Thursday, July 05, 2007

Refined Senses

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.

Nothing follows.

17 Comments:

Blogger Barb said...

"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.”

I have always felt that a major difference between eastern thought so beloved of the liberal viewpoint and the what I prefer to think of as classic western (read American engineers, etc) thought could be summarized by eastern mystics adjusting their mind to living beside a swamp teeming with mosquitos, living in harmony with the mosquitos as it were and the pragmatic western man rolling up in bulldozers, draining the swamp, and spraying DDT all around.

However, the above quote about jogging is now my new example of the great divide between mysticism and engineering.

7/05/2007 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Barb,
I too always looked at what liberals got from eastern mystics was learning how to put up with what is, as though that is always to be desired.

remembered a comment I made about a comedy team "Coyle and Sharp" and one of their favorite characters:

"Mrs Bessinger has learned to live with misfortune because it's the easiest thing to do."
---
The link was Wretch's post about a hysterical liberal blogger

Jamie Irons added:

Yes, Coyle and Sharp were hilarious; I sent for their CD two or three years ago and Coyle's widow (I think it was) sent me a very nice note in the package. I especially like their "In Living Hell" piece.

They worked at a time when people in San Francisco still had a sense of humor. The latter died in the late sixties;
I think the "Flower Children" killed it.

7/05/2007 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The picture is Priceless!
---
"“WAKE THE [expletive] UP,” she writes next, and this time, instead of pausing, she keeps going, typing harder and harder on a keyboard that is surrounded by a pack of cigarettes, a dirty ashtray, a can of nonalcoholic beer, an album with photos of her dead father and a taped-up note — staring at her — on which she has scrawled “Why am I/you here?”
---
LGF says: "It’s amazing how closely this matches my mental image of these lunatics."

7/05/2007 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dennis Miller called a friend who lives in the same building as Sarkozy and sees him from time to time:
She said most of the people there love him, and her kids go to the same school as his.
Funny how much more Monarchical the trappings around our president have become than the leaders of France and Britain.

7/05/2007 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dennis' Miller on France -- "Even after they gave us the Statue of Liberty, we had the good sense to chisel off the armpit hair before we erected it in New York Harbor."

7/05/2007 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Or perhaps Wretchard this merely reflects the extreme feminization of life in the West. Probably inevitable once status was elevated as the only determinant for sex; and the dissolution of the family / taboos enabled elites to go back to the old polygamous standards.

What made Western Civilization great, and what Leonidas and the 300 fought for, was the ability to have their own family. That not even the King could come and take away a man's wife as his concubine. Men could fight for that. Even die for it. Horrifically.

What the elites are really all about is getting all the women. Women of course will mostly favor this since 1/10th of a rich, elite man's income is better than 100% of an ordinary man's.

Far more dangerous than arguments about what is "unseemly" for exercise is how families form (or don't). "Frauenmangel" is my new word for today. You've seen the Economist/Der Spiegel stories. Men without women are dangerous. Contrary to elitists and feminists, they won't go gay, or simply die off. They'll probably take action. Almost any kind. They certainly won't fight for what they don't have. Not even a slave will fight to the death for the Sultan's harem.

7/05/2007 10:18:00 PM  
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7/06/2007 01:00:00 AM  
Blogger Smitten Eagle said...

Leonidas, indeed.

Let us not forget Pheidippides, who, after the Western victory, at the Battle of Marathon ran to Athens to herald the news.

Thank God that it wasn't the French fighting the Persians, vice the warlike and proud Greeks. After running-away, I'm sure they would have sent out their corps of elite walkers to Sparta to demand assistance.

7/06/2007 04:06:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

To the contrary, I have enjoyed many reflective moments during my runs, and once I even wrote a whole paper in my head during a run; the topic was options for launching the X-33 from Cape Canaveral. I probably have gotten even more useful thought out of my runs than my daily walks with my dog.

But I have found that I can run quite a bit faster if I don’t think about anything but running. Concentrating on speed really helps - but it is not nearly as much fun, and the effort required has nothing to do with physical exertion.

I think perhaps one of our problems today is that people so often insist on all or nothing. If you run or do anything else you have to do it flat out. If you are French you have to be French and not do anything that does not look French. The whackos out there are all hard over one way or another. Our biggest problem is extremists of every stripe – and one reason for that is when you average out all the extremism you end up with a big fuzzy middle muddle.

Maybe the president of France could take up bicycling – but, come to think of it, since Lance Armstrong came along perhaps that is not very French any more, either.

7/06/2007 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

Two thoughts:

1. Finkelkraut knows less than he believes he does. He builds a strawman comparison with some fictional description of jogging vs. his own opinion of walking, with some spiritual non sequitor argument attached. Weak rhetoric. He should at least try to build his opinions on some facts, but I guess staying in the realm of breezy speculation is more comfortable for him.

On top of that, walking does not necessarily lead to meditative states either. Finkelkraut knows nothing of meditation.

And dignity? Again, opinion. The idea of sacrificing personal health for the appearance of dignity is a red herring; dignity is more a mental state than anything else, and I don't see any indication that Sarkozy is lacking this. Plus, there's nothing dignified about allowing one's body to fall out of shape, and criticizing someone's choice of exercise is trivial ankle-biting at best, and undignified in and of itself as well.

Or, if the "dignity" argument is Finkelkraut stating his reaction as a viewer, then the solution shouldn't be to stick his nose into someone else's business. It should be for him to avert his attention. Much in life can be undignified in appearance, but the dignified response isn't to obsess over it.

2. What is this "right wing" argument? How PC is it to declare an activity "undignified", therefore right-wing? This is political correctness at its most trivial. To mediate what is a proper and personal activity for a political stance is to extend politics into a realm where it does not belong.

I think the term for that sort of self-important nit-pickery is called "chickenshit"; it's not significant or important enough to reach the realm of "bullshit".

7/06/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

If you filter out of 'Leftist analysis' everything which is just 10,000 different ways of saying either "we don't like this" or "we don't like the person who's doing it", there's very little left.

This has been true for at least 50 years, but it's getting easier and easier to do.

7/06/2007 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger jane doe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/06/2007 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger jane said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/06/2007 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

The quoted stuff from the Foggie "Philosophers" is just their usual B$. Truth of the matter is that they chain smoke unfiltered Gitanes and are physically incapable of the mildest exertion.

7/06/2007 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Dublin Saab said...

In his favorite NYPD t-shirt? Symbolically speaking that's quite the political statement. And it's a statement that will have a few of my Manhattanite friends crying. But not our of pride and solidarity but rather from shame that the the leader of their socialist paradise is wearing the icon of the evil NYC police.

7/06/2007 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Ferris said...

Aren't these the same people that gave us Sartre, Foucault, Derrida and Baudrillard?

7/06/2007 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger mouse said...

I see that I am late to this thread, but since this is the most important post ever made at The Belmont Club I feel it's necessary that I comment:

The man who walks is observant, museful, fit. The man who runs is fit.

The mind of the walker is philosophic, the mind of the runner reptilian. There is such a thing as a peripatetic philosopher, there is no such thing as a jogging philosopher. That's because there is no such thing as mind and movement at the same time, not if mind means intellectual process and movement means something more than walking.

If any jogger ever did have a thought (it doesn't happen) he would immediately, automatically, walk; this is the way the mind and the body work; and when the feet resume speed the mind resumes rest. This is simple and a fact and can be perceived even by a snotty Frenchman, and while it's fine to take offense at the French you can't do it by saying that 'cause he's a snot what's true is not.

Note: I do walk and I do run. I've taken a walk nearly everyday of my life and not one minute has been a waste. I've been running for three years and not one minute has been well spent, not intellectually. There is pleasure in feeling strong, and in a good run there is zest, exuberance, and afterwards even elation. These aren't bad emotions, and it's not such a bad use of life to do something to feel a clean clear pleasure, but it is not thought.

7/07/2007 02:21:00 AM  

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