Thursday, October 18, 2007
Finally, a scandal that shocks even French people. The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and his wife Cécila, are going to get divorced. Hard to imagine the fallout if such a catastrophe should fall on an American president during the first six months of his or her mandate. As it is, it’s kind of hard to imagine what’s going to happen here. It’s not as if it wasn’t pretty obvious from the beginning that the royal (sic) couple were on the rocks. In fact, they were splitsville before the presidential campaign, and many found their miraculous reconciliation during the campaign season a bit convenient. Personally, I wondered how much he paid her. After all, she didn’t even vote for him (she stayed away from the ballot box on election day), and she looked utterly peeved during his inauguration. She stayed peeved, too. After a few well-planned photo opportunities, and a spectacular moment where she went to Libya to negotiate the release of the Bulgarian nurses, she pretty much disappeared from public view. She bowed out of an invite to the Bushes, saying she had a sore throat, and she didn’t even meet with the grateful Bulgarian nurses—perhaps to avoid running into her husband.
According to my sources (a well-dressed grandmother in the park this morning) Mr. Sarkozy is not exactly the wounded party, seeing has how he jumps anything in a skirt (hey, I don’t know, maybe she’s got the inside scoop). Though the tendency of politicians to make whoopee where they shouldn’t is anything but new, it’s still kind of amazing to think that for once, a political wife is not going to suffer in silence. On the other hand, this is the president’s wife. I mean, couldn’t she have waited until he finished his term? Or at least his first year? Interestingly, whereas Cécilia has looked cold and hard in just about every photo taken of her in the last year, suddenly this week she looks soft and gorgeous on the cover of Paris Match. What could this signify? An attempt to win public sympathy? Or a sincere personal renewal? In any case, her media-obsessed husband has not hesitated to use even this personal tragedy for his own purposes: in choosing to announce the divorce today, he has managed to turn attention away from today’s general strike which paralyzed traffic and many public services.