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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Nicolas Sarkozy's tribute to "Stéphane" Camus

Ah the French president (but for how much longer?) Nicolas Sarkozy makes himself such an easy target for opponents when it comes to a slip of the tongue in an effort to show how well read he is and how much he appreciates and understands culture.

On Monday he appeared at a rally in the French city of Avignon and in front of thousands of supporters came up with a reference that, for a moment at least, seemed to puzzle and confuse those attending.

A smiling Sarkozy wanted to tell the assembled throng how happy he was to be there in a region which was also the burial place of one of the country's greatest 20th century writers,  the late Albert Camus.

The winner of the 1957 Nobel prize for literature lived and is buried in Lourmarin, a village at the foot of the Luberon Massif just over 60 kilometres away from Avignon.

So perhaps it wasn't unexpected that Sarkozy would want to make reference to such a monumental figure of French culture to show how in touch he was with the area.

Except it didn't quite come out the way Sarkozy intended as he expressed how happy he was to be there.

"It's always a pleasure for me to come here," he said.

"I feel - how can I say - really Mediterranean," he continued.

"I don't know why. It's perhaps (wait for it) STÉPHANE Camus."


Of course it didn't take long for the blunder to be picked up by those with a malicious sense of humour, and in particular on Twitter, as comments came thick and fast.

The references to one of Camus' most famous work L’Étranger (The Stranger or The Outsider, which also translates from French to English as the foreigner) were among the most frequent with, "Stéphane Camus, isn't he the one who wanted to give foreigners the right to vote?" and "I've re-read the Immigrant by Stéphane Camus. It's really good."

Oh well. Let's hope there aren't too many other cultural references from Sarkozy during the televised debate with his Socialist party rival François Hollande on Wednesday evening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In spite of all the force-feeding of cultural references which Carla is applying to her husband, the truth always comes out. He has no class and a very weak educational background compared to previous presidents.

Perhaps it's no wonder that one of his ministers claims that his favourite book is "Zadig & Voltaire"!

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