- If the French marauders known as The Deflated waged their brand of urban subversion in Southern California, the mecca of the sport utility vehicle, by now they would probably have been jailed, beaten, shot or at least sued.
But five weeks after the clandestine crew of environmentalists launched a low-intensity war on SUVs in Paris, there are no casualties to report. Except, of course, for dozens of deflated gas-guzzling vehicles, said Sous-Adjudant Marrant (Sub-Warrant Officer Joker), the mysterious, masked leader of Les DÈgonflÈs.
Under cover of night, Marrant's troops target Jeep Cherokees, Porsche Cayennes and other four-wheel-drive vehicles parked on the tree-lined avenues and cobblestoned lanes of wealthy neighborhoods. The eco-guerrillas deflate tires without damaging them, smear doors with mud and paste handbills on windshields proclaiming that the vehicles are dangerous, polluting behemoths that do not belong in the city.
Some factoids abut Marrant and his group of low grade revolutionaries:
- * Although his nom de guerre was inspired by Subcommander Marcos, the masked Mexican guerrilla revered by leftists, Marrant insists he is not violent or even particularly serious. "Deflated" is a self-deprecating name that also means "coward" in French.
* Marrant on The Deflated: "We emphasize the comic, the burlesque side.."
* Marrant is writing a children's song as an anthem for the cause. He also hopes to record a dance-mix version before Saturday, when activists plan an international wave of anti-SUV operations â€“ by daylight, this time â€“ in France, Britain, Canada and Australia.
* Marrant is unemployed, though he has dabbled in journalism.
One other factoid ... Marrant's a smoker. Wonder what he would do if the anti-second hand smoke movement got as fired up in France as it is in the US? Would he enjoy a good laugh when some self-righteous activist/performance artist unloads on him with a Super Soaker?