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LAGNIAPPE: John Oliver's Epic Paris Rant

Lagniappe seems much too much a lightweight designation for today's post but I never imagined when it was invented here a month or so ago that it would be required for such a painful circumstance.

So let's just call this today, a TGB Extra. (For newcomers, I don't usually post a story on Tuesdays and Thursdays unless it seems exceptionally important. This falls into that category.)

My first thought when I learned the extent of the unspeakable attack on Paris last Friday is that it is their 9/11, and others in the media have since concurred. You can parse that comparison 16 ways from Sunday if you wish but it's close enough.

For the past few days I have fiddled around trying to work out a way to give us at this little blog our own forum to talk about this tragedy.

My thought was that a generation of people who have lived the larger portion of their lives without knowing terrorism might have different kinds of things to say than younger people who have never lived without the threat of it. It took John Oliver to resolve my dithering.

At the start of his Last Week Tonight program on HBO Sunday, he launched into an epic rant about the Paris attack.

Oliver perfectly mirrors my own outrage and sorrow but I'm pretty sure you'll find Oliver's profanity-laced tirade more acceptable from him than you would have from me and anyway, he is much funnier (yes, funny even in this) than I am.

There is a lot to be said, in the face of such horror as Paris, for just venting one's rage until it dissipates before moving on to something more productive.

Comments

He certainly has a way with words!

I totally agree with him! Profanity and all. These asshats (my preferred term!) will NOT WIN.

Thank you, Mr. Oliver, for saying it for me. And thank you, Ms. Bennett, for passing it on.

Yes, indeed! Totally concur with comments as stated by Mr. Oliver.

The absolute evil of this ideology is beyond explanation so calling them "fucking assholes'" is as good a way to describe it as any I can think of.

I am so very sad for the loss of innocent lives. The "F A's " have defeated their purpose if they think they will frighten the French. France has seen the horrors of war all too often to let a bunch of sociopaths keep them living in terror.

I think collectively that many people needed a safe way to vent their anger at these demented murderers and John Oliver did that. Now, if we could only take that anger and coalesce it into a strategy to rid the planet of their presence and influence.

Oliver brings a level of greater seriousness to this horrible event by using food and culture as symbols, which is so much more appropriate to the French than the flag-waving with which, sadly, such events are always greeted in the U.S. I hope patriots aren't offended, but although I never shed a tear over 9/11 and was horrified at the political and policy reactions, I have shed many, many tears about what has been happening in France.

The most deplorable aspect is that this is being done in a country that values secular Frenchness above all else. The perpetrators were welcomed into a system in which everyone who has a French passport is French without hyphenation. The system brings with it some reasonable restrictions on public religious expression (the hijab, crucifix necklaces, etc) from which many immigrants seem to think they should be exempt. But this is what inclusion---secular inclusion---looks like in France. I wish to god we had the courage, in this country of relentless sectarian war, to adopt such a system. I cringe every time a president is required to say "God bless America" or a religious invocation is included on the agenda of a university convocation or a group promoting a clearly religious mandate is given equal time by the Supreme Court.

France paid dearly for its singular stance on the rights of man. They managed to get through the Charlie Ebdo event without making too many changes. I hope this event doesn't lead to some kind of Americanization of French life. Please, France, remember Proust and Camus and Beauvoir and bread and (wonderful) cheese and wine and sidewalk cafes. That's why we love you.

What Darlene said.

A group of FA's think they can defeat France.

Think again.


There are no words adequate to speak of this, profane or otherwise, but I understand that the profanity may help. For myself, I find the images of parents trying to explain this to their young children, taking them to place flowers or other remembrances and helping them to process what has happened are some of the most hopeful scenes. We must find a way to get beyond these horrors and leave the young people with a better world where they can live with a little peace.

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