Why Darmanin messes up political vocabulary

Gérald Darmanin is having fun. This weekend, January 28, he accused, in “Le Parisien”, the Nupes of always seeking to “to bordelize” the country, causing tremendous (and somewhat ridiculous) outcry. The word was carefully chosen by him. If he had said “the Nupes seeks to sow disorder in the country”, his exit would have gone unnoticed. Magic of swear words, which enjoy extra power! Satisfied, the Minister of the Interior did it again during his visit the following Monday to a police station on 8e district of Marseilles. “Bordéliser”, he explained, is one of the “words of common sense” : “Bordelization, I think we can see it again this morning in committee [de l’Assemblée nationale, NDLR]. »

Loaded with artificial prohibitions, swear words are a strangeness. We learn them when we are children. We love them – aren’t they happy and jubilant? – but we are dissuaded from pronouncing them. Originally, they were blasphemies: “to swear”, from the Latin to swear, it’s not nothing, it’s taking the gods to witness. There are still traces of these words banned by the Church in the Quebec vocabulary (Tabarnak! Crisse! Ostie!). In French, these oaths have been relieved of their blasphemous character by euphemization: “sapristi” instead of “sacristy”; “sacrebleu” instead of “sacred God”; “jarnicoton” instead of “I deny god”, etc Sex has taken the place of God and 80% of French swear words have a link with scatology (shit, motherfucker) or sexuality (con, cum, asshole, motherfucker, bastard, whore…). Appearing in the Middle Ages, “brothel” is no exception: it is a feminization of “borde”, which designated a hut where prostitutes received their clients, on the outskirts of cities.

To utter a swear word is to play with the code. It is to mimic the loss of control, the disinhibition, with the aim of surprising to dramatize its subject. In the political sphere, the swear word is on the way to becoming a rhetorical tool like any other. It has not always been the case. In the past, swear words were reserved for private remarks: when Pompidou deemed it useless “to piss off the French”when Sarkozy insulted a citizen refusing to shake his hand with a “casse toi pauv’con”, they did not expect to find their quote in the press. But with social networks, their use in politics is gaining in popularity. It has been demonstrated that the algorithms of these systems favor the propagation of provocations.

Macron’s regrets

Political figures are therefore trying to use vulgar words, with more and more audacity. It’s Bruno Le Maire who dreams that the children finally say “Damn, I’m French: that’s class” (and who tweets it), Valérie Pécresse who proposes criminal sanctions “who bother” the delinquents or, in the same register, Macron who expresses his desires “to piss off” the unvaccinated…

Darmanin, by publicly assuming in Marseilles the shocking word demon, goes further. But one can wonder if he does not also take the opportunity to throw a stone in the garden of the Elysée. Because a very similar story happened to Emmanuel Macron in October 2017. Visiting a foundry in Corrèze, the very fresh President of the Republic had declared: “There are some, instead of messing around, they better go and see if they can get jobs there [dans une autre entreprise de fonderie à 30 km]. » The sentence had been judged “indecent” by the CGT and many other commentators, to the point that a crisis meeting was held at the Elysée. At the end of it, Macron had made it known that he “regret” the form of his sentence, but not the substance.

Gérald Darmanin cannot have forgotten this incident. By repeating his “bordéliser”, he decides to wear it as a manly standard and in doing so, he ostensibly distances himself from the Elysian pusillanimity.

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Source : Nouvelobs

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