You know, I find other cultures fascinating, and do my best to puzzle them out, moving my lips and rubbing my increasingly hairless brow in confusion. It's like a sudoku or something, you know?
Today, let's try with the French.
But it ordered the doll's marketer, publishing house K&B Editions, to add a warning that using the needles which come with the kits "constitutes an attack on the personal dignity of Mr. Sarkozy."
Despite the fact that M. Sarkozy is (1) the President, (2) French, and (3) routinely balls-deep in Carla Bruni, his self-regard is apparently threatened by people jabbing a crude terrycloth representation of him. As a person with self-esteem issues related to biochemical defects, I sympathize. Maybe Sarkozy could try medication. It's really worked wonders for me.
So, the French must care deeply for personal dignity, non?
Well . . . sort of. I mean, unless you are a French journalist, in which case you may find yourself awakened and arrested early in the morning in front of your children, stripped, repeatedly cavity-searched, and dragged before the investigating magistrate, all because you (allegedly) failed to respond to a summons in — not a murder case, not a terrorism case, not even a drug case, but a libel case.
After a stop at the suburban Raincy police station, near his home, Filippis said, he was handcuffed with his arms behind his back and driven to the main Paris courthouse beside the Seine River in the center of the city. After taking all his personal effects, police ordered him to strip and bend over for a body search, he said, before locking him in a cell.
"The room had a table, a roll of toilet paper, a concrete sleeping platform with two blankets," Filippis said. "I saw a toilet in a corner. I sat on the table to avoid the cockroaches and moths."
About 10 a.m., two officers escorted him down a long corridor and ordered him to undress for another search. When he protested, Filippis said, he was told that the investigating magistrate had insisted on following procedure, and so he submitted a second time before being taken into Josie's office.
Josie said she had summoned him numerous times without success, he said, and asked him to identify his attorneys from a list of names. She refused his request to call the lawyers, he added, and so, in a testy exchange, he declined to respond further to her questions. After formally notifying him that he was being investigated in the libel case, she ordered him released, he said, and he found himself on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse.
This is confusing. The French have not, it seems, shown a great deal of regard for M. Filippi's dignity. Where's the court-mandated warning label? Perhaps M. Filippi is made of sterner stuff than M. Sarkozy, and requires less protection. Or perhaps I am cruelly ignoring the dignity of others involved. What about poor Magistrate Muriel Josie, left like a sad wallflower on Friday night to wait for the cruel M. Filippi's response to her friendly summons? And what about the dignity of the officers? Surely nothing bad can be said about the police.
But Agence France-Presse, the country's main news agency, quoted anonymous police officials as saying that Filippis was hauled in because he had not responded to mailed summons and received rough treatment because he talked back to the "irreproachable" officers who had come to his door
There, see? The officers were irreproachable. And Filippis reproached them. He reaped the rubber-gloved whirlwind. So the French DO care for dignity after all!
I may have to start trying the Jumble instead.
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