Eiffel Tower, Bastille Day

Eiffel Tower, Bastille Day

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

O Hai, I missed Bastille Day. Actually, I didn’t so much miss it… I just found I didn’t have anything to say about it. Which, I’ll tell ya, is pretty strange considering Bastille Day reminds me of 1) human liberty, and 2) the Guillotine. It also reminds me of Paris, unquestionably one of the most beautiful cities on the planet and a place whose beauty leaves me dumbstruck any time I think of it. But even the physical beauty of Paris and its million sordid and sublime entertainments can’t stir me from my feeling that my own country’s in a sad decline and there’s no Bastille Day over the horizon; we may skip the Libertie part and just head straight to the random economic guillotinings.

Once upon a time, Dickens-like, I saw the French Revolution as an incident of mankind at its best and worst, standing up for independence, but then disintegrating into self-destruction. Today, any symbolism I might find therein feels eclipsed by current events. How many let them eat cakes have there been about the US economy over the last ten years? Even if Marie had said such a thing, I wouldn’t have blamed her quite so much as I blame my fellow Americans for credit-spending my country into oblivion while fighting a war too many continents away for reasons still ill-articulated.

Call me bitter, accuse me of clinging to my copy of the Constitution, folded up like a recipe for green bean casserole and stuffed into an old copy of How Paris Amuses Itself. I was bitter before it was fashionable, which it doesn’t seem to have yet become and maybe never will, since denial remains the order of the day.

So hope you had a happy Bastille Day, my sad, sad countrypeople. Libertie, egalitie, fraternitie — look it up. This way to the National Razor.

Image from Wikipedia.


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