“So here is where things stand. First, as of now, we know that this attack was carried out by gigantic fucking assholes, unconscionable, flaming assholes, possibly, possibly working with other fucking assholes, definitely working in service of an ideology of pure assholery,” he said. His audience began to laugh. “Second, and this goes almost without saying, Fuck these assholes!” The audience began to cheer. “Fuck them, if I may say, sideways!” He made some definitive hand gestures. Third, he said, nothing these assholes attempt is going to work. “France is going to endure. And I’ll tell you why. If you are in a war of culture and life style with France, good fucking luck!” More cheering. “Go ahead, go ahead. Bring your bankrupt ideology. They’ll bring Jean-Paul Sartre, Edith Piaf, fine wine, Gauloises cigarettes, Camus, Camembert, madeleines, macarons”—images of these appeared behind him as he spoke—“Marcel Proust, and the fucking croquembouche!” An image of what looked like a glazed-cream-puff Christmas tree popped up. He waved his hands and pointed at it. “The croquembouche! You just brought a philosophy of rigorous self-abnegation to a pastry fight, my friends. You are fucked! That is a French freedom tower!” The crowd howled with delight.Sorry, John, but you rather missed the point. The point is not that Edith Piaf and the croquembouche are more appealing cultural hallmarks than the jihadis' beheadings and shouts of "Allahu Akbar!" The point is that, M. Hollande's newfound combativeness aside, it remains to be seen who is willing--who has the will--to fight to the death for his belief system. Will it be the enervated Frenchman, scarfing down croquembouches and civilizational ennui in the local café? Or will it be the Allahu Akbar boys, who are lean, mean zealots intent on making the entire globe submit to their totalitarian religious authority?
See, you can drop all the f-bombs you want, but that doesn't make you tough or equip you in any way to confront the existential (and not in the Jean-Paul Sartre sense) fight ahead.