Friday, October 3, 2014

Renzi Dares to Say What Hollande Won't

From the FT:

“I prefer to have a France with 4.4 per cent [debt-to-GDP ratio] today than a France with Marine Le Pen tomorrow. This is very important for Europe,” he added, referring to the leader of the far-right National Front.
“We must give a message of comprehension for countries with problems,” Mr Renzi said.

Gender Madness

A decade or so ago, when I translated L'Histoire des femmes, the French weren't sure they had a word for "gender" in their language. Genre now fills the role well enough that Le Monde can refer to "les 'antigenre"'in a headline without risk of being misunderstood. Among "les antigenre" we find such groups as "Vigi-Gender" and the Fédération des Parents Engagés et Courageux. Courageux enough to invent an imaginary enemy of homosexuals and feminists allegedly bent on "destroying the family" and "effacing traditional gender roles." A sinister feature of this movement is the way it has brought together elements of the extreme right with representatives of the immigrant community (consider the strange alliance between Alain Soral and Farida Belghoul, for example). The movement seems to be gaining steam, drawing on hidden networks flourishing on social media, and is now ready, it seems, to move into the schoolhouse and demand direct action.

Du rififi chez les Chirac

Monsieur favors Juppé, Madame is for Sarkozy. Daughter Claude is engaged in shuttle diplomacy. What a touching spectacle of family discord. One can imagine the scene. After all, cher Alain, le meilleur d'entre nous, took a bullet for his boss back in the day and suffered a criminal conviction, ineligibility for several years, and exile in snowy Canada for his trouble. Bad boy Sarko may have called papa un roi fainéant, but before that he nearly became the son-in-law and no doubt flattered the often-deceived Bernadette as bad boys are known to do with susceptible mothers when suspicious prospective fathers-in-law are overly protective of their precious offspring.

Will any of it matter in the end? Probably not. Let's not forget that Chirac all but endorsed Hollande in 2012, while Bernadette was even then with Sarkozy. I don't think they swayed many votes. But everyone likes a soap opera--so much more diverting than the problems of the euro or the competitiveness of French industry.