The French Are Proof of God’s Sense of Humor

The French don’t care what they do, actually, as long as they pronounce it properly.

                         Professor Henry Higgins, My Fair Lady

As longtime readers of this blog know, I have a weakness for humorous posts.  However, it is increasingly difficult to come up with imaginative pieces more humorous than reality.

The hooting and catcalls began as soon as the Cabinet minister stood, wearing a blue and white flowered dress. It did not cease for the entire time she spoke before France’s National Assembly. And the heckling came not from an unruly crowd, but from male legislators who later said they were merely showing their appreciation on a warm summer’s day.

Cecile Duflot, the Housing minister, faltered very slightly, and then continued with her prepared remarks about an urban development project in Paris.

“Ladies and gentlemen, but mostly gentlemen, obviously,” she said in a firm voice as hoots rang out. She completed the statement on her ministry and again sat down. None of the men in suits who preceded her got the same treatment from the deputies, and the reaction was extraordinary enough to draw television commentary and headlines for days afterward.

The same French Assembly on Tuesday took up a new law on sexual harassment, more than two months after a court struck down the previous statute, saying it was too vague and failed to protect women. In the meantime, there has been nothing. All cases that were pending when the law was struck down May 4 were thrown out. And, without a law, there can be no new cases.

Go here to read the rest.  Under the proposed new sexual harassment law, sexual harassment would be a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison.  I like it!  France, assuming that it passes the statute, will soon allow us to see how it functions when almost all Frenchmen above the age of puberty, if their elected representatives are any indication, are locked up!

20 Responses to The French Are Proof of God’s Sense of Humor

  • As a french catholic I think that you should try not to confuse humor and Francophobia. This is not very catholic to do so.

  • It would take a heart of stone FC not to laugh at this incident. Time for you to loosen your beret and get a sense of humor.

  • Sorry, but your xenophobic stereotypes do not make me laugh at all. I will pray for you.

  • Ah FC, going through life as part of that largest minority, the humor impaired, is totally tragic. I will pray for you that one day you may develop an appreciation for the absurd, especially when you look in the mirror, something I relish each day as I shave.

  • To Donald and FC: I have listened to the entire video and it is not only Mrs Duflot who was heckled but the Prime Minister also. I have to agree with FC that your choice of humour betrays a bit of francophobia. You could have chosen equally humourous and ungentemanly incidents in the British Parliament. Remember Churchill’s “Betty, you’re ugly…”
    Elise – A Catholic FC (French Canadian)

  • Francophobia? A-okay.
    Antisemitism? Bannable offense.

  • I learned in high school that if you wish to be taken seriously in a matter you should prepare yourself to appear serious, which would include dressing appropriately. I am saying that she could have chosen something less casual. If one looks at the first and second row of the gallery there were women who were dressed in a manner which would not attract the kind of response she received. Did she deserve it ? An emphatic “No”. Could she have avoided it. An emphatic “Yes”. If she had dressed in a more business like apparel she “might” not have opened herself for the kind of response she received. If then she did I would agree that the idiots in the gallery cannot be redeemed even with legislation. However it was I admit humourous.

  • “Ladies and gentlemen, but mostly gentlemen, obviously,” she said…

    Madame Duflot was being generous, for it’s obvious that gentlemen are a minority
    in the Assembly. Sadly, that sort of behavior isn’t confined to those over-privileged
    and juvenile legislators. Most Parisian males view it as their prerogative to hiss their
    “appreciation on a warm summer’s day” to any woman.

    Elise Bonnette, I agree that one could find incidents of similar harassment in the
    records of Parliament (or of Congress). But I think that the difference is that these
    days Britons and Americans consider that behavior contemptible (remember
    Senator Packwood?), yet Parisian men still view it as their birthright to act like swine.
    I have mixed feelings about attempting to legislate behavior, but I wish the French
    good luck with these new laws, and I applaud the recognition of their necessity.

  • Correction “humorous”.

  • The last example of Francophobia (by definition, an irrational fear of the French) in England was in the 1860s when volunteer rifle regiments were formed and expensive forts (Palmerston’s follies) constructed to counter a possible invasion by Napoleon III. The Second Empire, however “tried to be Wagner and turned out to be Offenbach”.

    What we Brits admire about the French is their total lack of ‘political correctness’ (their language doesn’t allow it, for a start). Who else would ban Muslim women from wearing the niqab in public and explain disarmingly that it was an anti-discriminationary law? This sexual harrassment nonsense is gesture politics by the new Socialist government. The French only obey the law when it suits them – EU regulations are enforced with bureaucratic zeal this side of the Channel and ignored in France, and quite rightly so. A British government minister said the other day that to pay a tradesman in cash (out of your taxed income, mind) was ‘immoral’. This would have had the French hooting with mirth.

    As for French Canadians, who think that they are more French than the French to the extent of refusing to put ‘stop’ on their road signs, after 250 years they have no excuse for not speaking English. Indeed, if they were really French they would be doing so, since the French set great store by ‘assimilation’. I am happy to speak French in Paris, but I’m b******d if I’m going to do so in Montreal.

  • I see nothing Francophobic about this story. Indeed, there’s something inhuman about a male legislator who didn’t hoot at a pretty woman while the country was temporarily without sexual harrassment laws.

  • John Nolan, I’d agree that this legislation is, as you put it, ‘gesture politics’. So was
    the absurd recent official ban on the use of ‘mademoiselle’. I share your distrust of
    those who would decide for us all what is suddenly no longer acceptable.

    However, I cannot be as nonchalant about this business as Pinky. Imagine for a moment
    that Madame Duflot was your wife, your sister or your daughter. Would you still have a
    soft spot for those swine in the Assembly?

  • Clinton, although Parisians have a reputation in France for rudeness, the French as a race, and this includes those who inhabit the metropolis, are noticeably more polite and courteous than either the Brits or the Americans (unless they are behind the wheel of a car). It is not uncommon to see women dining alone in Paris restaurants and they are always treated with the utmost respect.

  • why so tough on the Quebecois John. what sainted heritage are you?

  • Cecile Duflot has a right to courtesy. As a citizen, Cecile Duflot has a right to courtesy. As an elected offcial, Cecile Duflot’s constituency has a right to courtesy. No, My halo is not on to tight.

  • It is not uncommon to see women dining alone in Paris restaurants and they are always treated with the utmost respect.

    Um… how is this something to brag about? I’ve eaten, alone, at everything from truck stops, bars and Denny’s to mid-level nice restaurants and very nice little coffee cafes. The only time I was treated with less than respect was when the local socialist club (seriously) was having their meeting at a table in the local bar-and-eatery, and at that time I was with two small children.

    About the only thing I do is avoid places where even I notice it’s not safe to walk around. The idea that “I can eat alone without being harassed” is brag-worthy speaks volumes.

  • Women in the political arena are routinely treated on a different level than male counterparts unless they are politically correct of course. I have seen it on all levels of government in the US. I have seen mothers addressing school board members who sat in their chairs above them and actively made faces at them as they spoke, showing clear disdain for these mothers. They would never have done that to a man from the community. They feel they can get away with it with women. The typical feminist who is politically correct often fits right in with the men though, and while they seem to have respect as colleagues I think they are being used and don’t realize it. They enjoy the acceptance in the political arena and often take as a sign that they are performing well but I think it is more that they are part of a view point that does not seek equality of women but rather to make women into the image of their male counterparts. They too will make fun of and downgrade more conservative women.

  • If her male counterparts, who have constituencies, degrade Cecile Duflot, what does this say about their constituencies. Time to get some DECENT people.

  • Quite frankly I don’t give a damn about whether French deputies heckle a Socialist minister regarding her dress sense. The French treat all their elected representatives with a healthy contempt which ‘les Anglo-Saxons’ would do well to emulate. The term ‘sexist’ was coined circa 1968 by the Daily Telegraph (the leading British conservative newspaper) as a joke. American feminists, not noted for their sense of humour – “How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? One! What’s funny about that!” – took it up and now it is simply a term of abuse, akin to ‘racist’ which means whatever the person using it wants it to mean.

    I have long suspected that they put female sex hormones in beer. After ten pints you talk bollocks and can’t drive.

  • @ anzlyne

    Sainted heritage – Catholic, European, English, Irish. In that order.

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