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French weekly magazines review 22 October 2017

__ DR

The terrible truth about sugar, a supplement on sexual practices around the world, and an awful lot about Harvey Weinstein are the most eyecatching items in the French magazines this week.


Le Point has decided to reveal the terrible truth about sugar, once the driving force of western European trade, of slavery, the cause of war, dental decay and environmental disaster, now killing us softly because we eat too much of the stuff.

Sugar is gradually taking over from fat as public enemy number one, despite the best efforts of the advertisers and industrialists who depend for their profits on our belief that the white powder is pure, natural and basically harmless. N

othing in Le Point's revelations will surprise you greatly but it may make you look differently at your next sweet treat.

What do the Wodaabe do?

The same Le Point, perhaps motivated by the deluge of accusations directed at Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood, offers a whole supplement on sexual practices around the world, from the island of Inish Oirr off the Atlantic coast of Ireland, apparently the most sexually repressed place in the world, to the Wodaabe of Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon, a clearly civilised people who organise beauty contests for the men, with women judges.

If the facts presented about the Wodaabe are as accurate as those about Inish Oirr, the whole supplement isn't worth the paper it's printed on. But the basic intention is commercially solid: sex sells.

The Weinstein sex saga unwinds

Which goes some way to explaining why there's so much about Harvey Weinstein in this week's magazines.

Marianne says Hollywood's women are finally fighting back ...

Le Nouvel Observateur wants to spread the fight from Hollywood to an entire society of predation and harrassment . . .

L'Express notes that Ronan Farrow, the American journalist who opened the floodgates by revealing in the New York Times the extent and maliciousness of Weinstein's sexual odyssey, has a certain family interest in the subject.

Keeping it in the family

Ronan is the son of Mia Farrow and, possibly, of Woody Allen.

I say possibly because Mia let slip in 2013 that Ronan's biological father was, in fact, Frank Sinatra.

Ronan is thus the half-brother of Soon-Yi Previn, Woody's wife, who used to be Mia Farrow's daughter, if you follow me. Ronan would thus be his sister's nephew if his father was his father. And he's no fan of the neurotic New York filmmaker: he continues to accuse Woody of having abused his other sister, Dylan, when she was seven. Neither is Ronan fond of Hollywood, which he feels rallied round to defend his not-father when the family's dirty linen leaped onto the front pages.

Ronan Farrow is a lawyer, not a journalist, and he has worked for women and children in Sudan's Darfur region, as well as accepting missions to Afghanistan and Pakistan for the Obama administration. Now he's got his teeth into the bad guys of Sunset Boulevard, and we probably haven't heard the last of him.

Why did it take so long to come to the surface?

Several magazines ask why it has taken so long for the Hollywood casting couch mentality to be dragged into the light of public condemnation. Many of the victims were very young, with all the vulnerability associated with starting careers in the Dream Factory. And the deafening silence of all those who knew but said nothing clearly did nothing to help.

This week, we heard one of Weinstein's most successful protégés, the director Quentin Tarantino, say he knew about instances of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein for decades but failed to act. He admitted “I knew enough to do more than I did.”

The case will probably bring down a few more big names, and not just in Hollywood. The Weinstein saga may make bosses more respectful, or at least more wary. And L'Express hopes that the publicity associated with this case might make it easier for ordinary victims of sexual harrassment to go to the police, without fearing further victimisation by those who job it is to protect us.

You have to wonder what the Wodaabe make of the whole affair.

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