As I was driving out of my local commune towards that rare service in France – a shop open on Sundays – three young wild boar suddenly shot out from the remains of the Maize crop near the Chateau.
The French term for wild boar is sanglier, and although I wouldn’t wish to make vegetarians among you ill, I have to say that they can be turned into dried sausage with an outstandingly memorable taste. The young boar have distinctive stripes that disappear as they mature. But to see three of them at that stage striding purposefully in line with no adults in sight is rare. Most probably, their parents have been shot by the local hunters.
I do find that sad, but we should not forget that a full-grown boar is a profoundly nasty piece of work – as I found some years back when I opened the French doors from my bedroom one night and discovered a snorting Devil totally uninterested in giving ground.
The French are inveterate hunters once you get beyond the suburbs. They shoot, they fish, and they forage. This is the result of many centuries in which (under the tutelage of the Bourbon biscuit dynasty) they had to find nutritional solace in everything from snails and mushrooms to trout and unfeasibly large hairy wild pigs.
When Louis XVI’s missus Marie Antoinette was told by government Ministers that “The People have no bread”, she quite innocently asked, “Then why don’t they eat brioche?”.
Brioche is a form of moelleux carbohydrate crammed with sugar, cream and eggs…but what filtered down History Lane was a nasty Austrian bint referred to by the sans culottes (using word-play) as “l’Autrichienne” – the Austrian bitch – saying “Let them eat cake”.
I am not an apologist for Marie Antoniette (she was at best a terminally stupid person) but her sole fault in asking such a crass question was that she had not the faintest inkling of what life was like for the oppressed French.
Fast forward to 2020…..
You may find this startling, but it is a fact: in the US today, the gap between the bourbonesque 3% and the irregularly employed poor American is much greater than that pertaining in 1775 France.
The only difference – and it may well eventually prove to be far more deadly than Covid19 – is that contemporary Underclass expectations don’t stop at Bastille storming.
But 245 years can turn everything upside down. A vilified, right wing sitting US President represents, all things considered, the last hope that American sans culottes have of avoiding slavery at the hands of those raised to Congress by their votes.
For billionaire money has bought those who traditionally stood up for the poor. Billionaire money that goaded the dispossessed into violence against injustice the Clintons, Obamas and Bidens will never tackle.
That’s why tonight, I end with this picture and caption….