Doin' It French Style

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Memo to America's social conservatives: YOU ARE BEING OWNED BY THE FRENCH.

America's right-wing Jesus-freaks have, from what I've seen, a fairly stereotypical view of the French as effeminate libertines, who look at art instead of NASCAR, drink red wine instead of Bud Lite, and eat foie gras instead of pizza with cheese stuffed inside the cheese it's stuffed with.

Which is why it's so hilarious that the legalization of gay marriage in France has brought about a level of rioting, civil disobedience, and violence that puts the Wal-Mart shopping, portly, American, 700-Club-watching bigots to shame. The French are many things, but they are apparently not all talk, no action.

Just this past weekend, police had to tear-gas and beat a bunch of masked traditional marriage protesters who were throwing rocks and bottles.

A 78-year-old historian walked inside the cathedral at Notre Dame, stuck a pistol in his mouth, and killed himself in front of 1,500 tourists to protest gay marriage.

French bigots are chaining themselves to barricades, taking over buildings and unfurling banners, and just generally making an epic nuisance of themseves to keep French gay people from marrying each other. The religious right here should be fucking ashamed of themselves.

Now, I'm not saying the French protests are making the world a better place, except maybe for the old guy who killed himself. I don't actually want there to be more gay marriage violence in America. But you've gotta respect that in France, at least, the extremism of the actions matches the extremism of the rhetoric.

Over here, where how tough we are is part of our national identity, where every single rhetorical debate is framed in terms of war, battles, and the highest possible stakes, even the most virulently anti-gay forces just hold up offensive signs at funerals. Nobody's chained themselves to anything.

So we're stuck with a bunch of bigoted assholes unwilling to either put up, like the French bigoted assholes, or shut up, like any decent person would when confronted with normal people being happy together and getting legal rights.

And while the French protesters won't win, there's a small part of me that wishes they would, just so American evangelicals could hear French Catholics boast for the next 75 years that they "saved your asses in World War Gay".