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"A penny for your thoughts"

Thursday, February 28, 2008

'You make me dirty', Nicolas Sarkozy

Is Nicolas Sarkozy the new " Leave Britney Alone " guy? Following the success of his Youtube video " Sarkozy drunk at G8 ," the French president is now starring in a new video that has already become an internet sensation, If your French is rusty, here's what happened in the immediate following video: Sarkozy was walking through a crowd at Paris agricultural fair show in Paris 24.02.2008.

Nicolas Sarkozy during the G8 summit on june 2007.

This is the translation of the video from the french reporter:I would like to show you the beginning of the press conference held by French president Nicolas Sarkozy at the end of the summit. He just had lunch with the Russian president Vladimir Putin and it seems that he had more to drink than water.

Sarkozy: Ladies ad Gentlemen, I apologize for my lateness, dued to the length (smiles) of the dialogue I just had with Mr Putin (smiles again)(pause). How do you want to procced, do I answer your questions? So have you got any question? (smiles). Go ahead. Yes, yes. Well, um.

French tv did not release this video (this recording comes from a Belgian tv show). Sarkozy said many times during the campaign drinking goes "against (his) lifestyle" and that he never drinks alcohol.

The official explanation on Sarkozy's behaviour is that he was late, had to run to the conferencea and was then breathless. Some people think it is a funny explanation since he is also famous in France for being a good runner.

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (C) and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy arrive for a dinner with French soldiers based in N'Djamena February 27, 2008.
The French president Nicolas Sarkozy insulted a passer by who refused to shake his hand at the national agricultural convention this weekend. After the visitor refused to shake Sarkozy's hand an exchange of insults followed which was captured on film and has become widely distributed on internet and television. The incident, widely reported in French media, has not helped Sarkozy's already slumping popularity.

Here is a transcript of the exchange in French:

Visitor : "Ah non, touche moi pas."
Sarkozy : "Casse toi alors!"
Visitor : "Tu me salis!"
Sarkozy : "Casse toi alors pauvre con!"

Which literally translates as :

Visitor : "Oh no, don't touch me."
Sarkozy : "Go away then!"
Visitor : "You soil me!"
Sarkozy : "Go away then poor cunt!"

In the English speaking media, "pauvre con" has been variously translated as "total jerk", "arsehole", "dumb ass", "poor bastard", "poor cretin"… "Con" literally translates to "cunt" which in English is often interpreted as a very strong insult, whereas the French version is much milder and more often used (see "con" on French wikipedia).

In an interview published Tuesday in Le Parisien, a major French newspaper, Sarkozy is reported as saying "it would have been better" if he had responded differently. According to the editor of Le Parisien however, Sarkozy had expressed no regret about the incident during the interview, the text concerning the altercation was inserted by the Elysée Palace, the official residence of the President of the French Republic, when they were allowed to review the article before publication.


What does: "casse toi pauvre con" really mean in english?

"con" is most likely one of the trickiest words(slangs)to translate from French in any other language.
Instead of trying to do such a thing about what has been said, let me just give you a few examples of how wide the implicit sense can change depending on the sentence, the adjectives used and the situation.

A "con" is literally an "*******". Now is the words does translate as "vagina" in slang, it's hardly ever intended to mean this. "con" is a concept by itself... it's just exists as it is, there's no real French synonym for the word.

A "jeune con" is a young fool. Someone that's young of age and has not lived enough years yet to have had life educating him.

A "petit con" is more like a "little moron". It can be a kid that keeps messing around. One will mostly use that expression when already quite pissed off. If used to refer at someone older than a young kid, it can also mean that one person considers another to be a "petit con" because that last one acted quite stupidly in reference to his age, causing trouble.

A "gros con" is the classical insult. When you treat someone on being a "gros con" it just means you consider he's a plain moron, that he lacks any kind of delicacy, politeness, education, brains... The word "gros" ("fat") just adds to the expression implying that the person is coarse and rude.

A "sale con". Well, if usually the word "con" implies the person is a bit stupid (or just acted stupid), in this expression there's no reference to any brains. A "sale con" translates better in an "evil *******". A "sale con" is someone who acted or talked in such a way that other people got harmed for no good reason.
One would say that of someone that's been acting despicably. It's one of the worst qualifications one can put on someone else as it's not a conjectural insult, it implies a real flaw in the person.

A "vieux con" is an "old fart". Most of the times it's a gently used expression that means no real harm. Of course you won't say it to the face of the elder you refer to.
Still, sometimes this can imply more than just gentleness and mean that the person aimed it might be either a bit senile or living in the past and hanging in there despite everything.

A "pauvre con"... that one expression i finally have to treat :)
It's an extremely conjectural expression. Depending on the atmosphere, the context and everything it can range from a buddy joke to a raw insult.
I won't translate it as it's quite hard to find the words, but when used by Sarkozy it just meant to show all the disrespect he had for that person in front of him that tried to insult him. "Pauvre con" referred there at some (supposed) incapacity of that man to use his brains correctly to come up with a better judgment.
basically, if that man hates the President, why would he stand there? He'd better spend his time someplace else than in the cheering crowd.

Now, quite often one can use the word "con" in a gentle and friendly way. To treat your friend a "con", "pauvre con", "gros con" usually means the sam kind of thing as slap on the cheeks. Just being buddies.
I'll call my best friend "cons" from time to time in the discussion just as one would say in the US something like "dude, you' re a ****" in the best possible way :)


"The President doesn't play any games and he does not let himself be insulted," Labour Minister Xavier Bertrand told RMC Info radio.

Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux said on BFM radio that politicians are "not doormats on which people can wipe their feet".

Mr Sarkozy's popularity has fallen to the lowest since his election last May.

An Ifop poll released on Feb 23 before the farm fair incident showed him trailing Prime Minister Francois Fillon by almost 20 percentage points, the biggest gap between a president and his premier since 1993.

"This incident is an embarrassing situation, but all in all it's not very significant," Mr Jerome Fourquet, deputy director of public opinion studies at Ifop(Institut français d'opinion publique, French public opinion research institute), said by telephone. "It reinforces the image of an impulsive president, compared with his serene prime minister."

This incident isn't the first time Mr Sarkozy has responded to people's insults. In November, during a visit to Brittany, he challenged a man who insulted him to talk face to face with him.


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