May 25, 2008

The French Obsession

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A description of French President Nicholas Sarkozy as dynamic would only touch the surface of his personality. While his defeat of Jacques Chirac finally gave me a reason to like the French, L’American (as he’s called) has gone on to become a national obsession across the Atlantic Ocean according to The New York Times.

The article leads with a psychiatrist identifying a new mental illness: obsessive Sarkosis. It gets even more interesting than that, and if I read this article without knowing who it was about, I would go for a mix of the Miley Cyrus and a crazy stalker obsession.

And you thought Obamamania was bad.

But what is striking and strangely peculiar about all of this is the location: France. Typically, the French have displayed a sense of apathy and indifference to the personal lives of politicians. Yet with Sarkozy’s divorce with his longtime wife followed by a whirlwind romance and marriage to model Carla Bruni within a couple of months, the French have reacted very adversely to Sarkozy, even to the point where his personal affairs were dragging him down in the polls.

And ever since then, the French just cannot stop thinking about Sarkozy. Sarkozy’s personality certainly has made him stand out like a lightning bolt in the sky long before he defeated Chirac, and the whole situation with Carla Bruni sent sparks flying, creating the perfect storm. Not that I mean to treat divorce lightly or anything, but you think the French of all people would have more important concerns when it comes to politicians.

But as I look at the situation from my side of the Atlantic, I can hardly say that the American media has been much better. Thanks to both the media and the power of the Internet, we can now learn the latest and greatest news about our presidential candidates: Cindy McCain’s tax returns, Obama’s bowling score and Clinton’s shot of whiskey. Perhaps people need to reevaluate what is important for their nation on both sides of the Atlantic.

Mike Wacker is The Sun’s Assistant Web Editor. He can be reached at mwacker@cornellsun.com.