IL Est Interdit D’Interdire

Plural and Personal

The variation of one utterance

Il est Interdit d’Interdire

Impossible may be “Nothing,” but at Tenspeed Hero we opt to adopt the words chanted by rebel Parisian youths in 1968: “It is Forbidden to Forbid.”

Inspiring student and worker actions against ‘oppressive authorities,’ it is our Hero Hope for these words to continue their role in progressing progressive action. Screamed in the streets and mumbled in smoky, Latin Quarter corners, the quotation marks around “Il est Interdit, d’Interdire” attribute one phrase to both an entire movement and individual calls to action.

Walking the streets of Montmartre, lined with cobblestones used by students as ammunition against police and governmental officials, one is now bombarded by riotous history. (Depending on street, tourists may also bombard you, but that’s another tale). Wherever your line of vision fails, one thing is certain: your feet tread past notable remnants of revolutionary feats.

In Place Ravignan: Hero Picasso – pirate of Le Beateau-Lavoir. Here, our historical motto connects with the idea of being a captain of your destiny. Realize these waves might not always be blue, pulled by the Coriolis Current, or capped with white foam. Who is to say you aren’t the Picasso of red roads in the middle of a Nebraska plain. Or captain of intense workdays, brightened by the chance to cycle at sunrise.

At Sacré-Coeur: A city unfolds 130-metres below you, in the same spot where Le Paris Commune once unfolded socialist thought. An inspiration to the 1968ers, this travertine beacon represents the inertia of collective ardor.

The Steepest Staircase Ever: A place to tread carefully, to imagine biking down, or to pay homage to Eisenstein. In terms of escalating recklessness, one must remember “Il est Interdit d’Interdire” and descend (in some chosen way) back towards the bustling quartier where students once fought implausibility.

45-years later, we at TSH would like to think we share more similarities with the 1968ers than the cobblestoned alley outside our studio. The words of les étudiants inspire the plural us, yes, but – moreover – they should inspire the singular you. Whisper it to a friend, so that you both jump off a bluff into deep, cool water. Yell it while biking up a mountain, to push yourself one kilometer further. Mutter it in a movie store, to rent that movie you “always meant to watch.” (Added bonus: this renting of Malle’s Milou en Mai might actually save your neighborhood film center). In all, demand continued determination.

Or, in the words of 1968, “Soyez réaliste, demandez l’impossible.”