France’s new President has received a chilling video from a previously unknown European terror group — the “Comité Régional d’Action Viticole” a.k.a. “CRAV.”
What these CRAVen and black-clad insurgents CRAVe goes to the heart of French culture: they want higher wine prices, or their campaign of small bombings will escalate into something deadly.
Well finally, something the French are willing to fight for — wine. Even more amazing than the video of hooded vine-surgents threatening President Sarkozy is that it’s a full 12 weeks into a conflict in which both sides are French and neither side has surrendered yet. This bests the French army’s previous record (set, I believe, in 1940) by some 6 weeks.
In English, the group might be called the “Regional Winemakers Action Committee,” and like the cattleman’s committees of the old west, their chamber of commerce sounding name disguises the fact that they are ready to settle business issues with more than just a clever ad campaign and a lawsuit.
Enraged over cheap wine imports putting small vineyards out of business, the group and its sympathizers has decided not to be simple whinemakers anymore. They’ve bombed shops and attacked or hijacked trucks bringing in the cheap foreign wine. Now the threat is that “blood will flow” — probably like a cheap California box merlot at a wino convention in August.
As big a gift to the American sport of French bashing as CRAV is (it could only be better if the acronym spelled out “CROAK”), I must admit that I kind of like them. America had the Whiskey Rebellion over similar concerns (small producers being put of business through taxes in our case) so why shouldn’t France have a Vintner’s Revolution?
I’m also a big believer that the total absence of individual acts of political violence in a society is a bad sign that the will of its people can be bent in any direction by the mechanisms of official power — a bad, bad state of affairs no matter how much one likes peace and stability. As Jefferson said, the Tree of Liberty must continually be refreshed with the blood of Tyrants and Patriots. And surely if Liberty were a grape vine it would need refreshment as well. So seeing the French field a sort of Red (and White) Army against their own government does my rebellious heart good.
Who knows, maybe after they settle important issues like the price of wine and the proper names for regional cheeses they can get around to dealing with the fact that their country is being given away to hostile foreigners and Brussels bureaucrats while they while away their lives drinking cheap foreign wine on their 6-month long vacations each year.
We take little baby steps, I suppose.
But CRAV may turn out to be bigger than France in the end. Such a willingness to fight over small but important issues could become an example to the world. That’s why I would like to propose a number of possible causes for American micro-insurgents.
1) Pixilation on cable TV reality shows. I don’t know about you, but I am plumb sick of watching “Deadliest Catch” or “American Chopper” and having the label of a bottle, a t-shirt, or a parts girl calendar blurred out of the picture — and I’m about ready to kill somebody over this. Dang it, I know it’s a Coke, that the shirt has a phone number on it and that the girl has some choice parts in the picture — and I want to see them. That’s “reality.” Worse yet is the stuff that I don’t know. When Mike Rowe walks by a window, why did they blur out that park bench? Who are these people to decide I will watch a generic and pixilated worldview devoid of specifics or accidental product placement? I’m an American and I have a right to see Mikey’s freakin’ t-shirt. I recommend the “Committee for Full Focus in Filmmaking” saddle up and ride.
2) Medium people in the fast lane. “Fast” lane, people. Fast lane. Fast starts at 80, unless its freezing rain and then I will accept 65, because “safety first,” after all. But there exists a certain class of commuter whose self-image is well out of synch with his accelerator manipulation. We all like to think of ourselves as fast-lane folk, but trust me, some of you belong one lane over to the right. A slow person in the fast lane is bad, but forgivable, since they can be passed on the right with a simple whip of the wheel and a downshift to get it all back in the FAST lane before you ram the medium folks in the medium lanes. But a medium person in the fast lane is going just fast enough to make this impossible. Try to pass on the right and just about the time your rear bumper would clear his front quarter panel, you’re nearly wearing a Volvo for a hood ornament and your tires are barking out a choppy stream of ABS stuttered smoke. Then you’re back behind Captain Medium in the FREAKIN’ FAST lane. This is lynching territory from now on, so says the “Express Commuter Left Lane Clearance Group.”
3) Comcast commercials. Comcast cable is run by a bunch of drooling imbeciles. They are so proud of what they are protecting my children from seeing with their parental controls that they tell my kids about it by showing scary chain saw mutants invading people’s homes or a thong-clad Dominatrix cracking a whip at Daddy grin-grin in the middle of daytime TV. I mean please, it’s like that old joke about the idiot that brings a handful of horse crap into the bar and proudly tells his friends “Hey, look what I almost stepped in!” Here’s a hint, Comcast: if it should be blocked, don’t bring a handful of it into a Spongebob marathon and show my kids how responsible you are. Also, what is with the previews on the On-Demand channel? I’m scrolling around a menu trying to find the Caillou where they make mudpies for Mommy and up in the preview corner Comcast is showing my little angels a preview of a ballerina slasher flick starring Marilyn Manson’s really weird friend as the cannibalistic devil monkey that kills children to devour their souls. Yeah, excellent move, boys. My girls are still under the couch screaming. The “Children’s Television Programming Enforcement Group” may be taking a bead on you clueless nimrods right now.
So by all means, CRAV for freedom! CRAV for revolution. And if it matters to you that much, then CRAV Liberté, Fraternité, and Beaujolais. Fight for the little things. They make up most of life anyway.