Thursday, 12 December 2013

Le "Selfie" de la Discorde

La chef du gouvernement danois propose à Barack Obama et à David Cameron, qui vient de les rejoindre, de poser ensemble sur une même photo. Le président américain l'aide à maintenir son téléphone portable.
Hey - Don't Forget to Tag Me
Revenu à sa place, Barack Obama échange quelques plaisanteries avec la premier ministre danoise. Le visage sombre de Michelle Obama sur cette photo a suscité de nombreux commentaires de la presse people. ««Elle n'était ni figée, ni contrariée, assure un photographe de l'AFP qui assistait à la scène. Cet air sérieux n'est que le pur fruit du hasard».
Don't Make Me Separate You Two

The tech age is truly a thing of beauty.  Smart phones.  The internet (thanks Al Gore).  The 24-hours news cycle.   All of this is no doubt a boon to guys like Jay Leno - if not to say Jon Stewart.

Still, who could resist the recent furore over the "selfie" snapped by US President Barack Obama.

The president was in Soweto in South Africa to attend the homage to the late South African President and anti-apartheid warrior Nelson Mandela.

President Obama has come under somewhat mild fire for his less than reverent behaviour, including not a small amount of speculation as to the fallout it may have had on his wife Michelle.  Michelle has at times been described in less than flattering terms in the soft press, including a book released about this same time last year.  A sort of political Upstairs Downstairs in which the First Lady was portrayed as somewhat controlling, petty, and jealous.

Here in France, the whole thing is being described in the press as "Le Selfie de la Discorde."  One need not be a French scholar to reckon out the meaning.  In one article, the president's insouciant behaviour is compared to "le regard renfrogné de sa femme." (The sullen look of his wife).  

To me, the most interesting thing of the whole affair is the French adoption of the term "selfie."  Unlike English, French nouns are masculin or féminin. Anyone who struggled through school-boy French remembers the tribulations of sorting the two.  Who hasn't written an essay, pausing to recall if it's les liaisons dangereux  or les liaisons dangereuses?

For certain neologisms, like "selfie," there actually is an Académie française, established centuries ago by Cardinal Richelieu, whose job it is to rule whether the new word is to be (m) or (f).  

In this case, "le selfie" is the ruling.  

Not sure how "twerk" has come down, though.  

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