Thursday, May 28, 2015

Eighty Eight step march

Eighty eight steps a minute is a slower march. Somewhere around a hundred and twenty steps a minute is a faster march. As I understand it, following the French Revolution, the upheavals of Napoleon, the rise of the bourgeoisie and on into the Franco Prussian War of 1870 there was a sense on the part of some French Intellectuals that something had been lost on the day Louis Sixteenth was guillotined. Mind you, amongst most Intellectuals very few have anything good to say about the Middle Class. There's a whole bunch of them, mostly from the middle classes, who put their faith in the Working Class, and there's a slightly smaller bunch, which might be getting larger and larger, that put their faith in the Upper Class. In democracies of course it's the middle class vote the political class woos.

French foreign regiments go back a while. There's been several of them all the way back to The Swiss Hundred which came into being in 1490's and was disbanded in 1830's. These earlier foreign regiments mostly just looked our for the king, kind of like Praetorian Guards. The eighty eight step march of today's French Foreign Legion was introduced to them in 1945. It was, the argument went, a return to traditional roots of the foreign regiments that received their pay from the French Treasury. Less to do with deserts and heat and more to do with Acien Regime done away with in France by the revolutions of the 1790's. And while this all might be a little obscure, it's interesting to me that the British Highland Regiments when they marched in kilts observed  the eighty eight step tradition. And indeed it's a more menacing march than that of a citizen army. You should try it to the tune of Little Bunny Foo Foo.

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