Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Saved from the...cliché

A story in today's New York Times about an endangered French textile mill uses the phrase "facing the guillotine." Pity the maligned French, who are still living down this razor-sharp form of execution, even though they haven't used the guillotine since Napol-- what?? Since 1977?

That's right. The French last used Robespierre's favorite toy in just 1977, less than fifty years ago -- after the breakup of the Beatles, and the founding of Apple Computer -- to cleanly slice off the head of one Hamida Djandoubi, who went to the grave with the consolation that some day something called Wikipedia would be invented -- and his dubious honor would get him into it. (I've been wondering what I have to do to get my name into Wikipedia.)

The French doubtless would still be using the guillotine today if they hadn't abolished capital punishment in 1981, for up until that time it remained France's standard method of execution.

So I apologize to the Times for being about to castigate them for referring to what I thought was a cheap shot about a long-abandoned symbol of France. However, I won't let them off for using the cliché!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.