Sunday, February 25, 2007

Can humor change a nation?

The Washington Post is running a long article on "Les Guignols de l'Info" a French comedy show that uses rubber puppets to satirize the current news and politics. Apparently polls have shown that the show has influenced voters in the past, and 50% of the French believe it will have an "important" influence on this upcoming election. So how does it describe the two main contenders?

Now, the show features conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy guzzling tranquilizers to suppress the authoritarian interior minister within, then telling voters: "I've changed."

His Socialist rival Segolene Royal, though less omnipresent, is shown as vacuous, spouting platitudes at half-speed.

While it claims innoncence, some critics have accused it of being anti-Sarkozy, as evidenced by one recent clip:

In one sketch, it likened tough new immigration rules to television show 'Pop Idol', in which contestants try to impress a jury with their singing in the hope of becoming a star.

Les Guignols renamed it 'New Immigrant', with applicants passionately making their case for moving to France to a jury of Chirac, Sarkozy and French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

Sarkozy's puppet rejected all the black Africans but enthusiastically backed a group of blonde Danes in Copenhagen.

According to Wikipedia, the show also makes a great deal of fun of the United States. One character, modeled after US actor Sylvester Stallone, described the 1991 Gulf War in these simple terms: "Here's the good guys that's us, and here are the ragheads, so we'll kill everybody there..."

Contrary to many comedy shows, George W. Bush is displayed as a rather nuanced and sensitive individual:

George W. Bush is depicted as a complete cretin along with his father. He always shows a tendency toward war and fights against terrorism in his bedroom, defending himself with hand grenades (beer cans). His laptop password is "connard" (the French word for "asshole").

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a french said...

you can watch a clip of "les guignols de l'info" about the World Company, and it is in english, here :

Boz said...

Thanks! That was great. Are there any Bill Clinton ones?


hyldess said...

actually there is one:

Boz said...

Heh, I don't know whether to laugh or shudder at that one.

Demosthenes said...

Oh, I laughed!

Still they need to get someone who can do a better job with voice mimicry.