Monday, February 28, 2005

French elites

If you don't mind 1800 words of French, check out this stunning portrait of Clara and Hervé Gaymard. Hervé is the austerity-preaching former French Finance minister who has just resigned as it came to light that the French government was paying not just $18,000 a month for the couple's central Paris apartment, but tens of thousands more for "renovations."

The article is a fascinating study in how the French elite operates and replicates itself. Clara, the daughter of a famous right-wing doctor and intimate family friend of the Chiracs. Hervé, the boy from the provinces who comes to the big city and scores with the privileged bourgeoise, who bears him 8 children in 13 years while pursuing her own high-powered career. And of course they are both "enarques." A French version of the Clintons, you might say -- though both the similarities and differences between them and the Clintons speaking volumes to the differences between the political cultures of the two countries.

It would take a Stendahl to do their biography justice.

No comments: