Thursday, November 15, 2007

Father and daughter find work

Hard times. In France, as elsewhere, the employment situation can be grim. Today, we were reassured to learn that a famous Frenchman and his daughter have both taken on new jobs. But the individuals in question have never really been—as it were—on the breadline.

In virtue of his status as an ex-president of France, Jacques Chirac has become automatically an operational member of a prestigious top-level body called the Constitutional Council, whose role consists—as its name indicates—of making sure that newly-voted laws respect scrupulously the French constitution. Rarely has the Council's verdict been awaited with as much impatience as today, because the wise and august members [including another ex-president: Valéry Giscard d'Estaing] were called upon to examine a novel law of a controversial high-tech nature which enables DNA testing to be used as a possible yardstick for determing whether a particular non-French individual can be considered as an authentic genetic member of such and such an existing French family. Not surprisingly, many French citizens were shocked by the idea that genetic science might encroach upon human questions of that nature. Be that as it may, the Council decreed today that all is well with this new law.

As for Claude Chirac, who used to handle public relations for her father, she has been offered a challenging role in charge of communications for the gigantic group named PPR run by François-Henri Pinault, which includes major French enterprises such as the Fnac, Conforama and La Redoute, along with luxury businesses such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga.

Claude's job would appear to be remote from the preoccupations of her mother, Bernadette Chirac, celebrated for her sponsorship of a French charity operation that consists of collecting small change in the form of pièces jaunes [brass coins]. The Chiracs are a closely-knit family whose ideals were forged in a context that incorporated above all the malady (nervous anorexia) of Claude's elder sister.

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