It was recently July 14, so I said to a guy, "Happy Bastille Day"! He sort of rolled his eyes and churlishly mumbled. "The fuck do I care about Bastille Day? And why the fuck do you? Why should we care in the U.S. about some dumb French holiday?"
All rudeness aside, I decided to explain it to him. I love talking to churlish brick walls. I'm like a perky, blond Sisyphus.
"Well, you see. You should maybe have a little interest in what was going on leading up to Bastille Day. Let me give you the very broad strokes.
Back in France at the time, they were having a lot of natural disasters. Whole towns had been wiped out by storms. Many people had lost their homes. Crops had been decimated. That meant there was very little in the way of food. And bread prices went through the roof. People were homeless and starving...
Anything? Any lightbulbs overhead? No?
Meanwhile, France's national debt was atrocious. France had been overseas fighting in the American Revolutionary War. It had been a long, drawn-out conflict and many of the French citizens were tired of it and wanted to know why their country was fighting in a war they had no business being a part of.
Now are any bells going off? No? Stay with me. We'll have snacks soon.
Well, also at the time, the middle class had been taxed so much that it had become a poor class. The nobility and clergy were exempt from this tax. A financial adviser to King Louis made a suggestion that a new tax be made to include the nobility which comprised the top percentage of the country. Well, the nobility went bitchcakes and refused. The financial adviser was fired. The poor at this point, were fed up and decided that they were going to storm Wall Street. I'm sorry, I mean The Bastille.
France didn't even have the added bonus of Twitter back then for their revolution. All they had was Madame Defarge and her knitting needles. I bet it took a long goddamned time for a retweet. I should probably tell you now that was a Charles Dickens joke. He was a writer. Pretty popular. He wrote serials? Kinda the Dick Wolf of his day? Dick Wolf. He was a TV producer? TV. It was the Facebook of its day?
So, yeah, no. This has nothing to do with our country. History never repeats itself and you should not concern yourself with other countries and their holidays or traditions. Just keep ignoring what is happening and keep downloading remixes and playing Call of Duty.
Hellooo? Great. You had ear buds in the whole time, didn't you?"
I'm against the death penalty but maybe for certain circumstances we could bring back the guillotine?
Follow Ali MacLean on Twitter: www.twitter.com/aliontheair