Bonfire Vivants

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My local paper tells me in glaring black headlines that “Violence in France is slowing.” Good news – I read on. I find that this is not the opinion of some crepes suzette loving Francophile. There’s real data – minus the slant – as one expects in the pages of a decent paper. Only 374 cars were torched last night compared to 502 the night before. Furthermore, last week 1,400 cars were cremated! A cheery graph of descending violence. Happy days are here again! Soon Gallic skies will be blue and smoke-free.

Then I read that not a Saturday night goes by in this perfectly well-balanced society without frolicking firebugs burn- ing up 100 cars. Really? Who knew that? My paper never told me that before. Evidently, this is a society where block parties are warm even in November – where Luddites expeditiously communicate via computer about their next target. Who knew, before this recent mania for bonfires, about this quaint French habit: every normal Saturday night in the ‘burbs is illuminated by lit-up rioters and lit-up Peugots? And I thought they sat at sidewalk cafes, sipped 12-proof white wine, read Balzac, and prayerfully thanked the U.S. for twice saving them from Teutonic expansionism.

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