Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid
Sometimes, here in the U.S., we have a tendency to be a little provincial when it comes to the world stage. We get so caught up in our own troubles that we forget there are people out there who have it even worse. For instance, weve been so fixated on the hullabaloo over the shoes thrown at President Bush on his visit to Iraq that weve completely ignored the much more dangerous threats that other world leaders face.As a man who doesnt drink or do drugs anymore, Bush is always on top of his game, his mind sharp as a tack and his body ready to spring into action at a moments notice. He proved this by deftly eluding each of the loafers hurled at him by the enraged Iraqi journalist. So, realistically, he was never in any danger of getting injured by the size-10 missiles. (And even if they had hit him, come on, they were shoes. How much damage could they have done?)But what if Bush was faced with the threat of being injured remotely by people he couldnt see and objects he couldnt dodge? How would his keen mind and amazing reflexes save him then? You may think Im joking, but thats exactly the sort of danger that French President Nicolas Sarkozy contends with every day.The threat to Sarkozy comes in the form of a voodoo doll made in his likeness by the French company K&B that went on sale in France on Oct. 9. The doll, which comes with pins and an instruction manual on how best to stick it to the president, has a few select quotes from Sarkozy printed on its front. The idea is that one is supposed to stick pins into such memorable lines as Work more to earn more and Get lost, jerk.As you might expect, this didnt go over too well with Sarkozy himself, who immediately filed a lawsuit against K&B to get them to stop selling the dolls. His contention was that he had exclusive and absolute rights to his own image.To keep things fair, K&B also issued a voodoo doll in the likeness of Sarkozys Socialist party rival, Segolene Royal, who termed the doll an affront to her human dignity but stopped short of filing a lawsuit of her own. Presumably, she wanted to wait and see what would happen with Sarkozys suit before proceeding.Well, what happened was that a French judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying the doll was within the authorized limits of free expression and the right to humor. Apparently, voodoo dolls with stupid sayings on them are considered quite funny to the French, which might help to explain why they consider Jerry Lewis such a genius.Ms. Royal ultimately decided not to take any action against K&B, claiming, I have a sense of humor. Odd that she would consider humorous something that was an affront to her human dignity just a week earlier. It is a womans prerogative to change her mind, though, isnt it?The one caveat the court did grant to Sarkozy is that the dolls must now carry a label saying they are offensive to him, which, to me, is absolutely hysterical. The publicity from the lawsuit helped to marginally increase sales, but the label is so much funnier than the actual doll that I would assume sales of the labeled version must be going through the roof.Its not all bad news for Sarkozy these days, however. He and his wife, the actress and model Carla Bruni, were successful with one of their lawsuits. (Sarkozy is practically American in the absurd number of lawsuits he has filed since being elected.) They managed to stop a company on the tiny island of Reunion from selling bags with a naked image of Ms. Bruni, and they got a $58,500 fine levied against the company. In this particular case, it was decided that Ms. Brunis image ownership rights had been violated, although why that is the case is a mystery to me. Ms. Bruni was a model, after all, and her image can be found all over the Internet. In fact, Im looking at a naked picture of her right now. (Dont bother. Shes not that hot.)Anyway, the happy ending to this story is that the $58,500 will be donated to charity, a magnanimous gesture that should help to burnish Sarkozys image, even if it does have pins stuck in it.
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