Friday, May 30, 2008

Strictement Interdit!

Many things in France are against the law. Smoking in public places for one. And while the French legislature and parliament love making new laws, the French people largely ignore them. Which is why Michel, our café proprieter always has a 'clop' hanging out of his mouth.

L'interdit ? C'est une pièce fermée à clef avec tout ce que je désire à l’intérieur.
Richard Hawley, chanteur

- Qu'est-ce que l'interdit ?
En gros, ce qui est "interdit" n'est pas consenti. POURQUOI PAS ? Qui dit "interdit" dit "on a interdit". Il y a dans l'histoire un être humain, ce petit con aux motivations souvent puantes d'arrogance, de peur, d'ignorance, de rancœur. Il faut fouiller là où l'on nous dit "interdit". Car, dans l'absolu, tout est permis
Jasmine Bande, chanteuse

According to Charles Bremner there are 9,500 laws in force and parliament passes 70 new ones every year. A further 120,000 decrees have been issued by trhe state ranging from "interdit", through "formellement interdit" to "rigoureusement interdit".

One such law is the ban on using foreign words in advertising or broadcasting without an accompanying French translation. Thus, theoretically a football announcer should not say "A la suite d’un corner, le Cosmos a bénéficié d’un penalty" but rather "A la suite d’un coup de coin, le Cosmos a bénéficié d’un tir de réparation". This one is known as La Loi Toubon. It is largely ignored in everday use because it is so impractical, and impossible to police. A list of troublesome words (bulldozer, computer, disk-jockey, design) and their improbable replacements is discussed here.

Some of the French laws seem very odd to Anglo Saxons. The dates of shop sales being fixed by the Prefecture for example. The interdiction of selling products at less than cost price. It is illegal to cut any children out of your will.

But more bizarre still, is the things that are NOT illegal in France. Like incest. Apparantly incest was dropped from the Penal Code by Napoleon 200 years ago.

Anyone know of other crazy French legalisms?

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At 6:33 pm, Blogger aims said...

Sorry - nope - and I missed half of what you said because I don't understand a lot of french. Use to - but that was back - oh um....let's just say - a long time ago....


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