Geopolitics

Kindred Spirits: Brigitte Bardot and Far Right Candidate Marine Le Pen

Sex-symbol turned actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has endorsed right-wing party candidate Marine Le Pen for France's presidential elections. A critic of immigration, the former beauty has been cited five times for "inciting ra

PARIS — Brigitte Bardot has announced she’ll vote for Marine Le Pen during Sunday's first round of the French presidential election.

“I think this woman is just admirable. She has the best ideas, especially compared to those other two clowns,” she declares, talking about the election frontrunners, François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Bardot, 77, does not mince her words, or actions. The longtime animal rights activist has also become an outspoken critic of immigration, and has been cited five times for "inciting racial hatred."

She doesn't hold back either when she talking about the two leading candidates, particularly Sarkozy, for whom she voted in 2007: “I am disgusted by this guy,” she says. As for François Hollande, she has a very personal opinion of the reason why it is not a good idea to vote for him. “France cannot be ruled by a man named ‘Hollande.’ It’s just not possible! It would be as if we had a president named ‘Germany’,” she explains.

According to the 1960s icon, Marine Le Pen is different because she managed to “rehabilitate the National Front’s image.” “This new ‘Marine version’ of the French extreme-right party is neither fascist nor Nazi,” says Bardot, who also appreciates the fact that “Marine is the only one who denounced the halal meat scandal, which is one of my priorities, as I fight against ritual slaughter.”

But according to Brigitte Bardot, the archetypal “ideal president” remains Vladimir Putin, because “he did more for animals’ rights than any of our presidents.”

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Boris Johnson tells France — not so eloquently — to prenez un grip

Bertrand Hauger


-Essay-

PARIS — I'll admit it straight away: As a bilingual journalist, the growing use of Franglais by French politicians makes my skin crawl.

Not because I think this blend of French and English is a bad thing in and of itself (it is!), or because the purity of the French language should be preserved at all costs (it should!) — but because in a serious context, it is — at best — a distraction from the substance at hand. And at worst, well …

But in France, where more and more people speak decent English, Anglo-Saxon terms are creeping in everywhere, and increasingly in the mouths of politicians who think they're being cool or smart.

Not that long ago, Emmanuel Macron was dubbed "the Franglais president" after tweeting "La démocratie est le système le plus bottom up de la terre" ...

Oh mon dieu

They call it Frenglish

It is much rarer when the linguistic invasion goes in the other direction, with far fewer English-speaking elected officials, or their electors, knowing more than a couple of words of French. (The few Brits who use it call it Frenglish)

Imagine then my horror last night watching British Prime Minister Boris Johnson berating France over the recent diplomatic clash surrounding the AUKUS submarine deal, cheekily telling UK media from Washington: "I just think it's time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip about this and donnez-moi un break."

Cringe. Eye roll. Facepalm.
Here's the clip, in case you haven't had your morning cup of awkward.
Grincement de dents. Yeux au ciel. Tête entre les mains.

First, let me offer a quick French lesson: Sorry, BoJo, you needed the "infinitif" form here: "It's time for [us] to prendre un grip about this and me donner un break."

But that, of course (bien sûr), is not the point in this particular moment. Instead, this would-be bon mot is not just sloppy and silly, it is incredibly patronizing, particularly when discussing a multi-billion deal that sparked a deep diplomatic crisis in the Western alliance.

The colorful British politician is, alas, no stranger to verbal miscalculations and linguistic gaffes. He's also (Brexit, anyone?) not necessarily one who cares about preserving relationships with longstanding partners. This time, combining the two, even for such a shameless figure as Mr. Johnson, only one word came to my bilingual brain: Vraiment?

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