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by Maurice Ulrich’s Daily Ticket

Attaboy, Luc!

Translated Wednesday 21 October 2009, by Henry Crapo and reviewed by Isabelle Métral

He’s going to get a goody point. The minister of national education, Luc Chatel, has learned his lesson well.

"There are 45 general counsellors in the Hauts-de-Seine [1]", pretending to be astonished, Nicolas Sarkozy in Friday’s Le Figaro, and "They all have the right to seek the post of administrator of the EPAD [2], except one." Of course he was speaking of his son Jean. [3]

There are 45 general counsellors for the Hauts-de-Seine, Luc Chatel repeated yesterday in Le Parisien, "and just one of them does not have the right to seek this post." The minister thus shares the good sense of the president. Except for the fact that, previously, Hervé Marseille, vice president of the conseil général and administrator of the EPAD, had kindly accepted to step down. Should we say of him what La Bruyère said in his Caractères [4]: "Another younger person carries off his hopes and obtains his post, which one only refuses to this poor man because he has earned it too well."?
In the meanwhile he will console himself, in exchange, with a seat in the Senate. As for the other general counsellors, we must think of them as said Isabelle Balkany, vice president of the conseil général, friend of the president, and whom little Jean calls "Tata": "With the rule of non-cumulation of posts, there remains nobody in the conseil général except fourth-string cut-throats."

Are we to believe then that there was. among those forty and some fourth-string cut-throats, no other candidate who dared to present himself for the post?

[1conseilleurs généraux, those in the assembly of the department of the Hauts-de-Seine, which includes Neuilly, the rich enclave on the borders of Paris, the political base of the President Sarkozy and his son Jean.

[2l’Etablissement Public d’Aménagement de La Défense, the public body that oversees the administration of La Défense, home to the headquarters of many major enterprises.

[3Photo from the web site of la Défense

[4Read about La Bruyère in Wikipedia, French and English versions.
Jean de La Bruyère (Paris 1645 - Versailles 1696) is known for a unique text, his
Les Caractères ou Les mœurs de ce siècle, (Characters, or the Manners of this Century) published in 1688.

Other citations:

"La cour est comme un édifice bâti de marbre : je veux dire qu’elle est composée d’hommes fort durs, mais fort polis."
(The royal court is like a building made of marble: it is composed of men who are hard, but are highly polished.)

"Un esprit sain puise à la cour le goût de la solitude et de la retraite."
(A sane and healthy spirit, at the court, acquires a taste for solitude and isolation.)

"L’on doit se taire sur les puissants: il y a presque toujours de la flatterie à en dire du bien; il y a du péril à en dire du mal pendant qu’ils vivent, et de la lâcheté quand ils sont morts."
(One should keep quiet about the powerful: there is almost always an element of flattery when one speaks well of them, it is dangerous to speak ill of them while they live, and cowardice to do so when they are dead.)

"Il n’est pas naturel d’aimer quelque chose plus que soi-même."
(It is unnatural to love another more than oneself.)

"Il faut rire avant que d’être heureux de peur de mourir sans avoir ri."
(It is best to laugh before finding happiness, for fear of dying without ever having laughed.)

"Les grands sont odieux aux petits par le mal qu’ils leur font, et par tout le bien qu’ils ne leur font pas." (The great are hateful to the small because of the harm they do them, and because of the good they fail to do them.)