Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bastille Day! Huzzah!

I want one of those hats


Today (or possibly tomorrow, depending which side of the International Date Line you’re on) is Bastille Day; the rockinist day of the French Revolution when a Parisian mob stormed the ancient fort of the Bastille in Paris and liberated four forgers, two "lunatics" and one "deviant" aristocrat.

This was the pivotal point of one of the most important political developments in modern political history, with the Revolution giving birth to the terms “left wing”, “right wing” “reign of terror”, the use of the red flag to symbolize popular revolt and the era of mass politics.

It also gave birth to the popular revolutionary toast “here’s to the day when the last king is strangled with the guts of the last priest’.*

The vast choral works composed for the Revolution are also thought to have influenced Beethoven, especially the final movement of “the glorious Ninth”.

My French history lecturer at Uni attributed the early victories of the Revolutionary Armies to the fact that their opponents were used to professional soldiers who – as it were – fought by the rules and the sight of several thousand ragged lunatics running at them screaming “death or liberty” caused them to run away.

Very fast**.

It’s also recorded that when Chinese Premier Zhou En-lai was asked what he thought of the Revolution, he responded “it’s too early to say”.

You’d be tempted to add “fuck Zhou, what the fuck does that mean? Jesus comrade, lift your game or you’ll be brutally purged”***.

*Possibly not a moderate.
** Although he may have actually said "caused them to shit themselves".
***But you wouldn’t.

42 comments:

Fad MD said...

In another example of the website invading people's consciousness, I thought of you the other day Ramon.

I had been to our local dodgy DVD lady to stock up before we head home and bought a Bob the Builder DVD for which the cover had evidently been vetted by the Chinese Ministry of Propaganda.

In the comments on the back of the cover there was lots of talk of equitable division of labour and Bob and Wendy's collective. Sadly nothing about vicious purges of scarecrows.

Unfortunately I had to return it as the disk was scratched.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

The Boy was a big fan of Bob, Wari.

I talked up the values of collective action

"Working together, we get the job done".

I never mentioned that scab, Spud the scarecrow.

Perseus said...

My entire knowledge of the French Revolution comes from 'Les Miserables' and 'Tale Of Two Cities'. Both glorified the guillotine, and both went to great lenghths discussing the brilliant use of civillian barricades made from furniture and whatever other junk they could find laying about. This was apparently innovative.

Neither book mentioned anything about the French saying, "Ooh la la," but I like to add that in to my historical imaginings.

Boogeyman said...

Ramon, you should have mentioned to your boy that Bob was an independant contractor, so he would have rejected collective bargaining, and as a small business owner, was probably rooting for Work Choices so he could fire Wendy when she took a day off to care for sick Pilchard.

Perseus - my extensive knowledge insight into the French Revolution is based entirely on the movie version of The Scarlet Pimpernal starring Tony Curtis.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Perseus, 'Les Miserables' was about the revolution of 1830.

You n00b.

Ophelia said...

Ramon, I also thought of you as soon as I saw this story:

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25777380-13762,00.html

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Thank you Ophelia.

For this I will forgive you your deeply sinister atavar.

squib said...

I'm about 100 pages into 'The Count of Monte Cristo' at the moment. It's very cool

But it has made me realise I know next to nothing about French history

I hate Bob the Builder

kitten said...

Don't forget poor Marie Antoinette - married at 14, executed at 37. All through an accident of birth.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Marie Antoinette was a goose, whose influence on Louis was completely disasterous.

The Revolution also inspired the BEST NATIONAL ANTHEM IN THE WORLD.

Joseph Q said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Boogeyman said...

Don't forget poor Marie Antoinette - married at 14, executed at 37. All through an accident of birth.

23 years of happy marriage with all the luxuries of privilege, and executed before her dotage. She sure got lucky.


Marie Antoinette was a goose

Ramon, you've been watching too many Disney movies. Marie Antoinette was no more of a goose than Robin Hood was a fox, or Little John a wise-cracking black duck.

Fad MD said...

The Revolution also inspired the BEST NATIONAL ANTHEM IN THE WORLD.

I agree and for this I shall excuse you calling me Wari.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Sorry, Fad.

Cath said...

Perseus, 'Les Miserables' was about the revolution of 1830.


There was more than one revolution Ramon? Crap. I was with Pers on this one, my knowledge all came from Les Mis, and let's not forget "The History of the World" and Madame de Farge.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

There were revolutions in 1789, 1830, 1844, 1848, 1870 and more riots, strikes, putches, coups, revolts and general biffo than you could shake a stick at across the 19th and 20th centuries.

This is the French we're talking about, Cath.

squib said...

This is the French we're talking about, Cath.

...as in 'give us our redundancy payment or we blow the factory up'

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Quite.

eat my shorts said...

I want one of those hats

The drummer's hot.

Don't look at me like that.

As if you all weren't thinking the exact same thing.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

You have a thing for French Revolutionaries, EMS?

eat my shorts said...

Not as a hard and fast rule, but I can appreciate a nice, stocking-clad calf muscle when I see it.

Mr E Discharge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr E Discharge said...

The drummer's hot.

Why do the women always go for the drummer?

Is it because of the drummers percieved athleticism or just because
they have friends who are actual musicians?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Why do the women always go for the drummer?

Maybe that's Pers' problem.

Samantha said...

Coordination and a sense of rhythm is no bad thing in a man

eat my shorts said...

I wasn't aware women always went for the drummer. Do we? Really?

WitchOne said...

I married a drummer, the sex was ok but the rest was going nowhere fast.

Conclusion -

Drummers are short term playthings, they're good at it and should never aspire to be more.

wari lasi said...

Off topic warning.

Today's First Dog on the Moon is reauired reading for all Masterchef fans.

wari lasi said...

You know what I mean, I missed the q

wari lasi said...

Witchie, I'm guessing you're not still with said drummer.

WitchOne said...

He was a practice marriage, no kids, no assets, no regrets.

Every girl should have one.

Boogeyman said...

So WitchOne I suppose your current husband dreads to hear the words "I'm getting the band back together".

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I had a practice marriage too.

It was also with a drummer.

wari lasi said...

You can't leave it at that Ramon. Cough up the details.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

The only thing I'll add Wari, is that chick drummers are hot!

wari lasi said...

They always look a bit butch to me. But I'm no muso.

Mr E Discharge said...

The fact that a bunch of musicians got together with a bunch of engineers and spent a lot of time and money to produce the first "Drum Machine" speaks volumes about the high regard drummers enjoy amongst their peers.

Perseus said...

Ramon, were you married to the drummer in X? Cos she was hot.

*

In our band, the chicks go for the violinist. Go figure.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Not that I recall Pers, but my memories of that period are a bit hazy.

eat my shorts said...

In our band, the chicks go for the violinist. Go figure.

Perhaps the perception is that he has all the fingering skills of a guitarist because they're kinda similar instruments, but maybe they assume a dude who plays the violin is a bit more sensitive? (I'm not saying that's necessarily true, I'm just hazarding a guess.)

Perseus said...

EMS: I think it's because he's the best looking.

eat my shorts said...

Oh.

Well. Yes, that'd do it.