Quote of the Day:
“History is a set of lies agreed upon.” Napoleon Bonaparte
TB has diligently research-i-pedia’d the history of Cinco de Mayo today in order to enlighten and entertain myself and hopefully those of you travellin’ through the TBU. It turns out the holiday, widely ignored in Mexico, commemorates the victory of 4000 Mexicans over a superior force of 8000 Frenchmen at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. And I suppose this is precisely the reason Mexicans, with ready access to tequila without need of a special occasion, think little of the day. After all, who hasn’t whipped the French.*
Before I go on, let me make clear one thing. I’m cool with the French. I dig the permissive sexual mores, the rich, languid culture of food, the hidden signs at the Louvre, Hemingway’s years there and Pepe Le Pew, among other notable achievements. In fact, I look forward to visiting the country some day and determining for myself whether a French waiter’s sneer is more offensive than a McDonald’s teenager’s shuffle. And I never uttered the godawful phrase “freedom fries”, even when I was mad at Pierre for opposing the US invasion of Iraq. Oh, and I don’t even know why they call them Froggies, so I don’t.
But let’s face it. The French–the culture that produced the greatest general ever and the baddest ass teenage girl general ever, the nation that brought all of Europe to heel once and whose ancient conquest of England centuries before that changed the world, and whose assistance after 1776 ensured the very existence of America–this great people have been on a losing streak in the game of war. And it all started with the humiliating loss to the Mexicans on cinco de mayo, 1862.
A recap of the French misfortunes of war since that time, again thoroughly research-i-pedia’d by moi:
- Franco-Prussian War–1870-1871; Lost. Alsace-Lorraine went to Prussia. Worse still, the German states united.
- World War I–1914-1919; technically they won. What did they win? Hmmm. ‘Bout all I can think of is the 42 surviving males under 60 had very little competition for the ladies. Oh wait, I think the doughboys and Hemingway ended up with most all the mademoiselles.
- World War II–1939-1945; again they get the win on a technicality. What most people remember about this rousing victory is that they managed to pull it off from beneath a jack boot heel. Oh, and this time the Americans ended up with the Frauleins instead.
- Algerian War–1954-1962; technically they lost because Algeria expelled them. Ironically, this can arguably be seen as their greatest triumph of the century.
- Indochina Wars–mid 20th Century; lost Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. What’s worse, America was finally unable to overcome its close association with French military disasters and has been on a strategic losing streak ever since. Thanks France.
It ain’t pretty, kind of like an (here it comes) old French whore. (This is where a video of Garth Brooks as “Coco” the Old French Whore would be linked if I could’ve found it.)
With all this in mind as you head off to your local Mexican joint and for a few hours forget how much you hate illegal immigration, consider eschewing the margaritas in honor of America’s original ally. It really is kind of low to be having too much fun on a day that commemorates nothing of import for the winners, but inaugurated an era of infamy for the losers. So please, a little respect for the home of the little general (digression–isn’t it ironic the/their greatest general was ultimately a loser?). Skip the tequila. Order up a pitcher of sangria instead.
*Though it takes away from the humor I find in the new knowledge that today commemorates a Mexican Army victory over the French, I must note, lest you get into a debate during your third round of sangria this evening, that the French actually recovered from the loss on May 5 and eventually occupied Mexico City. They installed Emperor Maximillian and presumably collected the money they were sent to collect. So they “won.” Then again, they abandoned the country a few years later to the previous Mexican leadership because we “asked” them to. Guess they couldn’t count on us to save ’em if they got into a war with, um, us.
Finally, a little lagniappe: