The minister's graphic autobiographical novel
A minister in similar circumstances in Britain, for example, would have very little chance of survival. The tabloids would be baying for his blood, seizing on the many ambiguities in Mitterrand's account.BBC NEWS | Europe | 'Bad Life' minister's colourful dynasty. The Brits are correct to say that such a scandal, where a major politician talks about their lust for "boys" and sex tourism, would destroy any American or British politician. But even if the French themselves have been rather "c'est la vie" about Mitterand's book, they have their own far right and it's no surprise that the Le Pen folks are fanning the flames of this scandal. Scratch that. They're throwing gasoline on the flames of this scandal. According to an article it the Globe,
On Sunday, Marine Le Pen, the vice-president of the extreme-right National Front, gave his defence of Mr. Polanski a more sinister cast. During a television talk show, she read out some of the more explicit passages from the 2005 book, accused him of preying on young boys and said his presence in the government was a “stain” on France.But what exactly is the scandal? That Mitterand defended Polanski, a man convicted of raping a young girl? Or that Mitterand paid for sex? Or that he paid for sex with young men? Mitterand insists that all the male prostitutes were of an age of legal consent so this is NOT the same as the Polanski scandal. The prostitutes were not raped, but engaged in the sex acts in exchange for money, so issues of consent become less thorny (yes, if they weren't horribly poor, they might not consent to have sex with foreign men, but the same could be said for factory workers, restaurant workers, and cleaning people at luxury hotels). No, the scandal is that Mitterand is acting French in a world that is increasingly dominated by a re-invigorated sexual puritanism, a sexual puritanism brought to France primarily through American culture. Blame the Jonas Brothers or any of those other purity-ring-wearing, virginity-spouting stars. Or blame Bill Clinton for saying he did NOT have sex with that woman. But my guess is, even with the far right trying to bring Mitterand (and by extension Sarkhozy) down, the French will ultimately not care all that much that a major politician has lived the Bad Life.