Thursday, June 23, 2011

L'empire de la mort

I have recently returned from a six-week stay in Paris--during which I fully intended to write several witty and thought-provoking blogs.  In the end, I never seemed to have either the inclination or the time to undertake any writing longer than an occasional hasty post on Facebook.

Paris kept me busy, kept me entertained, kept me happy.

But now, I certainly have time. And even inclination, since I'm back in damp and dreary Minnesota, land of loons--where everyone is "nice" and, apparently, brain dead.  Back in the U.S.A., graveyard of dead ideas from sea to shining (and rising) sea.

L'empire de la mort.

In Paris, because my companion Carole loves death and dismemberment shit, I agreed to make my very first visit to the Catacombes--those former quarries which, late in the 18th century, became a kind of dumping ground for the remains of anyone previously interred in overflowing and unsanitary common graves throughout Paris.  

The skulls and skeletons were hauled to the disaffected quarries in wagons, hastily chanted and prayed over and then stacked up, sometimes in higgledy-piggledy mounds, sometimes in whimsically-designed and oddly elegant walls or benches of bones.

The work was finished in 1788.  The Revolution began in 1789.  Coincidence?

Well, of course, I personally cannot be sure that the grave-desecrating creators of the Catacombs actually CAUSED the Revolution, but post-hoc ultramontane reasoners have undoubtedly made that claim.

Might I not, therefore--employing another slight leap of logic--assert that herein lies a lesson for brain-dead American politicians?  Remembering the Catacombs and the Revolution, might I not encourage American politicians to abandon their obsession with dead and dying ideas--lest they provoke a 21st-century revolution right here in the Land Where Our Fathers Died.

The sign in the picture above reads:  "Stop!  This is the empire of the dead."

Good advice for brain-dead politicos.

--"Reducing spending creates jobs."  Stop!  Empire of the dead!
--"Tax cuts for the rich create prosperity for all."  Stop!  Empire of the dead!
--"Free market enterprise advances equality."  Stop!  Empire of the dead!
--"Social Security is bankrupt."  Stop!  Empire of the dead!
--"Gay marriage will destroy the family."  Stop!  Empire of the dead!
--"Sharia law is coming to America."  Stop! Empire of the dead!
--"Illegal immigrants are bankrupting America."  Stop!  Empire of the dead!
--"We're broke."  Stop, Stop, Stop, Stop, Stop....

If you enter this domain--and, devout Michele Bachmann, dedicated Sarah Palin, staunch Mitt Romney, lachrymose John Boehner,  I can see that you are well on your way--you will encounter only death.  Nothing fresh, warm, loving, caring, human--just dry bones.  LOTS of them, of course.  Quantity, but no quality. Almost, you could dive around in this copious death, like Uncle Scrooge in his money.  (Oh, I know you understand MONEY.)

But, whether you dive, swim or merely trek, after miles and miles of death, you wind up back at Place Denfert-Rochereau, formerly known as Place d'Enfer (Square of Hell).  From there, it's just a short metro ride to Place de la Bastille, where, incidentally (for those of you who don't remember much history) the French Revolution began.

Wouldn't it be better if you just didn't go there?

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