Meanwhile, the mill of ludicrousness elsewhere in Europe grinds on unrelenting. "I got into the habit of paying for boys. . . . All these rituals of the market for youths, the slave market excited me enormously . . . the abundance of very attractive and immediately available young boys put me in a state of desire." Who said it? Harry Hay? Allen Ginsberg? Mark Foley? Mais non! It was French culture minister, gay activist, and champion of the pedophilic Roman Polanski Frédéric Mitterrand, in his 2005 "novel inspired by autobiography" The Bad Life, chronicling the thrill of predation in Thailand and Indonesia. Some French pols, disgusted by Mitterrand's defense of Polanski-"an artist of international repute wouldn't be abandoned by his culture minister"-dug up the book and publicized this and other such passages. Now they are calling for his head. For the moment, though, the French government is dismissing the suggestion. Sarko has privately offered Mitterrand his full support, and the president's advisers are doing so publicly-and with sublime French superciliousness: "French political debate sometimes takes on a pathetic form," sniffs Henri Guaino. "It's excessive and quite undignified." Mitterrand insists he is no pedophile; perhaps not. Could be the autobiography-as-novel requires just a soupçon of exaggeration: if you must cruise the "market for youths" only in your dreams, you may at least have the pleasure of describing it in loving detail for publication. It's not gay porn, it's Art. Especially if it's en français.
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