Monday, July 13, 2009

Bastille Day

It's Bastille Day today, Company, and doesn't mean anything unless you live in France, which I don't. It celebrates the day in 1789, when, inspired a little bit by the American Revolution but mostly by the fact that they were hungry and pissed at their King and Queen, the French stormed the Bastille Prison in Paris (because nothing other than the Tour de France and the invasion of Normandy happens anywhere else in France, I don't know if you knew that) which was the symbolic start of modern France.
Now, this is all well and good. And I understand Bastille Day. For the French it is their equivalent of our Independence Day. Just like we call our Independence Day the Fourth of July they often call Bastille Day le quatorze juillet which literally translated means "The Fourteenth of July." How original.
The whole story behind Bastille Day though, I am not so sure about. I guess that I am not sure how storming a prison really helps anything, you know? Here's a math problem for everyone: Exactly how shitty does your country have to be in order to make one want to storm their way INTO shitty eighteenth century prison? Seriously. You can tell me all you want about political prisoners and people locked up wrongly by the crown, it still seems backward to me. I would have more expected the inmates to be breaking out of the asylum.
Whatever they did on that fateful day back in 1789, it worked. It led to a huge upheaval in French government (one of many, I know) and society and led to the France that we have today. And it gives a good reason for all of us to celebrate on July 14th, whether we are French or not. Listen, I like wine, I like cheese, and I like bread: three things that all French people love and three things that I am willing to indulge in. I might even put on my beret. How do you feel about that?

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