Some Rain on Today’s Parade

by Jay Nordlinger

France is a glorious country, with a glorious culture (literary, musical, culinary, etc.). It also has a glorious capital. And a glorious language. One could go on. But back to the capital.

I’ve just read Mark Helprin’s latest novel, which will be on the market in October. It’s called “Paris in the Present Tense.” It is, among other things, a hymn to the French capital.

With the Francophile stuff out of the way: I am no fan of Bastille Day (today, July 14). Can you draw a straight line from 1789 to 1917 to 1975 (when the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia)? Maybe not. But you don’t have to jag it much.

Let me give you my favorite fact about Bastille Day — and this is really mischievous: Pol Pot and his (first) wife were French-trained, of course. As good Communists, they did not have a holy day — but they did have Bastille Day. And that’s the day on which they chose to get married.

Anyway, vive la France (démocratique).

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