Your RDA of Irony


The French have a genius for farce, as is evident in their films and their last five wars.  If you want risque satire at its best, be sure to see “L’Election.”  Who but the heirs of Moliere and Feydeau would imagine such ludicrous, dreadful candidates dueling and undercutting each other? 

There is Nicolas (played by Daniel Auteuil) the human ferret.  He campaigns on being loathsome:  “Anyone this despicable has to be competent!”  Imagine a less likable Dick Cheney.  Vying for the right wing vote, he brags that he read selections from “Mein Kampf” at his bar mitzvah.  No one blames his wife (Isabelle Huppert) for periodically running off with any ambulatory male. 

There is Segolene (Carole Bouquet) who finds that charm is an ample substitute for intelligence.  (And male voters do seem to agree, but Segolene thinks that she can appeal to females by discussing the price of strawberries.)  She claims to be a Socialist because she never bothered to marry the father of her children.

There is Jean-Marie (Jean Paul Belmondo), the reactionary’s reactionary.  Blaming the last two centuries on the Jews and Free Masons, he demands the return of Algeria but without the Arabs.

Finally, there is Francois (Gerard Depardieu) who has more to shrug than say, but he does have the virtue of being neither Nicolas, Segolene nor Jean-Marie.  If less is more, then nothing may be perfect.    

Yes, it’s laughs galore…oh, wait:  there has been a change in the cast.

Nicolas will be perpetrated by Nicolas Sarkozy, Segolene will be posed by Segolene Royal, Jean-Marie will be ranted by Jean-Marie Le Pen, and Francois will be meandered by Francois Bayrou

And it is really is L’Election for the Presidency of France.  Be grateful that you are in the audience and not the voting booth. 



  1. Tom Kelso says:

    What is amazing is that LePen is pulling about 10-15 percent of the Muslim vote. Culturally conservative Muslims apparently like his opposition to such things as gay relationships on television. It would be like 10%of Palm Beach County voting for Pat Buchanan because of his “family values” (although in Pat’s case, the values would be the family of Josef and Magda Goebbels).

    Marty Peretz’ favorite candidate is a closet Fascist, huh? And we make fun of the gymnastics FRENCH candidates attempt.

  2. Dear Tom,

    It is really not surprising that LePen would appeal to Muslim reactionaries. They share his nostalgia for the Middle Ages.

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