They have followed the for-or-against-Depardieu bitchy catfights between other actors of his calibre. By 'his calibre' I mean never talented in the first place, jealous of other actors' success, narcissistic, ludicrously ego-filled and always on the lookout for a quick buck or media hit. They have watched, spellbound, as Depardieu dramatically - as an actor would - announced his application for Russian citizenship as if he were pompously holding up a skull and gravely delivering the line 'to be or not to be...". They have learned all about Depardieu's shady business dealings with countries like Cuba, Columbia and corruption-ridden ex-Soviet satellite states and others. And they woke up yesterday to learn that Putin had finally decided to grant him a Russian passport (why is another matter). This story perfectly sums up why the term 'abject spectacle' was invented. 'Nuff said.
But Depardieu is not the only rich fan of Russia in France, so, ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to French
Bardot threatened the French government today that she may soon be following in Depardieu's footsteps by asking to become a Russian citizen. She even said she may go and live there. The reason for that threat can be summed up by this photo, which I took here in Lyon three years ago.
|Baby and Nepal|
Yup, two elephants. I have seen these two elephants dozens of times in their compound in Lyon's zoo, which is situated in Lyon and France's biggest urban park, the Parc de la Tête d'Or. I go to there not to see the animals but because it's a peaceful place which allows bicycle riders like myself to ride around its wide footpaths and alleyways.
Bardot, like many of the people of Lyon, is quite rightly outraged at Lyon City Hall's decision to have them put down because they are dubiously alleged to have contracted a dangerous animal virus which is also dangerous for humans. She has been at the forefront of efforts to protect animals in France and the world, and her efforts are to be applauded. My position on this issue can be summed up by the angry email I sent two weeks ago to the Mayor in which I said that although I am not a major fan of zoos and as such am not defending the zoo per se, these animals should be reprieved pending further testing as a gesture of ethical fairness and compassion.The elephants' defenders, of which Bardot is by far the best-known, say that the authorities should carry out further tests to be sure of their diagnosis, and I agree with them. City Hall has refused to do so so far however, so as things stand Baby and Nepal are sitting on death row, gloomily awaiting their last meal of grass, leaves twigs and fruit and the stomach-churning visit by a (presumably Buddhist) priest.
But although I admire Bardot's stance on animals it has to be weighed against her stance on human beings. What does she think of people? This is what she thinks of immigrants and homosexuals, although she vehemently denies being either racist or homophobic.
In a book entitled 'Letter to my Lost France' she wrote "my country, France, my homeland, my land is again invaded by an overpopulation of foreigners, especially Muslims." That remark resulted in a 30,000-franc fine, handed down by a French court. She had already been fined for similar offences. Undeterred, she went on to say that Muslim immigration was a "subterranean, dangerous and uncontrolled infiltration...", and other remarks of that nature have led her to be found guilty of inciting racial hatred on several occasions over the years.
Her other target is gays. She compared her gay acquaintances to homosexuals who "jiggle their bottoms, put their little fingers in the air and with their little castrato voices moan about what those ghastly heteros put them through" and said that some contemporary homosexuals behave like "fairground freaks."
In other words, the fact that she votes in elections for the extreme rightwing xenophobic Front National party should come as no more of a surprise than watching the boat sink at the end of the film 'Titanic'.
Back to the animals she loves, she once had a neighbour's donkey castrated because of its "sexual harassment" of her own donkey, and although that went against the grain she more than made up for that error by saying that a dog which had hideously disfigured a 4-year-old child should be spared from euthanasia and kept alive in good conditions for the rest of its life because it would be hypocritical to execute an animal in a country which had banned the death penalty for human beings.
That is the real Brigitte Bardot.
So if those two elephants are put down without further testing and she carries out her threat to move to Russia my reaction shall be twofold.
I shall be sad that the animals were put down.
And I shall be more than pleased to see the back of her.