His pack of Gallic henchfrogs promptly throw up their hands while chorusing: "We Surrender!"
The sprogs didn't get it, but I laughed until my ribs hurt.
Although Jean Reno does give me some hope that their are still some Frenchmen running around with spines, unfortunately the joke above -- as does all humour -- has more than a bit of a basis in reality.
Witness the latest law coming forth from the French Constitutional Council.
It is apparently now unlawful for anyone except a "professional journalist" to take pictures of violent acts, or to film violent acts.
It is further unlawful for anyone to broadcast or publish violent acts without having a prior government certification.
Allow me, Gentle Readers, to explain that.
If you have a cell-phone capable of taking photos or video, and during your perambulations through the homeland of wine and cheeses you happen to stumble across, say a full-blown riot of
To the tune of about five years in a French clink and somewhere in the neighborhood of US$100,000 in fines.
Show of paws: How many Gentle Readers notice that the potential punishment for filming an act of violence in France is liable to be higher than the punishment for the act of violence itself?
Give yourself a cookie.
Of course, France being a Socialist Workers Paradise(TM) and all that, the Frog Gummint has quite generously proposed a certification process that:
* Web sites;
* Users of video-capable cell phones; and
* Internet Service Providers
will be able to undertake that will allow the above to become an "Government Approved Source of Violent Media" -- as long as they agree to adhere to certain rules generously and arbitrarily provided by that same Gummint, of course.
You know, I used to hide my head under the blankets to avoid the Boogeyman. As long as I couldn't see him, I was safe.
One should point out, however, that I was five years old at the time -- one would hope that the French government has at least one or two members who have gotten past the whole Boogeyman/Closet Monster thing.
Seriously, folks, what is this? Does someone in the upper echelons of Frog bureaucracy really think if riots and such don't get filmed they'll just go away?
Do you seriously think that if you forbid Jacques Vino from filming a mugging on his cell-phone, then by-God the mugging didn't really happen?
I mean, I've heard of burying your head in the sand, but I always thought that was a metaphor.