In the latest incident in France to set the Internet ablaze, French President Nicolas Sarkozy scolded someone at a rally in the eastern city of Chambery on Thursday. “Fais pas le malin!” (Don’t be a wise guy!) Sarkozy told the young man, who pretended to wipe his hand after shaking the president’s.
While the remark went unnoticed by most people lining up to greet Sarkozy, the cameras of French television station TF1 were on hand to immortalise the less-than-presidential pronouncement.
Just a few hours later, the video spread across the French blogosphere like wildfire, adding to the Head of State’s reputation for clumsy word choice and lack of restraint.
“Don’t be a wise guy!” was a far tamer retort than the infamous “Get lost, ***hole” that President Sarkozy shot back at a heckler two years ago at the Paris Agricultural Show. But Thursday’s comment naturally recalled the controversial 2008 incident.
It also sparked a storm of visits and comments on some of the most widely viewed Web sites.
The video received has been viewed on 15,830 times on YouTube in less than 24 hours. Meanwhile, a Facebook group was quickly created on Thursday, and is already advertising “Don’t be a wise guy!” t-shirts.
But the buzz was particularly loud on Twitter, where the keyword #faispaslemalin has become one of the most searched and, ironically, the butt of numerous wisecracks.
A popular exchange on Twitter in the last 24 hours has been completing a sentence that begins with “Don’t be a Wise Guy!”. Some examples are: "#dontbeawiseguy or I’ll call back the volcanic ash cloud", #dontbeawiseguy or I’ll replace [Finance Minister Christine] Lagarde with [Greek PM George] Papandreou", and #dontbeawiseguy or I’ll cut your retirement pension".