Why is this news?

So, this is what passes for international news these days?

Oops: ex-minister Rachida Dati confuses oral sex for inflation

France’s glamorous former justice minister Rachida Dati confused oral sex with rising prices as she launched an attack on foreign investment funds.

“When I see some of them (funds) looking for returns of 20 or 25 percent, at a time when fellatio is almost non-existent…,” she said during an interview on Europe 1 radio on Sunday.

In French the word is “fellation,” which shares some syllables with inflation, which in French is the same as in English.

That’s right – a former minister has accidentally used the wrong word. Clearly she did not actually confuse oral sex with inflation.

And people think the news is being dumbed down? Shame on them.

Dati was dropped from the French government last year after her penchant for designer dresses and appearing on the covers of celebrity magazines prompted criticism that a senior minister should not engage in such frivolity.

Actually, that is not true. The reason she lost her ministry is a lot more complicated than that. She was the first person of north African origin to be a French politician; Sarkozy’s inexperienced protegee who wasn’t allowed to fail. Gee, that’ll work.

11 responses to “Why is this news?

  1. Rachida Dati seems to cop it for three reasons – firstly because she is a woman, secondly because she is an exceptionally beautiful woman and thirdly because she is a highly intelligent woman. In other words, this is school yard bully boy tactics which the press use to dilute the effectiveness of a woman’s words. A bit like some snotty kid sitting behind you at school when you put your hand to answer a question that they can’t muttering ‘you smell nyanyahnyana’

  2. I think you can add a fourth to your list Law and Shoes. That perhaps she also cops it because she is an “other”. An immigrant child.
    She is by Sarkozy’s own words a ‘symbol’ of something new. New is scary.

    And of course there’s no name attached to the SMH article…which is just horrid. It shows that if you’re beautiful, intelligent and in possession of a vagina then it’s only a matter of time before you fail or out yourself as a Sarah Palin clone. Which is just outright insulting. And I wonder if would have made news at all if a man had said it?

    • There’s no byline on the story because it’s from AFP. That’s fairly standard practice from wire services.

      This gets into the glass cliff stuff – women only being put in positions of power where they are going to fail (eg, Kristina Keneally, who can’t possibly single-handedly save stinky NSW Labor), and the failure is then used to justify not putting a woman there again. I wonder how long it will be until another “other” is given a role in the French Government?

      Also, if you click that link to The Independent, it says:

      President Sarkozy calls her a “symbol” of his attempts to break down racial and social and gender barriers in France. As a symbol, he has told her several times, she has “no right to fail”

      How can anyone carry that weight on top of the demands of being justice minister?

  3. The magazine comment is interesting. What is the difference between her on the cover of a celeb magazine (whatever that is) and Gillard (looking airbrushed and wind swept oddly enough) on the cover of New Idea or Abbott on the cover of the Monthly in cycling shorts or Rudd being asked who he would turn gay for on Rove. No diff that I can see.

  4. I didn’t mean the no byline bit was horrid, I meant the story itself was horrid.
    The whole article was a little on the scathing side and trivialised Dati to being merely a pretty face more obsessed with fashion than with her actual job. Which is of course sensationalism in an attempt to make a story out of nothing. (The amused contempt made me wonder who the journalist responsible was.)

    Yes, I read the Independent story which in itself seems to swing between subtly mocking Dati and defending her. I’m not sure you can call her a failure though. Whilst she may have made mistakes, how many male politicians have been forgiven far worse transgressions and not been deemed a failure?

    No ones seems to be able to fully dispute her work ethic and intelligence (though the SMH article attempts to) unlike say Palin. (I love Palin, she is a true advocate for the whole “If you can’t dazzle them brilliance, baffle them with bullshit” school of thought.)

    You’re right, Dati had far too much burden placed upon her. Burden that she wouldn’t have had to carry had she been a man, and/or not born to immigrants. I prefer to see the fact that she rose to such heights as a success. And that even though she was fired, she is still in parliament . That’s not failure, that’s a set back. (Well, in my little world it is, what? it’s so much nicer in here….the real world can bite me.)

    The reality is she had the audacity to be beautiful and smart. And that’s simply not allowed.

      • Thanks for the link.

        Interesting. I call our esteemed PM Joolya also. Hadn’t thought of it as undermining her power. for me it’s more a cringe factor at her accent. I cringe when men exercise their over ocker accents too. I can’t watch Tony speak. The man has crazy eyes and the goofiest/creepiest facial expressions known to mankind. I like and loathe them both equally, (as much as one can like and loathe a politician. )

        But it does come down to one question doesn’t it. Why do we hold our female MPs to higher standards and levels of scrutiny(both personal and policy related) than we do for their male counterparts?

        • I don’t think we hold them to higher standards, but we certainly scrutinise them more. Because if you constantly comment on a female MP’s appearance (ie, Gillard’s earlobes, FFS), there’s little room for discussion about what she says. It takes away her power.

          • I have to say I have consistently admired Gillard’s ability to not let those petty sexist comments get the better of her or even become the issue or agenda – she just lets them wash over her and ignores them. I like that about her.

          • Maybe not higher standards but society as a whole seems to demand more from our female MPs. We expect more and we expect them to prove themselves. And if they do a good job we masculinise them. Because obviously, they can’t be real women if they are successful in a mans domain. (Gillard’s choice to be childless will be bandied about sooner or later. But that’s a whole other bug up my arse)

            I think the ‘story’ in the Oz about her not carrying a handbag was the start of that masculinisation and that story bugged me a lot more than the ear lobe thing. I find that hilarious. I mean c’mon, is that the best they can do? We’ll just ignore the raging wingnuts on Abbott and draw attention to Gillard having excessive earlobes.

            I don’t particularly like Gillard. (She’s a very different person when the cameras aren’t around and I’m still looking for my education revolution…I’m sure it’s here somewhere…) But I sure as shit admire her moxy and the dignity with which she ignores the attempts to undermine her by critiquing her appearance. And you’ve just gotta admire a woman who can wear a white suit. 😉 She’s got staying power. If given a real chance she may just be a pretty darn good PM. And maybe she won’t. But at the end of the day I do fear that what she will be remembered for when all is said and done is she was that bogan ranga PM with the bloody big ear lobes and a huge pair of brass balls. Which says a lot more about Australia than it does about Gillard.

            (Please excuse the length once again. I think I put the Ranty Pants on. Or could just be I am starved of adult conversation of late and feel a need to gratify this deficit on your blog. My apologies. I promise to reign it in!)

            • “she was that bogan ranga PM with the bloody big ear lobes and a huge pair of brass balls. Which says a lot more about Australia than it does about Gillard.”

              That line is TOPS!

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