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Is jogging right-wing?

 

Apparently so, according to the French (though trying telling that to Presidents Carter, Clinton and others).

 

In Paris, what has come to be known as “Le jogging du Président” is getting “Speedy Sarko” in trouble.

 

The Times of London 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. Attacks on Mr Sarkozy’s pastime, which he has made a symbol of his presidency, began on the internet as soon as he bounded up the steps of the Elysée Palace in shorts when he took office in May. The grumbling has now moved to television and the press.

 

“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.”

What really irks Sarko’s critics though is that he wore his favorite NYPD T-shirt when out jogging at recent European summits in Belgium and Germany and he says he is looking forward to doing so again at a bonding jog with José Socrates, the Prime Minister of Portugal, which took over the European Union presidency this week.

Tom GrossTom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.

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