Forty years of racial inequality and a political establishment that mistakes burying its head in the sand for color-blindness have backed up on the French. Riots and curfews have broken out in the suburbs of Paris and other cities over the past couple of weeks, years of tension unleashed by the deaths of two boys running from what they thought was a police ID check. Gutted shops, overturned cars, and teenaged boys clashing with police have been compared with everything from the Intifada to L.A. ’92 to Paris ’68 to Watts.

So yeah, it’s a very serious situation. Which is why I feel a little bad that a particularly popular headline for editorials and blog postings on the subject — “Paris is Burning” — keeps making me giggle. It makes me think of the documentary about the queer dance scene in the late 80s, and I can’t help but picture a bevy of drag queens vogueing and battling amidst the wreckage.