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The Royal Socialist and the Son of an Immigrant

The absolutely stunning warm sun continued to shine on Paris and in through the windows onto the table tops at La Pierre du Marais on Saturday afternoon at the three-hour workshop given by Judith Merians — “The Screenplay Pitch that Really Sells!” A large and eager group learned how to write a good “logline” (a one sentence description of a story) and construct a pitch that would really sell a script idea. Merians is a formidable instructor whose series of scriptwriting technique workshops is growing in popularity among those who “wannabe” and those who already are.

The unseasonably warm sunny weather held up for Sunday’s momentous event — the first round of the 2007 French Election. It all boiled down to a woman socialist with a contrarian name (26%) and the son of a Hungarian immigrant who takes a tough stand on immigration (31%). Go figure! The French will never cease to amaze me.

The whole world watched as almost 85% of the French voting population stood in long lines to cast their ballots compared with 58% of American registered voters who came to the polls in the 2004 November presidential race.

In my district (3rd), almost 87% came out to vote and Ségolène (“Ségo”) Royal beat Nicolas Sarkozy (“Sarko”) with 37% compared to his 29%. This district is an eclectic mix governed by a Socialist Party mayor, so it’s not surprising. When looking at the more conservative 16th, Sarkozy overwhelmingly took the lead with 64% compared to Royal’s 11% and Bayrou had a respectable showing with 16%. On the other side of town, where immigrant populations flourish, the 20th, Royal took the lead with 42% of the vote compared to Sarkozy’s 23%.

Earlier in the week, I attended a “MeetUp” at Joe Allen Restaurant to learn more about the U.S. presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, whose name presents (for me) a constant confusion with “Osama bin Laden.” “Quelle horreur!” The Democratic Party contest between the son of an immigrant (Obama) and a woman (Hilary Clinton) who once held court in the White House seems like a mirror image of the French presidential election.

The upcoming May 6th final vote between Ségo and Sarko is sure to rock the nation either way. At least this time around there is a choice worth considering between two underdogs — a woman and an immigrant. In the last election, when Jacques Chirac’s opponent was National Front’s Jean-Marie Le Pen, it was hardly a contest and more a vote of the lesser of two evils.

As a woman, if I could vote (permanent residency does not decree citizenship), it would be awfully tempting to cast a

ballot to help put the gender in the Elysée Palace, but drowning the state in more social programs and higher taxes goes against my capitalist nature. On the other hand, the son of an immigrant who has become “plus royal que le roi” (more Royalist than the king) scares an immigrant like me. I have this fantasy of taking Ségo’s pretty face and genitalia, combining it with Sarko’s determination for change and economic prosperity to create one brilliant force against French nature…but all I get is a drag queen with a big nose in bad fashion.

In the case of Obama and Clinton, my fantasy is reversed…should I tell you or let you use your imagination?

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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