K-Lo, you’d better watch it, or I’ll have Julie make her amazing cassoulet, which will further wear down your resistance to all things French. I am pleased to say that my Texas-born bride is a descendant of Claude-Joseph de Lisle Rouget, who wrote the French national anthem. He was actually a monarchist who refused to swear allegiance to the revolutionary regime. History is full of ironies, innit? I’ve always thought that strictly on artistic terms, the French have the most stirring national anthem. The Star-Spangled Banner will always move me like no other, of course, but the Marseillaise is pretty great. I confess my prejudice comes from repeated viewings of The Grand Illusion and Casablanca, in which the singing of the Marseillaise plays a triumphal, anti-German role in the stories.
And my son loves both President Bush and The Aristocats. His Franco-Texan sensibilities are developing nicely. He freaked out with joy on the phone last week when I told him that President Bush is from Texas. Julie’s down in Dallas with him visiting the grandparents, and they took him last weekend to the Alamo, which he knew all about thanks to Bill Bennett’s wonderful storybook for kids. Walking into the old fort, he said, apropos of nothing, “I hate the Mexican army.” He’s three and a half. Julie said his chin trembled and his eyes filled with tears when he stood before the relic case, looking at Jim Bowie’s knife. A few months back, when he was obsessed with the Alamo story and demanded to have it read to him over and over, we heard him crying upstairs in bed. Julie ran up to check on him, and came down saying, “He tells me he’s afraid he won’t remember the Alamo.” Now, if kids’ music genius Dan Zanes , who makes the best records for children, would come out with a Texas swing version of La Marseillaise, I think the boy would reach nirvana.