According to multiple reports, French President Emmanuel Macron said that his goal was to “piss off” the unvaccinated in his country — hoping that the threat of more draconian restrictions would spur them to get vaccinated — but people who speak French claimed that what Macron really said was much worse.
The New York Times World section posted a tweet saying, “President Macron of France drew criticism over his comments about people who had refused coronavirus vaccines. ‘I really want to piss off the unvaccinated,’ he told the newspaper Le Parisien. ‘And so we are going to continue doing that, until the end.'”
The Washington Post went with the same translation, tweeting, “‘I am not for pissing off the French … however, the unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off,’ French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview.”
Politico Europe tweeted, “Emmanuel Macron’s use of the term ‘piss off’ has caused a furore in France. But he’s not the first French politician to break into bad language. Charles de Gaulle and Nicolas Sarkozy, among others, also famously employed ‘gros mots.'”
But as policy correspondent for The Independent Jon Stone noted, something may have been lost in translation. “English langauge press grappling with reporting Macron saying he wants to ‘«Emmerder» the unvaccinated is quite funny. Most going with ‘piss off’ and others ‘hassle’… of course it literally means ‘to sh*t on.'”
English langauge press grappling with reporting Macron saying he wants to ‘«Emmerder» the unvaccinated is quite funny. Most going with ‘piss off’ and others ‘hassle’… of course it literally means ‘to shit on’
— Jon Stone (@joncstone) January 5, 2022
The Associated Press came a little closer to the full-throated definition of the word, tweeting, “French President Emmanuel Macron used a vulgarity to berate the unvaccinated, provoking outcries in Parliament. Macron used the word ’emmerder,’ rooted in the French word for ‘crap.'”
One of the things Macron said in his efforts to “sh*t on” the unvaccinated — which amounts to nearly 5 million French people — was that those who had refused to get the jab were no longer considered French citizens.
Dr. David Samadi tweeted, “French President Emmanuel Macron just called France’s 5 million unvaccinated citizens ‘non-citizens’ and stated ‘I really want to piss them off. And so we will continue to do so to the bitter end. That’s the strategy.’ Governments are getting bolder every day with this rhetoric.”
The immediate result of Macron’s comments was not 5 million “pissed off” French people rushing out to get vaccinated — but rather, his own Parliament shutting down debate on COVID-19.
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 5, 2022
Macron said he wanted to “piss off” unvaccinated people by making their lives so complicated they would end up getting jabbed. He was speaking in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper in which he also called unvaccinated people irresponsible and unworthy of being considered citizens.
“A president cannot say such things,” Christian Jacob, chair of the conservative Les Republicans party, told parliament as it discussed a bill to make it mandatory for people to show proof of vaccination to enter many enclosed public spaces.
But spokesman Gabriel Attal said that, amid a “supersonic” rise in Covid cases, the government stood by Macron’s comments.
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