When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

12 November 2008

Aux armes, citoyens!

This is a very famous scene from a very very famous movie - the bit from Casablanca where Victor Laszlo instructs the house band at Rick's to play "La Marseillaise" in order to drown out the sound of Nazi officers singing "Die Wacht am Rhein":

I must have watched Casablanca forty times by now, and this scene always sends a cold chill up my spine.

Only a couple of people in the world that I'm still in touch with know that I'm actually thinking of chapel services in elementary school when I watch it.

It was an educationally progressive parochial school (for its time and place) and French was being taught as a second language starting in kindergarten. In North Carolina, in the early 1970s, this was apparently a very big deal.

Every day in chapel service for quite some time, it seemed, we were singing La Marseillaise.

And pumping our tiny fists in the air as we screeched "Aux armes, citoyens!" as firmly instructed to do by our teachers (and the headmaster.)

Surreal scene. And a funny old world, that I can see Paul Henreid belting out the French national anthem with Ingrid Bergman looking on worriedly but adoringly, and it evokes memories from circa age 7 or 8.

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