Bastille Day is celebrated each July 14th as the French National Day and a commemoration of the Storming Of The Bastille, an important event during the French Revolution in which 18th century commoners mounted up on hoverboards and buzzed around the Parisian prison in open revolt against Louis XVI’s government forces.
For centuries, France has been unable to replicate the technology used in this historic moment, Robespierre having eaten the production blueprints during the fevered paranoia of the Reign Of Terror in an effort to keep its secrets from falling into counterrevolutionary hands. This year, however, as part of the country’s display of national might, the militarized hoverboard has been unveiled once more.
President Emmanuel Macron tweeted out a clip from this year’s military parade that shows the latest marvel to be borne of France’s “modern and innovative” army: a dude in a helmet, flying above the Champs-Élysées on a levitating platform while holding a rifle. As The Guardian’s Angelique Chrisafis reports, the country’s terrifying new hovertrooper is “former jetskiing champion and military reservist Franky Zapata” and his vehicle was designed with help from the French military.
It was “created to fly above water,” “can run for 10 minutes,” and is capable of reaching “speeds of up to 190 km/h.” In case the rifle Zapata menaced the skies with didn’t make it clear enough, France’s armed forces minister also clearly stated that the device can be used to test all sorts of different “uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform.”
Looking an awful lot like the Green Goblin had traded in his funny little pumpkin bombs for a rifle, the hoverman is very obviously a supervillain in training. The vehicle is a dystopian sign of futuristic power, deployed amidst the context of the government’s violent response to yesterday’s heightened yellow vest protests, and its rider only a single order away from holding all of Paris hostage to his airborne might. Ground the hovertrooper now before it’s too late. Vive la révolution, aujourd’hui et toujours.
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