Is jogging right-wing? The Times Online reports:
President Sarkozy has fallen foul of intellectuals and critics who see his passion for jogging as un-French, right-wing and even a ploy to brainwash his citizens.
“Is jogging right wing?” wondered Libération, the left-wing newspaper. Alain Finkelkraut, a celebrated philosopher, begged Mr Sarkozy on France 2, the main state television channel, to abandon his “undignified” pursuit. He should take up walking, like Socrates, Arthur Rimbaud, the poet, and other great men, said Mr Finkelkraut.
“Western civilisation, in its best sense, was born with the promenade. Walking is a sensitive, spiritual act. Jogging is management of the body. The jogger says I am in control. It has nothing to do with meditation.”
Mr Sarkozy’s habit infuriates his critics – and some supporters – because he flaunts it so hard. Le running du Président, often clad in his favourite NYPD T-shirt, has become a ritual, like King Louis XIV’s rides at Versailles. He has practised it at summits in Brussels and Germany and he is looking forward to a bonding jog with José Socrates, the Prime Minister of Portugal, which took over the European Union presidency this week.
Maybe Western civilization, in its most dotage will die on the sidewalk, but it Leonidas' 300 Spartans would have had a hard time reaching the Gates of Fire in time to save it had they proceeded in a sensitive, spiritual manner recommended by the Parisian boulevardiers. We live in an age where sports have political connotations and products an actual gender. Never again will I think the al-Qaeda odd for decapitating men with the temerity to mix tomatoes and cucumbers in the same bag.