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Sarkozy unbleeped
February 25, 2008 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Pardon my French: after (allegedly) showing up drunk at the G8 (Mefi), walking out from 60 minutes, and almost getting in a fight with angry fishermen (translation), French President Sarkozy, while visiting the Paris International Agricultural Show, snaps at a man who refused to shake his hand "Casse-toi pauvre con". But what exactly does this mean in English? He hasn't (yet) slapped a kid, unlike his presidential rival Bayrou, but he's still not in the same league as De Gaulle, who answered to a heckler shouting "Mort aux cons!" ("Death to the idiots!") the sublime "Vaste programme, en effet" ("Tall order, indeed").
posted by elgilito (57 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pretty Funny.
I'm just imagining what would happen if an american politician slapped a kid.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:53 AM on February 25, 2008


...and getting pissed off at two American news photographers covering his vacation last summer in New Hampshire, jumping onto their boat and scolding them loudly in French.
posted by ericb at 10:53 AM on February 25, 2008


De Gaulle has some good quotes there, but that one doesn't seem to define a "league" for me. He's just saying there's a lot of idiots, right?

The child-slapping thing is weird. The look on Bayrou's face at the end (plus the lack of a reaction from the child) makes it seem like this wasn't out of the ordinary. Like maybe it's some French version of spanking a kid on his birthday (or whatever). But I watched it again and the guy he was talking to seemed pretty shocked. So WTF was that about?
posted by DU at 10:54 AM on February 25, 2008


DU: the kid was trying to pick Bayrou's pockets.
posted by elgilito at 11:00 AM on February 25, 2008


Funnier than Jimmy Kimmel.
posted by tommasz at 11:00 AM on February 25, 2008


I just read the pickpocket thing, but that raises more questions than it answers. Oh wait, he wasn't in office...I guess that would explain the lax security.
posted by DU at 11:01 AM on February 25, 2008


Can I be the first with a "French people are rude" comment?
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 11:02 AM on February 25, 2008


Like maybe it's some French version of spanking a kid on his birthday

!?!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:08 AM on February 25, 2008


I'm just imagining what would happen if an american politician slapped a kid.

a disaster. unlike killing many thousands of children (all of them, admittedly, non white). that'd get you reelected.
posted by matteo at 11:08 AM on February 25, 2008 [10 favorites]


I hear McCain's also got quite a temper.
posted by ericb at 11:09 AM on February 25, 2008


After reading this, I really wish George W. hadn't quit drinking.

I imagine that W is one of those drunks who has no problem urinating pretty much on comand once he gets a few in him. Why just eject protesters from your prescreened love fest appearances, send them out with a little extra oompf, wizz in their face!
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:11 AM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm just imagining what would happen if an american politician slapped a kid.

Or pulled a dog up by its ears.
posted by ericb at 11:14 AM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Has the French President accomplished much since his election? I mean, beside the sex, swearing and drinking.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:15 AM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Vacationing in New Hampshire!
posted by DU at 11:18 AM on February 25, 2008


If this guy is the "conservative" leader, I can't help but wonder about all the lesbian Turkish oil wrestling his more liberal counterparts are getting up to.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:23 AM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


You think conservatives leaders are personally conservative? Rules are for other people.
posted by DU at 11:25 AM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh France, je vous adore!
posted by boubelium at 11:26 AM on February 25, 2008


Belligerent World Leader. World Yawns.
posted by Balisong at 11:32 AM on February 25, 2008


I'm in France at the moment, and the buzz right now is mostly about a late-night text message Sarko supposedly sent to his ex-wife, to the effect of "come back, all is forgiven." (i.e. "I'll dump Carla Bruni if you love me again, baby")

Moral: Drunk-texting is not just a danger for you and me.
posted by nasreddin at 11:33 AM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ce qui me rend le souhaitez, je parle le français (sans avoir à utiliser une machine à traduire). Là encore, je ne comprends pas la moitié de ce que j'ai lu sur MetaFilter anyway.
posted by not_on_display at 11:34 AM on February 25, 2008


The de Gaulle quote is great—one of the few things that's made me like the old bastard. As for the Sarko insult, this guy has it right: casse-toi is just 'beat it, buzz off, get lost,' and while con is technically "bad language" it's in universal use, much like asshole in NYC, and I'm pretty sure that any Frenchman who claims to be shocked by the language is choosing to be.
posted by languagehat at 11:37 AM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm just imagining what would happen if an american politician slapped a kid.

Well, at least he didn't try to strangle the guy.
Don't mess with Canadian PM's
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 11:38 AM on February 25, 2008


j'aime bien ces mots la.
bien fait!

moi, je reve des jours ou les hommes politiques Americans parlent aussi franchement.

(grammar used above may be abomination, but sense should be clear)
posted by Busithoth at 11:42 AM on February 25, 2008


I'd rather see who the pols are in public rather than learn about it in the men's loo (e.g. Larry Craig).
posted by grounded at 11:47 AM on February 25, 2008



The de Gaulle quote is great—one of the few things that's made me like the old bastard. As for the Sarko insult, this guy has it right: casse-toi is just 'beat it, buzz off, get lost,' and while con is technically "bad language" it's in universal use, much like asshole in NYC, and I'm pretty sure that any Frenchman who claims to be shocked by the language is choosing to be.


Especially given that there was a major feature film some years back called Le Dîner de cons. We're not quite in "cunt" territory here, although the U.S. may be.
posted by nasreddin at 11:49 AM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't read a word of them, but it seems like the comments in French on the casse-toi link seem about 100 times smarter than what you typically see on youtube boards. At the very least, there doesn't seem to be the typical "lolfags, dude your gay, shut up nigger" stuff i see whenever i'm stupid enough to read youtube comments.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:49 AM on February 25, 2008


languagehat: "The de Gaulle quote is great—one of the few things that's made me like the old bastard. As for the Sarko insult, this guy has it right: casse-toi is just 'beat it, buzz off, get lost,' and while con is technically "bad language" it's in universal use, much like asshole in NYC, and I'm pretty sure that any Frenchman who claims to be shocked by the language is choosing to be."

The only problem is that he's a fucking president of a fucking country, if he can't control himself over such pity matters I doubt he could do well elsewhere. This said he's a cunt.
posted by zouhair at 12:07 PM on February 25, 2008


Wow, I see our French-Canadian leaders habits were brought from the old country. Great stuff.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:07 PM on February 25, 2008


lord_wolf: I can't read a word of them, but it seems like the comments in French on the casse-toi link seem about 100 times smarter....

Having read a few like "eeeh bien monsieur sarko il ne te reste plus qu'a faire pipi sur toute la france" I think that's more a function of them not being in ALL CAPS.

I would've thought "Casse-toi pauvre con" meant "break yourself, fool", but guess it's idiomatic.
posted by Challahtronix at 12:09 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Va te faire enculer!
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 12:10 PM on February 25, 2008


Can I be the first with a "French people are rude" comment?

Personally, I think it would be far cooler to be the last person who makes one of these comments.

Why just eject protesters from your prescreened love fest appearances, send them out with a little extra oompf, wizz in their face!

I'd like to think that we can expect at least a higher standard from our elected officials than, say, R Kelly...
posted by quin at 12:21 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's no Shawinigan Handshake. Amateur.
posted by GuyZero at 12:28 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tout tout tout vous saurez tout sur Sarkozy. (song)
posted by phoque at 12:39 PM on February 25, 2008


Funnier than Jimmy Kimmel.

You haven't seen Sarkozy's YouTube video to his ex-wife, "J'ai le sexe avec un mannequin?"

J'ai le sexe avec un mannequin!
Sur une voiture, sur le plancher, sur une serviette par la porte...


(Excusez-moi mon Français. Je parle meilleur Swahili que le Français. Jambo!)
posted by dw at 12:49 PM on February 25, 2008


I'd like to think that we can expect at least a higher standard from our elected officials than, say, R Kelly...

I wouldve voted for R Kelly over Bush, no question.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:53 PM on February 25, 2008


Slap! That all?...Typical frog. You want to get a good punch in! That's we do on this side of the channel.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:03 PM on February 25, 2008


The only problem is that he's a fucking president of a fucking country

Sheesh, you people and your stereotypes.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 1:04 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


As long as we are bringing up Chretien, I for one, am partial to his snide retort to Narduar at the APEC summit.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:18 PM on February 25, 2008


I learn French one idiom at a time.
posted by klangklangston at 1:24 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Then deputy prime minister John Prescott chinning an egg-chucking protester. I recall it upped his public standing.
posted by Abiezer at 2:08 PM on February 25, 2008


Am I the only one who can't look at Sarkozy without seeing Kevin McDonald from Kids in the Hall?

(bad MIDI warning, sorry, best pics I could find.)
posted by rokusan at 2:46 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


At least he's not groping Angela Merkel.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:05 PM on February 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


At least he's not groping Angela Merkel.

Give him time I say. Give him time.
posted by Catfry at 3:31 PM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


While I admire ornery cussedness for it’s own sake, I typically admire the little guy defying the overwhelming force.
Not hard to be a tough guy when you’re the leader of a major country and you’ve got laws and bodyguards all over your back.
Saay, in fact I think there’s a term for when a guy has all kinds of power and the numbers favor him heavily and he pushes people around.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:15 PM on February 25, 2008


zouhair The only problem is that he's a fucking president of a fucking country, if he can't control himself over such pity matters I doubt he could do well elsewhere.

I'd far rather be ruled by an unlikeable asshole with a strong grasp of the issues, than a likeable fool. Sarkozy plays the asshole, but he does so to be liked. As is always the problem in democracies, Sarkozy is capable of putting up an emotionally-appealing front. He can make people think he understands issues, that he is strong and decisive and all that, without doing anything to actually demonstrate it.

This is the major problem with democracy. It selects for a combination of personality traits that appeal to voters, that push buttons our ancestors grew in the Pleistocine, which are not the combination of personality traits that make for efficient, fair, responsible government. "The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt."-- Bertrand Russell. Cocksureness is largely the same as electability.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:17 PM on February 25, 2008


Man, I think anyone who decided to hang around to watch the president arrive can fuck off with his 'Don't touch me! You're dirtying me!' and Sarkozy's response was perfectly appropriate.
posted by jacalata at 5:26 PM on February 25, 2008


isn't con short for connard?

in spanish that would be cabrón which is what you call somebody who's been cuckholed, but we don't use that in english.

idiot is really not good enough.

i vote for con to be translated as asshole.
posted by liza at 5:39 PM on February 25, 2008


oops, languagehat had already taken care of that.
i should have known :P
posted by liza at 5:49 PM on February 25, 2008


Perhaps "con" is equivalent to "douche" or "retard" or "jerkoff" in its severity?
posted by klangklangston at 6:25 PM on February 25, 2008


"con" also implies "stupid" or "moron" along with "asshole", so I'd suggest maybe a translation like:

"Get lost, you stupid fuck."

Part of the shock in France about this is that France has historically taken a certain amount of pride in the kind of self-restrained rational-appearing demeanor of their heads of state. Also, class distinctions are still alive and well in France, and the expectation is that a French head of state would not "stoop" to acting like a low-class lout. I think the shock is less that he's being rude, and more that he's using "low" language and swearing like a fisherman. If he had said something witty / eloquent but cruel, he might have been celebrated for his "bon mot."
posted by LMGM at 10:17 PM on February 25, 2008


Ah, LMGM, that makes sense. I sort of wondered, ya know; a nasty comeback to a heckler is hardly unusual in most european politics I expect; they are well developed democracies with finely honed weapons. Watching their Q&A with reporters and comparing it to NA politics makes our politico's (and reporters) look like total amateurs. But certainly a low class, non clever response that is the equivalent of fuck off shows poor form. One doesn't expect Black Adder levels, but De Gaulle shows us the way (a very slick reply indeed)
posted by Bovine Love at 11:38 PM on February 25, 2008


Another translation would be, then buzz off, sucker. French people are concerned by the way the president is representing them. The comments here prove they're right. He's not suppposed to use presidential power and status to act like a fool. Our president is somehow like the Queen in England, or the King in Spain. He is a symbol of the unity of France, of its people. What people think here is that Sarkozy is weakening the presidential function.
posted by nicolin at 7:40 AM on February 26, 2008


LMGM: Agreed with the fact that French head of state isn't expected to behave like a low-class lout, even though this is hardly specific to the French or due to class distinctions, more to the prestige of the function.
Chirac, for instance, was known to swear like trooper in private (he's got a military background) but during public duty he'd be as rigid and boring as a politician can be. There's a French expression for politician language, "langue de bois" or wooden tongue, which voters eventually got tired of. Sarkozy's public image of a man trying to break away with old fashioned aspects of French politics is as carefully constructed as any other G7 leaders and I'm sure his bouts of foul language are part of the plan, just like Le Pen's Holocaust themed puns and hints. It may backfire though.
posted by surrendering monkey at 8:33 AM on February 26, 2008


Personally, I'd translate con to a similar-sounding word, of which Jane Fonda is a fan, and, some might say, an example.

[NOT FONDAIST]
posted by Sys Rq at 9:33 AM on February 26, 2008


Man, I think anyone who decided to hang around to watch the president arrive can fuck off with his 'Don't touch me! You're dirtying me!' and Sarkozy's response was perfectly appropriate.
posted by jacalata at 5:26 PM on February 25 [+] [!]
Well, that's not how it actually happened. This was *inside* the salon de l'agriculture, and the guy wasn't here for Sarkozy.

BTW, the exchange goes as follow:
(Sarkozy tries to shake the guy's hand)
- touches moi pas
- ben casse toi alors
- tu me salis
- casses toi alors pauvre con

(translation:
- don't touch me
- eh, fuck off
- you're making me dirty
- fuck off then asshole
posted by vivelame at 1:52 PM on February 26, 2008


Well, I stand corrected on the waiting around for the president bit then. Presumably all the other randoms that Sarkozy was trying to walk through were happy/enthused about shaking his hand so he just does it to everyone - seems a bit of a strange setup. Anyway, I still think the guy reacted like a 5 year old.
posted by jacalata at 5:08 PM on February 26, 2008


-fuck off then asshole

(translation:
décâlisse trou de cul

Casse toi alors
- leave then
pauvre con - pathetic fool

Vraiment ... c'est de la petite bière.

Caricatured view of Sarcozy au Bye Bye (video clip from New Years eve count down show in Quebec)
posted by phoque at 8:10 PM on February 26, 2008


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