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.