‘I see some of them looking for returns of twenty or twenty-five percent, at a time when fellatio is almost nonexistent,’ is the now-famous line uttered first in the world in French: Moi quand je vois certains qui demandent une rentabilité à 20-25%, avec une fellation quasi nulle. The culprit is Rachida Dati, MEP and current mayor of Paris’ 7th district. In English it’d be pretty hard to mix up inflation with fellatio – but in French inflation and fellation are pronounced in a similar way.
Sexual innuendo is symptomatic in political French, it would seem. Prime minister becomes premiere penis according to one anonymous man at the beginning of this video below:
The Dati incident has reminded the media of the late French socialist minister Pierre Beregovoy, who spoke of a ‘shag in taxes’ as opposed to a ‘drop in taxes’ in 1992 – this time it was all in the ‘s’ (baise vs baisse de l'impôt). Over in Spain, prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero spoke of ‘stimulating, demanding and shagging’ tourism – the latter unfortunate adjective confusing the verb follar (pronounced ‘foyaar’, meaning to shag) with apoyar (pronounced ‘apohyaar’, and meaning to support).
The German chancellor has made more honest slip-ups. In December 2008, Angela Merkel called conservative MP and former rival-cum-ally Roland KochRoland Kotz ('Roland Vomit‘). Maybe she meant it – Koch went on to resign as the leader in the region of Hessen in May 2010. In any case, the joke’s on Roland in English. There’s even a facebook group with a total of nine fans dedicated to the topic: ‘the last name ‘koch’ is pronounced ‘cock’ not cook’. It all comes back to the phallic verbal connotation that Rachida Dati has been unintentionally making international headlines with; the prize for worst headline goes to German daily Die Welt who call the former justice minister ‘(S)Ex-Ministerin’.