Your RDA of Irony

Magnifique Timing

The French are connoisseurs of scandal. How would Americans react to topless photos of Laura Bush? Mais les Francaises give an appreciative smile to the display of their First Lady and note that it is a French tradition. The Louvre has a gallery’s worth of bare-chested French queens. There is even a porcelain bust of Marie Antoinette’s bust; the guillotine was merely her second venture into the topless.

Nevertheless, the executives of Lancome Cosmetics could have wished a more discreet time to introduce their new perfume “Magnifique.” According to the hyperventilating advertisement:

“It’s the fragrance that celebrates her vibrant feminity, her joie de vivre. Infused with the spicy impertinence of saffron, the warmth of roses and smoky embrace of nagarmota wood. Audacious. Passionate. Utterly Magnifique.”

On second thought, Lancome should have named the perfume “L’Embezzelle.” That is the scent emanating actress Anne Hathaway, Lancome’s symbol of its new product, and the girlfriend of convicted embezzler Raffaello Follieri.

Follieri claimed to be the chief financial officer of the Vatican, coaxing millions from the easily impressed. Perhaps he was offering time-shares for the Sistine Chapel. The self-proclaimed financier collected millions as well as the affection of the Hollywood starlet. She moved into his $37,000 a month New York apartment. Unfortunately for his investors, he was not robbing St. Peter to pay Paul. Follieri has admitted to 14 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money-laundering. He faces a prison sentence of 4 to 5 years; it is unlikely that Ms. Hathaway will volunteer to share his cell.

The actress has suffered the indignity of this bad publicity, but she denies any knowledge of Follieri’s chicanery. In law, this is referred to as the “stupid slut defense”. Ms. Hathaway is reported to be cooperating with the FBI–does she have a choice–and has turned over all of the jewelry that Mr. Follieri gave her. And, yes, she has also broken up with him.

Nonetheless, I feel that Lancome might have created a more appropriate ad for Ms. Hathaway:

“It celebrates your infinite gullibility and your irrepressible vacuity. The tropic allure of an off-shore bank, the oaken splendor of a juryroom, and the tantalizing bouquet of a plea bargain. It is all your senses but common. Shamelessly yours! L’Embezzelle!”

  1. Judy says:


  2. I predict that this Hathaway & Follieri story will be the basis of an episode on “Law and Order.” Of course, the show will have to add a murder to the plot. But he will kill her or will she kill him?

  3. And this story does tie in with yesterday’s discourse on the Renaissance Papacy. What if Follieri had been selling indulgences?

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