Thursday, 16 February 2012

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapter 27

The Minster is proud of having got the Pope interested in the Macands. His Public Relations service will "leak," the information to magazines about the role he will have played in securing this interview.

The young journalist at France 2 is suspended and the case will be subject to a temporary injunction.

The Josserand's lawyer demands 230,000 Euros in damages and compensation and Laurence considers that they could thank her because, without doing anything, they are going to get lots of money, thanks to her.

Then the internet site of an investigative journal publishes an article accompanied by a secret recording:


When the Macand parents pull the media's strings.

Then Laurence's voice is heard, indistinct because of static. Madec's mother whispers: "between you and me our friends the Josserands, who were interrogated in France, are behind my son's disappearance...He will be dead. The police know who killed my son."

In his office, the Minister is not at all happy:

"-Every time you try to be nice, it backfires on you.

- You made the right decision, Minister.

- Why did that idiot need to talk crap like that for the first camera to arrive?

- We don't know yet. We 're trying to contact her.

- What will Carolis (former president of France television), Interpol and the CSA think of me?

- It has nothing to do with you.

- I remind you that I informed the Pope: it's gone world-wide.

- It might be a fake, sir.

- You know it's not, he let out in exasperation. The services analysed it.

-Yes, but for the rest of the world, it's perhaps still a fake. Nobody authenticated it.

- You're certain about what you're saying? The politician asked after a preoccupied silence.

- I think we need to play that card, Minister."

Petrified, Laurence picked up her phone. It's the Interior Minister's Public Relations service again. She is told that it's known to be a fake, that the Minister will support her "in her fight for the truth." The voice repeats:

"A message, you've only got to give out a message, which is also ours, Madame Macand - that document is a fake."

Confronted for the first time since Madec's death, with the real world, Laurence locks herself in the toilet. Tony reproached her above all for screwing up their good image. Stéphane looked on her as an enemy.

She takes to musing that life is only a game, "the only game, where the objective is to understand the rules."

With thanks, once again, to Frencheuropean for the résumé in French.

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapter 26

Résumé of chapter 26 - from Frencheuropean

The conference, transmitted by journalists of fourteen different nationalities, is a great success. Donations flood in. By midnight, 300,000 in euros has been promised. Tony takes on to decide how the money will be used: prime time slots on TV being expensive, "he opts for an announcement in the regional and national dailies and a poster on street hoardings." He will also contact graphic artists and advertising agencies.

As planned, Sylviane lodges a complaint against France Television. She calls Laurence to ask her what she should do with the boys as she no longer wishes to take responsibility for them, given the circumstances. In a rather frosty tone of voice, after having consulted how much money was available, Laurence informs her that a local teacher will come and fetch them. The conversation is over, "Madec's mother reckoned that she had never liked Sylviane. That at the first setback, that fat cow had become a stranger to her. Was it possible to be friends with someone who was physically ugly?"

The Minister, for his part, is indignant at the error committed by the journalists. He picks up his phone and two hours later, Antenne 2 receives a notice of reprimand from the CSA for its untruthful reporting.
(CSA = Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel, the president of which is appointed by the government, but which is independent.)

On returning home, he meets with fierce anger from his wife, who reproaches him for his intrusive activities, telling him that because he can "get the CSA to issue a notice of disapproval," he gets to feel manly and powerful.

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapter 25


Résumé of chapter 25 with thanks to Frencheuropean, as usual!

In spite of the reticence of the Macands, who find it inappropriate, Tony insists on organising a buffet for the journalists at the conference. On principle, Laurence has obtained an assurance that there will be no lump fish roe because the guests might think it was caviar.

Tony insists that if they are well fed, they'll write longer articles.

Although surprised, the journalists set upon the food and the champagne. "Everybody gets down to guzzling and they fight over the leftovers. There are injuries." Outraged by this behaviour, Stéphane smashes the glass of a journalist who is demanding a fourth glass of champagne. Laurence drags him into another room and puts him sharply in his place, being sarcastic about her husband's usual lack of restraint. He apologises.