I had to laugh over this report regarding France's new president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
In the cafés of the Left Bank, they have fastened on what they regard as the single most objectionable and Right-wing aspect of the Sarkozy agenda - and what do you think it is? Do they object to his views on immigration? Are they worried about his plans to make French universities more competitive?
Quite possibly; but their feelings on these questions are anaemic next to their central charge against the new regime. The most appalling thing about the Sarkozy presidency, says Professor Alain Finkelkraut, a leading French philosopher and veteran of the 1968 manifestations, is an event that takes place every morning. The President of France goes jogging! Choc horreur! He exposes the presidential knees to the entire world, says Finkelkraut, and it is extremely undignified.
From Bravo Sarkozy - from one jogger to another , by Boris Johnson for the Telegraph.
Running is undignified? Hmm, this explains why I saw very few French people exercising during my own early morning visits to the local park in Merignac last summer. The park was always busy, and it wasn't as though jogging, walking, and even some running wasn't represented, it was just that most of the people there were using the park to get from one side of town to the other. I remember that I felt very conspicuous on my first early morning run in France to encounter so many well-dressed people on the trail. I had thought that I would only be in the company of other sweaty, tired, panting runners. But that is because I, naive Texan that I am, did not realize that there are some parts of the world in which a park is not used primarily for exercising, like mine is here at home. :-)