Lack of an interior labyrinth
is fatal if you think you’re monumental,
demanding plaudits, placed upon a plinth.
Though the problem that you suffer may be mental,
you’ll suffer consequences if you lack
the complications one associates with mazes,
subjected quite unfairly to attack
by those whom only what is tortuous amazes.
Far more deserving of respect the Min-
otaur than people who do not confuse with bull-
shit their opponents. If there’s nothing in
your head that can’t be understood, they’ll think you’re full
of emptiness. If you have no interior
labyrinth, in which explorers are misled,
you will be underestimated, an inferior
whose arguments need not be followed by a thread.
Inspired by an article by Steve Erlanger and Alan Cowell on the acquittal of Dominique de Villepin of charges that he had conspired against President Sarkozy (NYT, January 29, 2010):
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France suffered a significant political setback on Thursday when a Paris court acquitted a rival and former prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, on charges that he was part of a 2004 conspiracy to tarnish Mr. Sarkozy’s reputation. Mr. Sarkozy, who won the presidency in any case, was himself a plaintiff in the deeply political trial, known as “Clearstream,” which both confused and captivated France. The case had raised issues of class, culture and power, and Mr. Sarkozy made no secret of his hostility toward Mr. de Villepin. The verdict found no wrongdoing by Mr. de Villepin, even though prosecutors had asked the court to convict him of complicity in slander, forgery, use of stolen property and breach of trust. The case turned on the use of forged documents to try to defame Mr. Sarkozy and others by linking them to secret accounts supposedly containing kickbacks from arms sales to Taiwan…After the verdict, which was delivered in the courtroom in which Marie Antoinette was sentenced to the guillotine, Mr. de Villepin, 56, said: “I have no rancor, no resentment. I want to turn the page.” He called the verdict “a victory of justice and the law over politics…There were about 40 plaintiffs, but Mr. de Villepin has said he believes that Mr. Sarkozy was behind the case, trying to use the power of the presidency for political ends. At the beginning of the trial last year, Mr. de Villepin said he was in the dock “because of the relentlessness of one man, Nicolas Sarkozy,” whom he has previously referred to as “that dwarf.” In 2004, Mr. de Villepin, who has written books of declamatory poetry, told Le Point that “Nicolas doesn’t have the makings of a man of state, because he has no interior labyrinth” and lacks “the mystery that is the strength of great men.” The two men were ministers under President Jacques Chirac, who favored Mr. de Villepin, but Mr. Sarkozy proved the better politician. Mr. Sarkozy not only was a plaintiff, but during the trial, he also branded the defendants guilty, which his opponents called a further violation of his responsibility as president to be above the law.He vowed revenge in 2005, saying he would hang those responsible “on a butcher’s hook.” But as Mr. Barbier said, “If the case was the revenge of Sarkozy, it may also be the beginning of the revenge of de Villepin.”