Sep 23, 2010
During my vacation, the Senate voted down the bill to end the military's antigay discrimination policy, which did indeed get coverage in the French press. I also read the news of the gay American college student who committed suicide after his roommate and others posted on line video of him having sex in the privacy of his dorm room. I wasn't in a position to draw cartoons about those news stories; instead, I had drawn a couple cartoons before I left on other topics. One of them is still slated for release later this week.
Also during my vacation, the Eiffel Tower was closed down twice because of terrorism threats, and the U.S. issued a travel warning that Americans should avoid going to popular tourist sites in Europe. We went to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Moulin Rouge and Monaco anyway, and had a swell time.
Europeans have been dealing with terrorism on their soil longer than Americans have. The IRA, Brigate Rosse, Baader-Meinhof and the like all predate Al Qaeda, and we can only hope that Al Qaeda and company will someday follow them into obscurity. We saw plenty of signs of a heightened security level on our vacation, starting with the machine gun toting soldiers in Charles DeGaulle airport as we arrived -- a bit startling to these American eyes, to be sure.
I also noticed that French TV didn't go into 24-hour coverage mode of the terrorist threat. The networks reported the story, provided context and detail, and then moved on to the next story. What I did not see were media commentators appearing to expound their own prognostications of what this might possibly mean for Nicolas Sarkozy, or how the terrorists would carry out their plans, or any of the usual U.S. TV yadda yadda yadda.