Poujade: Hitler or Pierrot?
First Postwar Mass Movement on the Right
“Poujadolf” was invented by a British cartoonist, Vicky. It will probably dog Pierre Poujade to the end of his days. The whole French left has clasped the expression to its bosom. The extreme right, which tends to sympathize with Poujade, retorted with rather strained plays on the name of Mendés-France, none of which was funny. All they did was provide more evidence of the anti-Semitic inclinations of the far right. Poujade himself only made things worse by declaring that he was neither an anti-Semite nor a xenophobe, but merely against “government by vagabonds,” and that anyone with a voice in France’s public affairs ought to be at least a third-generation French citizen.
I remember Jean-Paul Sartre, eight years ago over the radio, finding almost every feature of Hitler’s face in General de Gaulle’s— “except the forelock.” Well, there were a few more differences than that, but “fascism” and “fascist” have become terms of everyday abuse in France which people instantly hurl at the first opponent in sight. (I believe the Communists started the fashion.) Certainly Poujade is guiltless of looking like Hitler. He has an essentially healthy, somewhat chubby, open face bespeaking average intelligence and belonging to a lively homo aurignacensis, a real southern Frenchman: “one of the boys” from head to foot. His appearance is not too unlike that of the young Maurice Thorez of pre-war days, who also looked like “one of the boys.” How appearances can deceive!
About the Author