France: Monsieur No

President Charles de Gaulle's press conferences take the form of a ritual ballet. The stage is the crystal-chandeliered Salle des F&234;tes in the Elysee Palace, and the corps de ballet is composed of some 700 newsmen crowded rump to rump in flimsy, gilt-painted chairs. The props are TV cameras, lights, a desk placed before a raspberry-red curtain. Enter le grand Charles, moving his head ponderously as he peers through the haze of TV flares and flash bulbs. With a wave of the hand and a clearing of the throat, De Gaulle makes...

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