Franco-American Conversations: That Lady is Totally American!
We went out to lunch the other day to an excellent brasserie in Autun (Burgundy), which I’ll try to write about some time later this week, hopefully. The restaurant was pretty packed and for some reason, “the suits” were sitting on one side of the restaurant, everyone else scrunched over on the other side. Anyway, my adorable and funny sweetie suddenly bursts out, “That lady is TOTALLY American!!” (talking about a woman just exiting the restroom across the restaurant)
Me: “Why? How do you know?”
Him: “Because she has a kleenex over the doorknob because she doesn’t want to touch it directly……you know, like you.”
Me: “That doesn’t mean she’s American. That means she’s psychotically germophobic …like me. Hey, don’t generalize. Wait! They always do tests on doorknobs and they find POO on them! You don’t want to touch that in a restaurant, do you, then eat dinner?”
Him: “Ok, yeah, but you even wrote about American Germophobia, remember? Anyway, it’s an American thing. You can’t convince me otherwise.”
Me: “Oh yeah. I did write about that. Nevermind that, though.”
Me: “Omg. I just heard them talking and yes, that lady IS American.”
Louis Vuitton is Suing a Darfur Fundraiser
Not being a fan of the overrated Louis Vuitton line of luxury handbags and luggage (and in general), this is another reason for me to take my dislike up a notch.
Louis Vuitton is suing a design student (Nadia Plesner) working with a Darfur fundraiser because their recent campaign called, “Simple Living” shows a refugee with a little chihuahua and expensive LV-ish handbag. Sound or Look familiar? As most of us sadly know, this combination of images only leads to one person: Paris Hilton. The raison d’etre of this design illustrates that people like Hilton get all of the media attention (and why?!), while much more attention-worthy important causes are being ignored.
All of the proceeds of the t-shirts and posters of this campaign are going to charity.
Buy a t-shirt now and support Nadia and Save Darfur
French Luxury Tableware Design Turns to Sex Toys for Inspiration
Leave it to outside-the-box thinking* French designer, Philippe Di Méo, to design tableware inspired by sex toys. The collection of erotic tableware called, Souper Fin (which is a play on words of “fine dining” and “super fine”), was designed in collaboration with renowned luxury companies Baccarat, Goyard, Cristofle and Orfèvrerie d’Anjou among others.
Souper Fin will be exhibited at L’Eclaireur (Paris) in July. Each item will be complemented with a specially created chef’s dish and recipe. (I guess so you know how to use some of the utensils!)
* Philippe Di Méo once designed perfumes based on sweat, tears and saliva.
China Hates France
More Chinese haters of France. In this case, it’s a taxi driver that is refusing Frenchmen and dogs. What about French women? French children? Are they turning away French poodles? Bichon Frisés? The noyve.
I don’t think France cares too much if she’s hated but don’t you wonder why China is picking on France specifically – when there have been boycotts all along the world path of the Olympic torch? What about England? What about the U.S.? Japan? They tried to trample the Olympic torch, too.
And, and, and, what did dogs do to deserve that? Can’t we all just get along?
France Puts Spying on French Residents On Hold – For the Moment
“The French government will “suspend” the use of new software for recording the personal habits and affiliations of its citizens in a police database, following an outcry by civil rights groups.
Interior Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie took the decision Tuesday to suspend trials of the Ardoise software while officials consider how to reconcile privacy rights and operational needs, her spokesman confirmed Thursday.
Ardoise is the front end for a new police central database, Ariane, which is destined to replace those used by France’s two law enforcement groups, the Police and the Gendarmerie.
Still in a test phase, Ardoise and Ariane are intended to help combat crime by encouraging the services to share information, and by allowing them to data-mine the pooled data. The existing Police computer, STIC, and that of the Gendarmerie, Judex, hold information about criminals, suspects, witnesses and victims of crime.
Campaigners say that Ardoise infringes civil liberties by allowing law enforcers to tag a person’s file with annotations including “runaway child,” “handicapped,” “homeless,” “trade unionist,” “alcoholic,” “narcotics user,” “transvestite,” “transgendered,” “homosexual,” “prostitute,” “person who frequents prostitutes,” “psychologically disturbed” or “member of a sect,” simply by picking them from a list.
“Membership of trade union or one’s sexual preferences have no place in a police file in a democracy,” said online rights group Odebi, adding that it is not enough simply to suspend implementation of the database.
The database also holds information about religion, sexual orientation and race, according to the Interior Ministry.
It’s not the first time that a French government has faced protests over the creation of a central database linking government computer systems. The government’s plans to create the System for Administrative Files Automation and the Registration of Individuals (Safari) caused a scandal when they were uncovered in 1974, leading to the creation of the National Data Processing and Liberties Commission (CNIL). Safari also prompted a series of tough data protection laws obliging database owners to register their activities with the CNIL and giving citizens the right to correct data held about them.
The CNIL is among the organizations angered by Ardoise, because the government has not sought the necessary legal approval for combining the data held in the various police databases, its president Alex Türk wrote in an open letter to the Minister of the Interior on April 15. Such processing is supposed to be approved by the CNIL and by a statutory order of the Council of State.
The Ministry replied to that letter saying that the field for storing a person’s sexual orientation, religion or race in Ardoise is only supposed to be completed if it is relevant to an investigation, and that the CNIL has in any case already approved storage of the same kinds of information in the Police database STIC.
Tuesday’s suspension only concerns the test phase for Ardoise “for the simple reason that software can’t enter service until the CNIL has given its opinion and Council of State has examined the statutory order concerning the new system,” the Alliot-Marie’s spokesman Gerard Gachet wrote in an e-mail Thursday.
After the CNIL’s April 15 letter, Alliance Police Nationale, a trade union for police officers, called for the test version to be amended in accordance with CNIL’s recommendations so that its use could not lead to discrimination.
Another police union, Synergie-Officiers, said the software had been created too hastily, without consideration of operational needs or officers’ opinions.
But Synergie-Officiers supported storage of information about the race and religion of suspects and victims. In France some violent crimes attract tougher sentences if motivated by racial or religious hatred, and the union warned that if campaign groups want such hate crimes pursued more vigorously, then police need a way to identify the relevant information about attackers and victims during investigations.”