posted on January 08, 2008 12:58
In France these days it's nothing but Sarko, Sarko, Sarko. The French president seems to be on the cover of every magazine, usually a flattering portrait with a sycophantic headline like 'The Sarkozy Enigma' or 'Sarkozy: How Does He Do It?' or 'Sarkozy: Behind The Scenes'. Even if you don't read these magazines, their posters are plastered on the kiosks that line the larger Paris boulevards. It's all unavoidable.
All this Sarko-mania stepped up a gear with news of his romance with former model and singer Eva Brauni - sorry, we mean Carla Bruni. It now seems that they will get married on 9 February; will it be a national holiday? The ceremony live on TV? And will Carla's new album, due for release later this year, be played on all state occasions?
But the future French First Lady is not the only pop star in the family - it seems that we've been listening to the Sarkozy clan's musical efforts for quite a while without realising it. French press reports that Pierre Sarkozy, 23, works as a rap producer under the name of Mosey.
Even better, Mosey/Sarko Jr (left, with Timbaland) has produced tracks for French rapper Poison, who happens to write hardcore anti-Sarkozy lyrics such as "anti-Sarko / anti-right / Nicolas don't you hear? / We're anti-you".
France has a piece of legislation on its statute books, the French Press Freedom Law of 1881, which outlaws insults to the President. The last known enforcement of this law was in the mid-60s, when a heckler was arrested for booing General de Gaulle as he drove along the Champs-Elysées in the Bastille Day parade.
While Interior Minister, just until his election as President, Nicolas Sarkozy is believed to have initiated the prosecution of several hardcore French rappers for the violent anti-police nature of their lyrics.
In one high-profile case during 2006 and early 2007, two French MPs of Sarkozy's UMP party brought charges of incitement to hatred and sexism against a rapper called Monsieur R, whose single 'FranSSe' featured a video with topless dancers (female, of course) in front of the national flag, and whose lyrics inferred that France was a 'salope' (slut). The twin capital S in the song's title reflects the track's comparison of France's governing class with the Nazi regime. Monsieur R also raps that he 'pisses on Napoleon and General de Gaulle'.
Both charges were thrown out of court. It remains to be seen if young Sarkozy will face similar court action for helping those who diss his old man, president of France.
(On a slightly-related point of freedom of expression, we sincerely recommend Aoife McIndieHour's excellent article on an imprisoned Saudi blogger, based on Aoife's own experiences of growing up in Saudi Arabia)More ...