Friday, October 24, 2008

Nails and pins

In the context of the US presidential campaign, it has just been revealed that work has started on a spoof porn movie whose title is Nailin' Palin, starring yet another look-alike actress. The script is pretty basic, but potentially rich in Arctic images. A Russian tank happens to be jogging along an Alaskan road when it breaks down... just in front of a gubernatorial hunting lodge. (What an ugly expression!) The tank's occupants, two Russian soldiers, go inside to get help, and they come upon a local lady in sexy attire, reclining on a sofa and reading.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I would imagine a big warm room whose walls are adorned with skins of grizzly bears, elk horns and moose heads. In any case, we can guess the rest of this exciting tale of east-west relations.

A wag pointed out that, whatever its weaknesses, this forthcoming porn movie is sure to be far more popular—Betcha!—than a similar production on the other side of the political fence: Ridin' Biden.

With all this fine political humor being aired shamelessly in God's Own Country, I'm frankly disappointed to see that, here in the Old World, our Prince Nicolas has got all upset about a trivial little affair involving voodoo dolls.

An enterprising toy manufacturer imagined the idea of marketing a blue doll that's meant to represent Nicolas Sarkozy, and a pink doll for Ségolène Royal. On the body of each doll, a dozen or so textual labels evoke specific themes associated with that individual. Obviously, depending upon your personal tastes and political attitudes, you'll react either positively or negatively to each label. Each doll is accompanied by a stock of a dozen pins. If ever such-and-such a label were so unpleasant that you wished it had never existed, you have the opportunity of jabbing it violently with a pin... whereupon, according to voodoo science, that entity disappears instantly into oblivion. For example, one of the labels on the Sarkozy doll evokes his friendship with Tom Cruise, who earned himself an appalling reputation here in France through his links with Scientology. Apparently, this zone of the doll gets an exceptionally high number of hits... like a good blog.

What could be more stupidly innocent than such a doll, sold for 13 euros? Surprisingly, the president seems to be taking this affair quite seriously, because he's determined to pursue the manufacturer through the French law courts. What fabulous publicity for the manufacturer!

This anecdote supports an amusing theme that has often been handled by atheist intellectuals such as Richard Dawkins, writing about the tenacity of superstitions, even when such beliefs have been explicitly and unequivocally abandoned. Nobody would seriously contend for an instant that a distinguished French statesman might believe in remnants of primitive witchcraft. And most educated folk are aware that you can wear yourself out sticking pins into images, day and night, without ever influencing the outside world in any imaginable way... except, of course, if your story gets taken up by the media, bloggers and presidents. Be that as it may, when an otherwise intelligent individual starts to imagine that somebody in the mysterious outside world is maybe sticking pins into his photo, a tiny group of archaic neurons in a corner of his cerebral cortex is likely to cry out "Ouch! "

BREAKING NEWS: Sarkozy's lawsuit against the manufacturer of his effigy was thrown out of court today (Wednesday, 29 October). In the judge's words: "That unauthorized representation of the image of Nicolas Sarkozy constitutes neither an attack upon human dignity nor a personal attack. It falls within the legal limits of the freedom of expression and the right to use humor." Apparently the president doesn't see things in the same light, because he immediately launched a formal appeal against this finding. Meanwhile, Sarkozy's Socialist opponent, Ségolène Royal, is taking advantage of the situation to make fun of the president's lack of a sense of humor.

1 comment:

cm said...

Quite difficult to understand Sarkozy's reaction:

- either he is afraid because he really believes in voodoo, which is very stupid
- or he is not able to understand jokes other make about himself, which is stupid

I tried to look upon this problem from several points of view, but I can't help, I come always to the same conclusion...