Just in case you're still looking for that elusive Christmas present, I may have found you just the thing. This week's pub (that's as in publicité - the stuff that drops into our postbox every week regaling us with the best bargain buys) tells me that La Foir'Fouille is selling voodoo dolls, complete with pins. There are dolls to represent your boss, your ex-partner, and ... your mother in law. ("She harasses you on the phone? Regales you constantly with a thousand and one useless bits of information? Criticises your lifestyle, the way you cook, the way you bring up your kids? A great present for anyone who wants to wreak vengeance on their mother in law").
Each voodoo point is labelled with a 'vengeful wish': by judicious pin sticking, you can apparently cause your MIL to lose her voice, fall down the stairs, suffer permanent memory loss or choke on her dinner, amongst other things (none of them pleasant). "Warning" says the blurb for these things, "This is not a toy or game". Hmm. Nice.
Mind you, voodoo dolls are not new here. Last year, a publishing firm started to sell a voodoo doll of Nicolas Sarkozy. He was so - er - needled by the doll that he took the company to court, claiming was that every citizen in France owned the rights to their own image ... and he lost. The court's ruling was that the doll fell within the 'boundaries of freedom of expression and the right to humour'. The irony is that before he took legal action, nobody had heard of the dolls, but the whole affair became big news and sales rocketed.
Now I'm all for freedom of expression, but I'm not sure I'd describe what's going on here as 'humour'. But then France moves in mysterious ways ...
Merry Christmas, belle mère.