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In France, "le jogging" is a right-wing activity

MICHEL GANGNE/AFP

Nicolas Sarkozy, perhaps the most pro-American president in French history, has been stirring up a furor in the French and British media this summer with his most right-wing activity of all: jogging. And to add insult to injury, he often runs in his favorite NYPD T-shirt.

Sarkozy seems to be confirming a French belief that jogging is an activity for self-absorbed individualists such as Americans, the Times of London reports. The editor of V02, a sports magazine, told the left-wing French newspaper Libération, "Jogging is of course about performance and individualism, values that are traditionally ascribed to the right." The Times writes that sports sociologist Patrick Mignon thinks that "French intellectuals have always held sports in contempt, while totalitarian regimes cultivated physical fitness." Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, a member of British Parliament who jogs, says:

Of course [jogging] is right-wing. … The very act of forcing yourself to go for a run, every morning, is a highly conservative business. There is the mental effort needed to overcome your laziness.

A leading French philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut, says Sarkozy should stop his un-French and "undignified" athletic activity, which involves the indecency of exposing one's knees. Finkielkraut thinks strolling is more cerebral and says, "Western civilization, in its best sense, was born with the promenade."

(Well, if sports are indeed right-wing, their health benefits certainly aren't showing up in the most conservative areas of the United States.)

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Ah, so that's why Al Gore doesn't wear a necktie

VINCENZO PINTO/AFP

The bureaucrats of the European Commission have taken a radical step toward reducing their carbon footprint and halting the progress of global warming: Neckties have been declared "optional."

The logic is that tie-free men will tolerate greater heat, and by setting the air conditioners just one Celsius degree higher, they can cut their 56,000 metric tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent. Apparently, the always snappily dressed Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy got the idea on a trip to Japan.

Considering that the high in Brussels today is a balmy 66 F (19 C), I can't say I have much sympathy for the EC's noble civil servants (it's 100 F in Washington). If they really want to make a difference, they could probably turn off the air conditioners altogether.