Monday, February 25, 2008

casse-toi, pauvre con!

Sarkozy makes the news for saying, "Get lost, dumbass!" ("Casse-toi, pauvre con!") to a guy in the crowd who, upon being touched by Sarko, exclaims, "Don't touch me! You're sullying me!" The speaker's French must be some sort of dialect. He says, "Touche-moi pas!" instead of the more standard "Ne me touche pas!" He goes on to say "Tu me salis!" (literally, "You're dirtying me"), and sounds a bit daft in saying it. Can't say I blame Sarko for his reaction, though I can see why the video has become an instant hit online.

The word "con" is etymologically related to the word "cunt," but isn't nearly as strong. Translating "pauvre con" as dumbass, which is what the author of the Reuters article did, sounds about right to me. "Con" in the modern French sense connotes idiocy ("Putain, j'suis con!") and despite its relationship to things vaginal, it nonetheless has little to do with "pussy," which, when not referring to something warm, connotes wimpiness in North American English.

Of note is the bystander's use of the "tu" form (le tutoiement, as such a speech pattern is called in French), implying those all-important French values of liberté and égalité, though quite without any fraternité. The bystander spoke his mind and saw Sarko as his equal (or even his inferior!), which at least partially explains Sarko's snippy reaction.


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