For Once The French are Scandalized

For Once The French are Scandalized
First he’s elected.  Then he’s divorced.  Then he’s immediately married.  And now it’s being reported that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his model-turned-singer wife, Carla Bruni, are expecting a baby? It’s the talk of France. Fifty-two-year old Sarkozy and “drop dead gorgeous” Bruni, a 40-year-old Italian-born French model with a successful folk music career, are the talk of France and undoubtedly are the currently most photographed couple anywhere. They’ve been seen looking lovingly at one another at Disneyland Paris.  The paparazzi are having a field day following them everywhere.   The couple spent the New Year’s holiday in Egypt.  And to think that some people (including members of the Parliament) felt that their sharing a room without the sanctity of marriage was a slap in the faces to people in a primarily Muslim country.  What must they be feeling now?! When the supermodel was earning as much as $7.5 million per year, Bruni was blamed by Mick Jagger’s wife for causing the dissolution of their marriage. She’s has been romantically linked with Eric Clapton, Kevin Costner and Donald Trump. Another scandal: While Bruni was dating literary publisher Jean-Paul Enthoven, she began an affair with his son, Raphael, who was married at the time. Raphael and she eventually married and produced a son. But that marriage ended in divorce. Remember the days of the Kennedy administration when assignations took place but weren’t discussed? Many people knew what was happening within the inner sanctum of the White House, but the press knew  better than to write about those affairs. Those times have changed for Americans and “public figures” are grist for journalists who are just doing their duty, combined with a modicum of gossip – or more, when reporting on such naughties as Clinton and cigars. All along, France has been shaking her collective head at us.  When former French President Francois Mitterrand died in 1996, the French didn’t raise a fuss about his having a mistress.  Or if they did, they were from La France Profounde and only chattered for a few days. Mitterrand maintained a quasi-open liaison with Anne Pingeot, a curator at the Louvre. Together, they had an illegitimate daughter. He’d frequently visit them in their house in the 5th arrondissement. When he died, Mitterrand’s mistress and his natural daughter, Mazarine, attended his funeral as members of the cortege, along with the President’s wife, Danielle and their two sons.  A few people were shocked …but not terribly many, since in those days, what people did discreetly, was considered  private. Then there was Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. During his presidency, he  was known to have more than a few romantic trysts. He was the first to say it was rare that women refused to see him.  The saying that  “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac,” is undoubtedly a truism that can’t be denied. Allain Jules, a French journalist, said that Bruni had an ultrasound in a “hospital in Neuilly, a suburb of Paris,” (where Sarkozy had been mayor) and hence, the pregnancy was supposedly confirmed.  It’s believed that the baby and the marriage celebrate, closely, the same anniversary date. Last week, Sarkozy’s approval rating was approximately 48%, a fall of  seven points in a month. It’s a dramatic drop from his approval rate last July of 65% when it was at its highest.  We can’t imagine that the surge in Bruni’s hormones have given him higher a surge in approval ratings, either. Sarkozy said during a recent press conference, “I have experience with political life; I know I won’t spend five years with a 70% popularity rating,” Sarkozy said. “That is not the goal. The goal is to get things done.” And, if it’s really true that Bruni is pregnant, then he’s kept true to his word.  He’s most assuredly getting things done. The President denied he was capitalizing on the ups and downs of his love life to draw attention away from France’s problems. He claims he  was astonished by some news reports that suggested his October divorce was timed to overshadow coverage of a nationwide strike that paralyzed the country. Loic Sellen, editor of Voici, France’s largest-circulation weekly celebrity magazine said, “People can’t believe it — everyone is talking. I’m astonished at this man who is changing presidential habits that quickly. We were used to a boring Élysée Palace where nothing ever happened. As soon as he arrived he made it swing.” Many other French are considerably more concerned by France’s economy and their lack of buying power. “I’d rather hear about important issues that concern everyone, rather than Sarkozy’s private affairs,” said Alexis Bourget, a 26-year-old medical student. “He was elected to be a president, not star in people’s magazines.” If nothing else, everyone is unanimous that whether or not they like it, Sarkozy’s tenure is going to have substantially more glitter and glamor — and, perhaps, more, um, dirty laundry — than his predecessor’s, President Chirac. © Paris New Media, LLC [email protected]
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