Yes, it is Malcolm McLaren and Catherine Deneuve, and it is lovely.
Paris is so many things to so many people, and it is home to many, including many who do not live there but find it to be a spiritual home.
It is a city that is designed to be used: you are expected—no encouraged—to go out and interact. The first thing you say when you walk into a store is bonjour, otherwise you would be the rude american. Paris forces you into intelligent and interesting conversations. Paris forces you to be a better person.
The apartments are small and cramped, and impossibly stuffy; the kitchens are tiny, the refrigerators are smaller than what any of us had in our dorms, and so everyone in Paris shops daily (tous à Paris faires ses courses chaque jour) or goes to cafés to meet with friends, you rarely have people over for dinner (small/cramped, remember).
There are few backyards, but many parks, and so when you want to play fetch with Rover, or play ball with Junior, it is to the parks that you go.
And because you are always out and about and being seen, Parisians are always prepared to be seen. Parisians seems more chic and fashionable than their counterpart elsewhere. Even the joggers are coiffed and elegant, the sneakers so clean they look new, and no tatty torn tee shirts in sight. Yes, it is a whiff of cologne you smell as they jog past.
And now Paris is also home to terror and it was targeted for many of the reasons it is so special: because Paris forces you to mingle. And you might be mingling with someone strapped and ready to explode.
Last night, Parisians opened their doors and hearts to each other, welcomed their fellow citizens into their apartments and showed each other their humanity while the assorted Ann Coulters and Michelle Malkins of Wingnuttia took to Twitter last night to gloat and make cheap political points off of a tragedy as immense to France as 9-11 was to us.
Since the founding of our country, France has been our constant ally. The modern France formed following a peasant revolution soon after our peasant revolution, and our colors are the same. Gen. Lafayette is remembered in cities and parks all across America. We owe more of our rooster-proud identity and our idiosyncratic personality to the French (I have argued) than we do the reserved Brits of the United Kingdom.
France and Paris have been invaded before, and have triumphed in the end, sometime with our help. I’m certain we will be there for them again if they need us and want us. John Kerry, our Secretary of State, has already been eloquent and supportive. Nous sommes tous Français, we are French, at least for today. We know the horror that they are experiencing.
I cannot imagine how to be in Paris and not be part of Paris, how anyone there can stop being Parisian. But what I know for certain is that whatever happens next, Paris will remain eternally Paris.
IMHO the French also invented modern diplomacy. It will be very interesting to see what comes next.
The French are great warriors as well. They feel this attack to be a declaration of war. I believe they are a Nuclear Armed Country. This could get very hairy, quickly. I would suspect some planes and soldiers are being readied for combat even as we read the toll of the destruction. Let’s hope it’s a quick war since it’s not the people who ever get to ‘win’.