Welcome to Declassified, a weekly humor column.
You’ve got to hand it to Emmanuel Macron, he’s a master at the diversionary tactic.
Faced with mounting anger from citizens who have been asked to work 14 hours a week (or something), the French president gathered his Cabinet and asked that time-honored question: “Who is prepared to get naked and distract people from the trash-filled, rat-infested, burning tire-fire that is Paris?”
Step forward Marlène Schiappa, the junior social affairs minister, who is appearing on the cover of the Playboy magazine out on April 8. Now, it should be pointed out at this stage that Schiappa is not naked in the magazine (great news for those people who buy Playboy only for the articles) but appears on the cover wearing a low-cut white dress. Inside is a 12-page interview in which she talks about topics such as women’s rights and feminism.
But a lot of people are unhappy, reportedly including Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who called Schiappa to say the interview was “not at all appropriate, all the more so in the current period,” according to Le Parisien.
To add to the distractions, Macron himself gave an interview to children’s magazine Pif Gadget (which coincidentally are two of Boris Johnson’s middle names) in which he told young people that if he had his way, they’d never retire and would work until they dropped dead, and then did an evil laugh like a Bond villain (or something).
Anyway, back to Schiappa who is one of three — three! — members of Macron’s various Cabinets to have written erotic fiction. As well as writing under her own name, Schiappa uses the pseudonym Marie Minelli whose work includes “Good girls don’t swallow” and “Sex, lies and hot suburbs,” the latter of which is probably not about the suburbs being set ablaze by French workers angry at being told to work until they are 64.
Former French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe co-wrote “In the Shadows,” a detective novel with a rather uncomfortable amount of time focused on breasts. And current Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire wrote cheap romance novels under the pseudonym “Duc William” when he was a student. More recently, Le Maire wrote a book called “The Minister” which features the sentence: “I let myself succumb to the heat of the bath, to the light of the lagoon floating on the windowpanes, to the green tea soap and the hand of Pauline, which was gently caressing my sex.”
There have also long been rumors that a 16-year-old Macron penned an erotic novel about his relationship with his teacher, now wife, Brigitte Macron.
If only Team Macron had thought to turn the controversial pension reform plans into a steamy bodice-ripper then everyone would have been too distracted to notice and France would not currently be on fire.
“Welcome home, your majesty.“
Last time we gave you this photo:
Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag — there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze.
“At last! Some transparency in the meeting & greeting department,” by Graeme Clement.
Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.