Humour, François Hollande, and Politics.
Likes a Larf.
French President François Hollande is known for his jokes.
David Cameron, said that he would roll out the red carpet for French companies who did not wish to pay the 75% tax rates (for the highest earners) the Socialist-led government had introduced.
Holland replied, “J’apprécie l’humour, et surtout l’humour britannique. Donc j’étais très heureux que l’on puisse m’offrir un tapis pour les prochains mois et les prochaines années.”
I like a joke, particularly British humour. So, I am happy that they will be able to offer me a red carpet, in the coming months, and indeed for the coming years.
There is an article, in English, on the BBC web-site, giving more details on this, appealing side, of the French President.
This time his fondness for a laugh has got Hollande in hot water.
On Monday, December 16, the 70th anniversary celebration of main French Jewish umbrella group CRIF (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions), Hollande joked that Interior Minister Manuel Valls had returned from a trip to Algeria “safe and sound…which is saying something”.
Algerian officials were not amused.
On Saturday in Algiers, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra told journalists that the French President’s wisecrack about France’s former colony was “a regrettable incident”.
The Algerian press was was particularly unamused by the joke. On Saturday, five days after Hollande made the comment, the front pages of Arabic-language newspapers El-Khabar, Echorouk and Ennahar featured the news. One headline read: “Hollande mocks Algeria in front of the Jews”. France 24.
Hollande should have read Claude Cockburn.
In I Claud (1967) Cockburn observed that humour often falls flat in diplomatic exchanges.
Beginning with De Gaulle (who liked to make, often cutting, witticisms), Cockburn then brings up the case of high European diplomacy and (if memory serves me rightly) a Renaissance example where an attempt at wit caused more serious difficulties than Hollande has, so far, encountered.
Left-wing political humour is a genre in its own right (Hollande is reported to be a master there was well).
Here too we find a regrettable tendency not to get the jest.
The SWP leadership, despite its fame as a laughing-stock, shows an unhappy inclination to resent the honest efforts of wags, on the Internet and off it.
Words such as “slander” spring to their lips.
Even the Weekly Worker, we hear, shows a humourless school-teacher side when that august publication is subjected to mild ribaldry.
Tendance Coatesy likes funny.
And that’s that.