Monday, March 27, 2006

Rhino75's rant

Now as you know, dear reader, it's not like rhino75 to get political - lord knows, there's more than enough of that going down at *showbiz* HQ every day, in more ways than one, without it spilling over into this blog. Still, I feel it would be remiss of me not to fill you in on recent events. (Deep breath). Here goes. With unemployment among young French people running at twice the national average, the government wants to introduce a new scheme whereby people under 26 would be hired for an initial two-year period, during which they can be terminated (with statutory notice) at any time. Once the two-year probation is up, the contract reverts to a standard one. Now compare this with the current situation, where it's virtually impossible to get a job on a permanent contract. It's so difficult to fire people in France that employers are wary of taking anyone on full-time, preferring to use a system of short-term contracts or, worse, "internships" whereby the "intern" does a full-time job, with all the responsibility that entails, for "intern" money (i.e. tuppence and a metro ticket). So the new deal looks like it could be an improvement, doesn't it? But try convincing the French of that. Every young Brit or American I've come across thinks the new scheme is worth a try. Nearly every young French person, and certainly every French journalist, seems to regard it as a blatant attack on human rights. The words "slavery" and "19th century work practices" (c'mon!) are being bandied around, seemingly oblivious to the fact that, with an economy that's only just scraping by, things aren't going to get any better by themselves. However, rather than come up with any reasonable alternative, the French have decided to take their usual course of action and hold a protest march. Because no-one loves a demo, or "manif'" quite as much as the French. There's at least one a week in central Paris, trooping along past the windows of *showbiz* HQ. They all sound the same, so unless you read the banners you're never quite sure what it's about, and they achieve very little (apart from blocking the traffic), but that's not the point. It's all about ideas, principles, codes and rights and nothing to do with change, innovation, or efficiency. A survey last year showed that most young French people's dream job was still to work for the civil service. And that their favorite color is grey - ok, ok, I made that bit up. But I just don't get it, I don't understand why the young people of this country in particular are so conservative. There's a tremendous pool of talent here, the standard of general education is very high and France is home to some of the world's leading companies. That's why it's such a shame to think that tomorrow, the country will be on strike and the young people will be taking to the streets and for what? To maintain the status quo.
P.S. for Parisians who know me: Ooooh, did you see Katrin on Mots Croisés (France 2) talking on this very subject? Fabius is answering her points as I write. Trop fort!!

14 comments:

Rob7534 said...

Everybody is protesting lately!

I should put on my hippy-garb,and join! Protestors are hot!

rhino75 said...

;) And riot police are even hotter (I do LOVE a man in uniform)!!

Babsbitchin said...

I love a man in uniform too, there's nothing like it. Hopefully it's not a GRAY uniform.Sounds to me as though some change is better than no change but... are they afraid to take any drastic measures to make change? Having somone who is hired for a job always wondering at the end of their servitude to the job, will they be let go? That has to be a disconcerting feeling.Seems no easy answer?xoxo and pinch the frog for me!

Reluctant Nomad said...

Your rant and some of your observations has reminded me of an article I read recently. I'd be interested to hear what you and your Parisian friends think of it:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,171-2094941,00.html

rhino75 said...

That Times article made me laugh, but I think there's a lot of truth to it (particularly the part about Paris being a bourgeois city). To be fair, I think we only have ourselves to blame. It is after all the Americans and the Brits who've put France and the French on a pedestal as the epitome of style and chic. They just go along with it, thinking we don't know any better. The only area in which they DO claim to be superior (with some justification) is in the kitchen. French cooking, at its best, is wonderful and people still take a great delight in talking food and wine. But sadly, I think even that is now dying out among the younger generation, who've travelled more and found that food in the rest of the world really isn't that bad either.

Reluctant Nomad said...

You know about Delia Smith's cookery book in French, I assume?

rhino75 said...

Of course, and you can also buy Jamie Oliver in French - but that was more of a story in England (for the "and finally..." section at the end of the news) than here. French people haven't really heard of them, though the marketing folk have stepped up to the plate and are now trying to come up with homegrown trendy celebrity TV cooks, notably Cyril Lignac (a Gallic Jamie Oliver, he even has a restaurant called "15") and Julie Andrieu who uses convenience food to cook French classics. So it's a trend that IS developing here but there's still a long way to go before we catch up with the U.K., U.S. and Oz.

8:13 AM
Delete

Reluctant Nomad said...

You've just burst a little bubble of mine!

I seemed to recall that when Delia brought out the French version of her 'How to cook' series, it became a best-seller in France. Apparently, French women were no longer learning to cook the traditional way (ie from their mothers) and most French cookery books are aimed at the 'fancier' side of cooking, thereby making her series a sort of first in France, a first that made loads of dosh.

I've tried to google the story and the closest I can get to that story is the marketing hype that accompanied the publication in 2002 but no evidence to support the story. It appears that I was wrong.

It made a good story, though. Even if not factual! :-)

rhino75 said...

Yeah, I remember it too and that was the spin (I think I read it on the BBC website at the time). But no. She's not even on Cuisine TV, (the French equivalent of the Food Network), whereas Jamie is.

Frog with a Blog said...

So if I summarize, we're not even good anymore at the thing we seemed to be only good for!
Who the fuck is Delia something?

rhino75 said...

No no Micke, if I may quote myself "French cooking, at its best, is wonderful". And I include your cooking in that (though I know you owe a debt to Jamie Oliver ;)) There's no denying it.

rhino75 said...

And this is Delia, Britain's "best-selling cookery writer".

Reluctant Nomad said...

Micke, there is one thing you are good at and that is getting your back up!! :-)

Babsbitchin said...

Speaking from an American viewpoint is the one and only...Sous Chef Babs Moore.
I love french cooking, style, presentation and the eclectic mix and spin they put on every dish. Caviar on this caviar on the truffle, caviar in this cavity.Anyone can braise a rack of lamb or whatever and present it but the french just do it better, not to fluff you or anything.You guys are the ones that put things together, that we may not see together, call it cuisine and we call it art.Then we copy it and say, well the french do it this way so it's acceptable. You are a benchmark. And I was under an Exec.Chef, who worshipped french cuisine but was very bold, why, because he studied under frenchmen.See the links on my sidebar for The Cafe', the last place I worked before I went on my extended sabbatical. He is Haute',hot, hot!! BTW, I never thought of Paris as bourgeois, on the contrary. But you are there, I am not. Sorry for dominating the conversation at this small party. Let's eat!