Walk. Don’t Run.


The French are a weird bunch. Just as you think that you’ve begun to understand how the nation thinks they come up with something new to surprise you. The latest attack on Sarkò is a clear indication of this particular trait. It turns out that the intellectuals and philosophers of the hexagon are incensed at Sarkò’s constant promotion of his favourite pastime: jogging (or le footing, le jogging or le running). Mr Sarkozy has made no secret of his love of physical fitness and barring a little slip up Chez Monsieur Putin – attributed to his being out of breath after rushing up a flight of steps (while most of the world thought he had been sampling some good Ruski Vodka), his image is of the physically fit and spritely President.

So what is the fuss all about? Left-wingers (and here I resist using the tag wishy-washy communists) believe that jogging and runnning do not befit the reflective nature of Les Français. This is they tell us, after all, the nation of le promenade when you can stimulate your reflective neurons at a leisurely stroll. Jogging is too rightist – it is not to be found at the centre of Western Civilisation. The Spartans, that race recently adopted by the Americans, are presumably to be left out of the equation. We are more like the Athenians it seems… ready to mull and discuss around the agora – leaving the physical exertions to the others.

“Western civilisation, in its best sense, was born with the promenade. Walking is a sensitive, spiritual act. Jogging is management of the body. The jogger says I am in control. It has nothing to do with meditation.”

Mr. Finkelkraut – a leftist philosopher tells us that Sarkozy should take up walking like Socrates and Rimbaud. Presumably while jogging he does not get the same kind of mental relaxation. I would beg to differ. In my sporting prime I would find the tempo of breathing and jogging on long distance runs very conducive to clear thinking – but then I never was a full-fledged leftie myself so I would not know what I am talking about.

Then there are the expert critics. Apparently Sarkò doesn’t even have a good running style and he is constantly overweight. He can’t get it right can he?

 Anyways. One thing to remember when in France – a tip for the aspiring wankellectuals (you just knew it was coming wasn’t it). If you want to impress and flaunt your wankellectual credentials do not boast about your early morning jog, your iPod and your Nikes to match. Just mention how you enjoyed reflecting upon life’s simple secrets while strolling carefully along some avenue.

In other words, when in France… walk… don’t run.

The Soundtrack to this Post


6 responses to “Walk. Don’t Run.

  1. Doesn’t surprise me.

    The French (and, perhaps, francophones in general) are not a “weird bunch” at all. They’re as plain and predictable as day. Anything which isn’t purely French – and thus evidently part of the anglo-saxon conspiracy to “hegemonise” the world, destroy the French language, etc etc – gets the slip.

    Sad to see that even their intellectuals aren’t any less conservative and ethnocentric (perhaps maybe even more so)…

  2. damn – i thought you had been converted to the (partially french) sounds of herman dune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsOK-glpw-M

  3. Caro j’accuse. Alain Finkielkraut is hardly a leftist philosopher. Actually he’s the main thorn in all those post-soixante-huitards bums. He’s the type of guy Josie Muscat’s party might embrace if a) they’d heard of him b) could decipher what he’s got to say and, more importantly c) Malta’s public discourse took on a slightly more sophisticated approach to things.

    As it is it’s Josie Muscat versus Salvu Balzan. With Peppi tal-pipa calling the shots from his stuffy Xarabank window.

    You may scoff at wankellectuals, j’accuse (and I like your coined word) but the more you think about it, the more you’ll realise that the lack of intellectual discourse is the one thing that distinguishes Melita from ‘more advanced European societies’ (as DCG likes to call them)

    Here’s a little Finkielkraut gem from his Dico for your enjoyment:

    «Fananatique : qui consacre, à célébrer les femmes ou à les séduire, une ardeur infatigable.»

    PS: I distinctly remember my French girlfriend scoffing in front of a photo of Jean-Pierre Papin and saying something on the lines of “Ah, les footballeurs, ils sont tous cons!” That was 15 years ago so I’m not too surprised at the French reaction to Sarkojogger.

  4. Lanzarote.

    Never scoff at a wankellectual. I don’t. I just point them out. I am amused by their existence and I too believe that they are a necessity. I just think that people like me are necessary to point out to wankellectuals that they exist and that they are just that: wankellectuals. That’s not scoffing… that’s serious wankellectualism that is.

    And yes. Finkelkraut is not a leftie. Liberation is. In my rushed typing I skipped a concept and merged it into the next. Well done for spotting the error. You may still have a wankellectual in you… hanging out with ze french might just be the way to go.

  5. Justin.

    How many drugs do you have to ingest/smoke before you can even remotely think that Herman Dune is enjoyable?

    The french are weird. It’s just that you live in Belgium where the weird is mundane.

  6. Wankellectuals should be classified as an endangered and protected species in Melita Xarabankjana, not shot at by Gozitan-Letzeburgish bloggers. Forget the Birds Directive.

    I like your “rushed typing…merged it into the next” concept. It’s on a par with your Apologia Giuventina in the ‘convincing’ category.


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