This month’s column is dedicated to the least popular President of the 5th Republic, Francois Hollande, who, for all his faults, entertains us with a unique array of blunders.
Here are some highlights from Monsieur Le President’s fall from grace…
The infamous Camel Tagine
As a gesture of goodwill, a local official in Mali presented the somewhat friendless President with a pet camel, in April 2013. Following the official ceremony and longwinded speeches of thanks for this special gift, the President found he was unable to provide suitable accommodation for the beast back in Paris and left him in the loving care of a family in Timbuktu… that is, until they had a hankering for camel tagine. While adult camel is almost inedible, the flesh from young animals is supposedly quite tender.
China… that’s in Japan, right?
Your first official visit to Japan in June 2013 and you want to make a good impression… what better way to break the ice than refer to the Japanese public as “the Chinese”? Funnily enough, using jetlag as an excuse didn’t go down too well, just as it hadn’t for German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who confused the French President with François Mitterrand in Paris, weeks earlier.
Love on a Scooter
Another day, another French president has numerous affairs. Whilst a few eyelids were raised in the spring of 2014, the French public were more critical of the President’s clumsy conduct, from being caught sneaking around on an electrical scooter, to renting properties from individuals with alleged links to the mafia, thereby risking the country’s national security, in the name of romance.
Those attempting to defend Hollande asked the public to imagine walking a mile in his shoes – and with the invention of the online game ‘jeu de scooter’, they went one step further. The viral phenomenon allowed gamers to navigate Monsieur Le President gallivanting through the streets of Paris on his scooter, dodging the pesky paparazzi and his ex romantic partners, in search of his mistress.
Being the bodyguard to such a calamity prone individual is a stressful job. From the daily damage control, to appeasing the President’s many detractors and averting any number of disasters… it’s perfectly natural that the small, insignificant details go unattended. You know, the little things, like remembering to pack a gun on a state visit to Brazil, in 2012. The employee in question was later fired for forgoing his firearms, arguing he had left them at home.