Jacques Chirac, ex-President of France, has been inspired by ‘WA entrepreneur’ Alan Bond’s memory loss (see KC’s 2009 report on other Aussie executive memory lapses) during his court hearings. Big Jacques has taken it further with a preemptive strike before his long-awaited trial on multiple corruption charges. His lawyer has submitted a doctor’s report claiming his patient suffers anosognosia, a brain condition (maybe) related to alzheimer’s: ‘being unaware of one’s disabilities, so that one forgets to forget’ or some such.
In any case, the 78 year old cannot answer questions about his time as mayor of Paris in the 80-90s, when fictitious jobs were created at the town hall to channel (i.e. embezzle) funds into the coffers of his Gaullist RPR party. The judges have been coming for him ever since, but Presidential immunity kept them at bay and then the glacial speed of justice finally caught up with him.
Even though he cannot, unfortunately, take part in court proceedings, JC has encouraged the court to start without him anyway, and it looks like it will. Anecdotally he is reported as being quite compos mentis only a few weeks ago, so obviously this condition is virulent and onset rapid.
French satirists are having a field day, as we say in rural Orstralia, and my favourite is the cult evening TV program Les Guignols de L’Info, meaning literally The News Puppets. Chirac has been one of its most regular guest characters throughout his presidency, portrayed as a bumbling, beer-drinking ingénue. Media pundits even reckoned that his presidential re-election was boosted by sympathy for his guignol character after all that piss-taking over the years.
Obviously a passing knowledge of the language of Moliere is required to really appreciate the caricature, but even without you can get a rough gist of the set-up. Check a couple of last week’s offerings when the news broke: Monday & Tuesday. Whatever happened to Australian political satire on TV (no, the lame Julia at Home didn’t do it for me)?