Bestial election blows

Article published on Dec. 1, 2006
Article published on Dec. 1, 2006

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

Tensions reached boiling point during the American election campaign, when the Democrats started to deliver their libertine blows below the belt. The puritanical Republicans were caught in the gunfire; they found themselves defending charges of 'bestiality'.

At home in France, I mulled this over in front of the television. Why were the Americans speaking about ‘bestiality’ all of a sudden? Were they saying that the election battle had turned beastly and inhumane? Or can Washington politics generally be described as a jungle-like field?

Turns out I was far off the mark. What is termed ‘zoophilia’ in French, Italian and Spanish, is the term for sexual relations between a human being and an animal in English. To which an Irish friend I was with quite rightly asked; ‘so what do you call people who like going to the zoo in French?’