Nicholas Sarkozy will eventually be a disappointment, as is the cruel fate of all French reformers of l'etat (for a U.S. semi-analogue, think Arnold Schwarzenegger's long-lost limited-government plans for California). But until that day comes, I for one am enjoying the hell out of the way this Leslie Stahl-hatin', America-lovin', groupie-chasing thrice-married son-of-a-Hungarian with a Napoleonic complex is shocking the sensibilities of a country more accustomed to imperious socialist blowhards who keep their affairs strictly out of the headlines and inside the Elysee, and/or corrupt old ducks named Jacques.
Like every French president, Sarko was obliged to go to the big French agricultural fair to snog cows and shake hands, but when some guy in the crowd insulted him by saying "Touche-moi pas, tu me salis"—or "Don't touch me, you are soiling me," with the added insult of using the informal/disrespectful "tu" instead of "vous"—Sarkozy did this:
The exact rejoinder: "Casse-toi alors, casse-toi alors pauvre con." Translation? The first five words are "Get lost then, get lost," but translations vary on "pauvre con." Reuters has it as "dumb ass"; the BBC tries for "bloody idiot," while the Associated Press weighs in with "total jerk." All are in the ballpark in terms of authorial intent and the way that the over-used word "con" is received, but the literal translation is "poor cunt." Which is kind of awesome.
Michael Young wrote about what American candidates could learn from Sarko last month. Jesse Walker warned of his un-markety un-goodness last July. And Nick Gillespie celebrated Hanoi Jane's c-bomb just the other week.