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As the world continues to mourn the lives lost in last week's violent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, artists and entertainers strive to provide perspective on (and even creative respite from) the weight of such a tragedy. On Sunday's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver opened with a message of solidarity for those directly impacted by the recent attacks while also sending a pointed warning to anyone daring to start a "war of culture and lifestyle" with France.
"Sadly we must begin with a few words about France," Oliver told his audience, "which on Friday suffered the deadliest attack on its soil since World War II." Noting that "this is where it actually helps to be on HBO," Oliver then offered a "moment of premium cable profanity" as a proper follow-up to the many "necessary and appropriate" moments of silence. "Here is where things stand," Oliver outlined. "As of now, we know this attack was carried out by gigantic fucking assholes. Unconscionable flaming assholes. Possibly working with other fucking assholes. Definitely working in service of an ideology of pure assholery. Second, and this goes almost without saying: Fuck these assholes. Fuck them, if I may say so, sideways."
Oliver said with resilience that France will most certainly endure, citing their unparalleled cultural importance as perhaps its greatest strength. "If you are in a war of culture and lifestyle with France, good fucking luck," Oliver said. "Go ahead [and] bring your bankrupt ideology. They’ll bring Jean-Paul Sartre, Edith Piaf, fine wine, Gauloises cigarettes, Camus, Camembert, madeleines, macarons, and the fucking croquembouche. You just brought a philosophy of rigorous self-abnegation to a pastry fight, my friend. You are fucked."
Peace for Paris.