Otherwise quite sensible, Mark Krikorian praises Cinco de Mayo because ” it’s always a cause for celebration when the French get beaten.”* This creates some internal contradictions in the reflexive Francophobia that has been an annoying tic on the right for the last six years: if the French are beaten in a battle, that means that they actually fought in a battle, which suggests that they do not automatically surrender to their enemies. That’s a difficult paradox to resolve.
Of course, there are plenty of occasions when the French or their forerunners among the Franks were victorious that should make us very happy, starting with Poitiers and ending at least with Yorktown. In light of what came later, I doubt too many Americans would be interested in popping corks to mark the anniversary of the fall of Dienbienphu. For my part, I have always viewed Cinco de Mayo as a rather sad holiday, since it is notable mainly because it is one of the only occasions in history when the Mexicans have ever prevailed over anyone. Now it has been commodified and turned into an excuse for middle-class whites to drink Cuervo to excess, but without the attendant integration and respect that attaches to the Irish for St. Patrick’s Day.
* Yes, I realise this is at least partly tongue-in-cheek, but I’m tired of the attitude behind such jokes.