I rather think he takes me for an idiot.

Anonyme a dit…

Thank you, that was extremely valuable and interesting...I will be back again to read more on this topic.