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Bastille Day is the New Cinco de Mayo

By The Second City | Jul 14, 2014

For the past few weeks, Americans have had some pretty good excuses for workweek hangovers. Unfortunately, since the US was eliminated from the World Cup and 4th of July BBQs are just a distant memory, it seems like we’ll have to remain sober until Labor Day.


St. Patrick’s Day. Cinco de Mayo. Mardi Gras. Cultural appropriation in the name of excessive drinking has become an American pastime. Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to introduce you to your new favorite binge-drinking, heritage-stealing holiday,

Bastille Day!!!

Here is your exclusive guide for making the most out of your Bastille Day—or French National Day, if you want to call it by its non-English-speaking country’s name, which you don’t.


Bastille Day is celebrated each year on the 14th of July in order to mark the beginning of the French Revolution. On this day in 1789, Parisians marched on the Bastille, a fortress-prison in Paris that held incarcerated people for arbitrary actions that could not be appealed. The successful storming of the Bastille was a symbol of the abuses of the monarchy, as well as the flashpoint of the French Revolution. 

If you think you’ll have trouble remembering this after half a bottle of Malort, just remember the literal French translation of the word “Bastille”—“boss steals.” Bosses steal your time. Kings are bosses. Kings steal your time. You are in prison. Rebel against your king. Tell your boss your parrot is sick. Drink Fireball at 9 AM.


Those of us who like wearing mini sombreros or super-cute Leprechaun beards are certainly hesitant about the fashions associated with 18th century France. During the French Revolution, there was a major backlash against high fashion due to its association with the aristocracy. This was the beginning of “anti-fashion.” Men wore plain, dark clothing and un-powdered hair. Women wore white skirts with jackets in revolution colors. 

Fortunately for Americans on a budget, revolution colors were red and blue, so just repurpose your July 4th outfit and you won’t look like a complete idiot.

If you don’t care about dressing up for the holiday, but want that woman on the bus to know why you’re puking into her handbag, try rolling up your sweatpants into pantaloons. Instant anti-fashion… but on theme!


French people might have a reputation for being uptight, but those cool-ass dudes still love to SET SHIT ON FIRE AND WATCH SKY EXPLOSIONS on Bastille Day! 

Obviously, the best place to set off fireworks during work hours is ANYWHERE, so the sky is (literally) the limit. Time to get rid of the remnants of your Independence Day stash!


Celebrate the idiocy of the aristocracy and the power of words by making a “Let Them Eat Cake”— Marie Antoinette’s infamous catchphrase forever changed the course of history… for your tastebuds. 

To make a Let Them Eat Cake, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, oil, eggs and milk. Then, scream directly into the batter to inject it with a healthy dose of fear and terror. Drink a bottle of sweet wine while the cake burns alive at 350 degrees, just so you don’t lose your buzz.


Ah yes, the whole point of celebrating. Over the course of the five years of the French Revolution, it is estimated that the guillotine was responsible for the deaths of roughly 40,000 people. According to numerous firsthand accounts, the streets literally ran red with blood.

To celebrate the death of the bourgeoisie, simply drink straight whiskey tinted with red food coloring. The combined color of the whiskey and dye should be deep enough to resemble ventricle blood, which is more or less what would come out if you had your head chopped off. Thus, when you vomit into a busy intersection, your spit-up should resemble the blood of French nobility running through the cobblestone streets of Paris. How quaint!


English, obviously. Just because you’re co-opting someone else’s culture in order to call in “sick” to work on Tuesday doesn’t mean you have to give up your God-given American right to speak English. No habla French.

Kristina Felske is a writer, actor and improviser currently living in Chicago. She is an editor and regular contributor to the humor site The Other Otter and has a performance-y resume posted on You can tweet her @kristinafelske.

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