of the Planet’s Tribes,” and its themenwas supposedly the Rights of Man. Innfact, it began well, with a movingntribute to the Chinese liberation movementnsmashed by the People’s Armynshortly before. Chinese acrobats hadnbeen supposed to tumble down thenChamps-Elysees, but after the eventsnof June they were replaced by a hundrednor so Chinese students, simplynwalking their bicycles. Accompanyingnthem was a float bearing a giant Chinesendrum, silent. On the drum was ancrudely lettered sign: “Nous continuous.”nThe only sound was thenspooky ringing of bicycle bells.nBut things went downhill swiftlynfrom there. We had the “tribes ofnFrance” in Goude’s rendition ofnFrench coal-miners’ costumes andnstriped stockings, playing a tedious refrainnby an African composer on accordionsnand hurdy-gurdies. (Two tribes,nBasques and Bretons, mostly refused tonparticipate.) We had tattered Englishnpunks, slouching along in an artificialndrizzle, attended by hotel doormenncarrying umbrellas. We had a hissingnsteam railroad, accompanied by sweatynbarechested drummers (Dutch, Inthink). We had Soviet soldiers fromnLenin’s Tomb goose-stepping throughnartificial snow, and an ice-skating polarnbear pursuing a flag-carrying Russiannmaiden on a rink carried on the shouldersnof Soviet sailors. We had a dozennor so giant, deformed women whonlooked something like Goude’s ex-wifenGrace Jones, spinning atop what I presumenwere golf carts hidden in theirnvoluminous skirts and carrying childrennwho wore the costumes and borenthe flags of many nations (including, Innoticed, Palestine).nMost Europeans in the paradenseemed to be militaristic automatons ornoutright degenerates, and perhaps thisnwas no accident. This was clearly thenex-colonies’ night. A striking Afiricannfloat held a six-sided pyramid of drummers,nlimbs akimbo, resembling somethingnoff a Hindu temple. The televisionncoverage (which Goude mixednhimself) returned again and again to anSenegalese float where spoflights and*nsmoky torches illuminated tribal drummersnand dancers: the drummers conductednby a maniacal figure in white tienand tails; the dancers, in tutus, a savagenparody of Degas.nAfter all this the Florida A&M Uni­nversity marching band was downrightnhomey as it moonwalked to JamesnBrown’s “I Feel Good.” The Brit announcernsaid that Brown—A/K/A Mr.nPlease Please Please, the Godfather ofnSoul, Hardest Working Man in ShownBusiness—is “one of Goude’s greatnheroes.” (This may be the only thingnGoude has in common with LeenAtwater. Atwater visits Brown in thenSouth Carolina hoosegow where he isnnow pulling time — deservedly, asneven Rolling Stone seems to acknowledge.)nThe announcer observed that thenparade gave full play to Goude’s “cartoonnsensibility on an epic scale,” andnthere’s no denying that it was effectiventheater. But the message it conveyedn(to me at least) wasn’t the upbeat,nbrotherly one Goude had in mind.nThe dim, smoky, pulsating scenenpierced now and again by flashbulbs asnif by lightning, the techno-primitivism,nthe Third World flavor—it was a lotnlike the New York subway at rush hour.n(Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Actually it wasna nightmare vision straight out oi BladenRunner, and it gave me the creeps.)nThe African and Asian and Arabnpresence, as striking in the parade as itnis these days on the streets of Paris,nillustrated vividly France’s colonialnchickens coming home to roost.n’ (“Why are you here?” the Frenchmannasks the Algerian immigrant. “Becausenyou were there,” the Algerian replies.)nThis phenomenon can be viewed withnthe fear and loathing of Jean Raspail’sndisturbing novel The Camp of thenSaints or with the cheerful equanimitynof a Wall Street Journal editorial, butnfor better or for worse the place will notnbe the same again. I’m sure Goude sawnhis parade as a celebration of that fact,nbut I’m afraid I saw it as anothernhalf-million votes for the thuggishnJean-Marie Le Pen and his nativistnNational Front. /n”We’re all from the Ganges now,”nsome of the less admirable charactersnin Raspail’s novel chirp, and Goudenseems to share that view. We were toldnsolemnly that he believes “Worid musicncan heal the divisions betweennnations.”.This belief “stems from hisnlove of, almost obsession with, rhythmsnlike [those] he heard in Senegal,” an”relentless beat” he feels is “at the rootnof most of today’s popular music.”nWell, the parade’s relenfless beat didnnngo on — and on. People paraded tonhip-hop, R&B, and rap; to whiningnMoroccan music; to African drumming;nto generic Oriental sounds. Butnaside from some Scottish bagpiping Inheard no martial music. For that matternthe only French music I heard was then”Marseillaise,” at the end. And evennthat was sung by an American, sopranonJessye Norman. (Miss Norman seemsnto rank right below Jerry Lewis in thenFrench pantheon of American culturalnheroes, so when she asked to sing it hernbuddy the Minister of Culture apparentlyncouldn’t say no.) With the possiblenexception of “Dixie,” the “Marseillaise”nis the most stirring nationalnanthem going; it usually makes menwant to go sack a church or sornething.nBut Goude’s lugubrious arrangementnresembled that New Age stuff withnwhale noises. I perked up when MissnNorman was carried off, singing, onnsome sort of tumbrel, thinking maybenGoude had scheduled a date with thenbelle dame sans merci as a boffo conclusion.nNo such luck.nFar be it from me to tell other folksnhow to mark their historic anniversaries,nespecially the French. Since it’snnot my country I don’t figure I’ve gotnmuch opinion coming. Besides, anyonenwho has been in a music videonwith a midget lady wrestler shouldnprobably keep his mouth shut aboutndecadence. But even if you don’t thinknmuch of the French Revolution, surelynits bicentennial deserved better thannthis. Or did it, perhaps, somehow leadnto this? Maybe Donald Davidsonncould explain.nI must say that it was something of anrelief when Goude’s festival was overnand the channel I was watching rerannthe morning’s military parade. Therenwas something clean and purposefulnabout the cadets and fire brigades, thenairplanes and APC’s. Even the beardednForeign Legionnaires with theirnleather aprons and axes looked jollynand wholesome, straight from the villagensmithy, their sinister half-timentread notwithstanding.nAnd now I begin to understand hownDonald Davidson felt at the Army DaynParade in Chadeston. As he watchednthe soldiers he took his characteristicngrim pleasure from this “reminder . . .nthat the processes of government, laboratorynscience, liberalism, and expertisenmust be depended upon sometime,nNOVEMBER 1989/47n