France has long thought of itself as the sexiest place on the planetnotes Stephen Clarke,
and the male politicians think they’re top of the social heap, so they assume that they’re infinitely desirable, and completely untouchable (not literally, of course – touching is what it’s all about).Stephen Clarke’s new book How the French Won Waterloo (Or Think They Did) will be published soon in English. It’s out already in French, but the second half of the title is missing, for some strange reason. It’s just Comment les Français Ont Gagné Waterloo.
One problem seems to be that journalists in general treat the politicians like stars. Of course I’m not saying that the women journalists in any way deserve to be subjected to sexist remarks. But if reporters spend their time chasing after politicians begging them for interviews about who they might support in an election two or three years away, and thereby imply that the politiicians’ influence is so great that the whole nation wants to hear their opinion, it is going to go to their heads (and elsewhere).
I’ve said it before, but I think it’s worth repeating: the French Revolution didn’t sweep away the élite, it just created a new one. In my book Dirty Bertie, I described how the young English Prince (the future Edward VII) fitted effortlessly into this system when he started coming to Paris on sex tourism trips in the mid-19th century. In France, as a member of the international elite, he was accorded as much respect, if not more, than back home under the British monarchy. He could (and did) proposition any woman he wanted – married or not – and the understanding was that she was a prude if she declined or took offence.
It’s exactly the same today with the political elite. A young female journalist threatens to complain to the police because a politician is chasing her around his office? Who does she think she is?
The 40 female journalists who wrote the open letter didn’t name the politicians. I have been told a couple of them by a friend of a one of the journalists, and I was pretty surprised. They’re men who ought to be afraid of losing their jobs (and all their privileges) if anyone catches them at it on camera. But apparently they still think that one of the privileges of getting elected is to act like a 19th-century prince.
Related: Jacques Chirac's Golden Rule While on the Road (NSFW)