A tale of 2 men, or how the term «Quick Books» became a household concept.

The French elections were barely over, but not done with, and already, within approximately 48 hours, a spate of some 10 or so « Quick Books » had been written, edited, published and dispatched, “Post-haste”, to hyper-stores and book shops alike where, it is to be supposed, an eager public would snap them up, read them and then expedite them to the destiny posterity reserves for such works.

The overriding theme of these well-timed « Quick Book » publications was, of course, the newly elected, and the newly defeated, French president. What else!? (Alas! No George Clooney in these elections!) But if you stop to think about it what makes this an amazing feat is the fact that the writers could actually pen a work of some several hundred pages about  either the victorious candidate’s triumph or the defeated candidate’s “Via Doloroso” with insight and relevance.

If, like me, you are healthily suspicious of anything vaguely wondrous or extremely efficient – History proves that such efficiency invariably comes at a cost – you can’t help thinking that the “cost” of a speedy publication was, perhaps, the absence of depth and development (aka expedient corner cutting) in the story plots!

You simply can’t help wondering how they did it – and if not there are fortunately those still who relish in doing so. Personally I can’t see these books being written over night, or even in the fortnight between the 01st and 02nd rounds of the presidential election. So how did they do it?
Mr Punch savouring the victory of journalistic wit and insight over political ponderance

with kind courtesy of the owners

Well several theories come to mind. Theory #1, the most plausible, is that the respective authors actually wrote the books over a longer, build up, period of time and being expert in the matter they masterfully left the story line open so that the ending, whatever the outcome would be, could be logically and chronologically added thus completing the story line with total coherence.

Theory #2 is that they wrote the story, plot, outcome et al, left the names open, and penned them in once the election results known! OK a bit farfetched but you never know.

Yet another theory is that they actually wrote the book with the ending they thought inevitable, i.e. subject Mr. X winning the election, and on seeing the result the authors hastily rewrote the ending ….I know, sounds even more farfetched!

There are, very probably several more theories and variants going around, harebrained or not, about how these « Quick Books » came about, e.g. perhaps the authors and subjects, actively or passively, directly or indirectly – i.e. via their advisors – colluded to assure “Insight” and relevance, and why not?

But this does rather typify the whole ambiguity, or subtlety, of the French electoral process where financing, limited to ±25 million USD per candidate, is rigorously controlled and woe betide the candidate who over spends*…  No lobby support groups or Multi-million dollar, George Clooney sponsored, fund-raising dinners in France but then again no spectre of legal investigations about obscure retro-commissions on government sanctioned arms deals in the USA**.
*Election results can be invalidated if overspending is proven
** French Justice is investigating the possible misappropriation of “Retro commissions” linked to the sales of French frigates to Pakistan in the 1990s. Per se nothing special or unethical, it is however suspected these “Retro commissions” – and this is pending further clarification and investigation – may have, by some obscure process, been used to finance the campaign of one of the candidates during the 1995 presidential elections. All this is illegal and if confirmed the then candidate and all persons implicated would be subject to a reprimand and possibly a condemnation, generally a hefty fine and suspended sentence.


A thought to finish with. Comparing the French and American electoral processes is like comparing County Cricket or Rugby league with the EPL in England. One appears as slightly old world and anachronistic, where finance is a necessary evil to be tolerated for the benefit of the game, and the other is openly all about dollars, what they can buy and how fast.
One thing is for sure. For better or for worse, France has a new president and things will never be the same. As for the so deftly published «Quick Books», they were doomed to the destiny posterity reserves for such works from the day they were published: irrelevance and oblivion!


About nickrichards38

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