Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Anniversary of the Murder of the Romanovs

 It is 101 years since the night of July 16-17, 1918 when Tsar Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Tsarevitch Alexis, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and three of their retainers were shot by the Bolsheviks in a cellar in Ekaterinburg. More HERE. Share

"Marie-Antoinette, métamorphoses d’une image"

The Conciergerie, Marie-Antoinette's last prison, is the site of an exhibition about the Queen and the changes she experienced during the course of her life. The exhibition lasts from October 16, 1919 to Jenuary 26, 2020.


The Sheer Scale of Injustice

From The National Review:
This new motion comes after a wave of cases across the country that have invalidated and reversed the results of campus kangaroo courts — and these rulings are coming from judges across the political/judicial spectrum. In California, progressive state-court judges issued rulings that effectively halted proceedings in 75 campus sexual-misconduct cases, while California universities reworked their processes. Earlier this month, Amy Coney Barrett and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals joined dozens of other courts in ruling that university processes should face exacting legal scrutiny.
In fact, it’s hard to think of a modern legal policy more thoroughly repudiated than the Obama administration’s 2011 “Dear colleague” letter , which required every single public and private college that received federal funds (except for the few religious colleges that had opted out of Title IX) to adjudicate sexual-misconduct complaints under streamlined procedures that mandated lower burdens of proof, implemented a form of double jeopardy, and discouraged basic elements of due process, such as cross-examination.
Acting under intense internal and external pressure — and empowered by a #BelieveWomen ideology that dogmatically asserted that it is extremely rare for women to file false sexual-assault claims — universities encouraged women to report and prosecute cases under a system that was built from the ground up in defiance of generations of jurisprudence defining appropriate due process and in defiance of clear legal standards that prevent both anti-male and anti-female discrimination. Much of the critique of university processes has focused on the plight of falsely accused students, and many of the cases contain facts so bizarre and extreme that it’s hard to believe that any fact-finder anywhere could have imposed punishment. (Read more.)

Anglo-Saxon Attitudes

From Casting Light Upon the Shadow:
It might be that the popular image of the Anglo-Saxons is that they dressed in plain, homespun garments. This is probably true of the majority, but there are a few instances where high fashion was paraded, whilst simultaneously being frowned upon. Chaste nuns and virgins were advised that: If they dressed themselves sumptuously and went out in public so as to attract notice, & if they riveted the eyes of young men & drew the sighs of adolescents and nourished the fires of sexual anticipation…they couldn’t be excused as if they were of a chaste and modest mind. (Aldhelm)

A Church council also banned clerics from wearing ostentatious clothing. One commentator has pointed out that if this was how priests, nuns and monks dressed, one can only wonder what the rest of the population looked like! Unfortunately we don’t have much in the way of surviving garments so we have to go on illustrations (like the one above) which are not always easy to interpret. 
Heads could also be turned by fashions from abroad. There’s a delightful letter in which a brother (we’re not sure if this is a sibling, or a monk) receives a telling off and is rebuked for insulting his race and his ancestors by dressing in the Danish fashion ‘with bared necks and blinded eyes’. I don’t think that means wearing sunglasses, but you get the idea that the young man thinks the new fashion is rather ‘cool’!! (Read more.)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Scenes of Versailles

The Queen's library
From Le Boudoir de Marie-Antoinette.

The King and Queen dined in public
Madame de Pompadour's room


The NeverTrump-Left Alliance Crumbles

From American Greatness:
This collection of failed magazine editors, Iraq War propagandists, washed-up columnists, Russian collusion pimps, and losing campaign consultants have dogged Donald Trump and his supporters for three years. While some anti-Trump “conservatives” who contributed to National Review’s infamous “Against Trump” issue in early 2016 have become supporters of the president, others cannot let go—but their obstinance is less about principle and more about grift: Acting as the useful conservative idiot for the Washington Post or MSNBC has breathed new life into once stale careers and burned reputations.

Despite making repeated threats and floating the names of several potential candidates, they have failed to produce a legitimate primary challenger to Trump. (Bill Kristol, the de facto head of NeverTrump Inc., last year claimed he was building a “war machine” to take on Trump in 2020, making this yet another war Kristol waged from the sidelines and lost.) NeverTrumpers also failed to help Democrats run Trump out of the Oval Office, whether it was by promoting the egregious special counsel investigation into imaginary Russian collusion or supporting any and all empty calls for impeachment. They have not produced a detailed policy agenda to offer an alternative to Trumpism, only bromides about vague “principles.” (Read more.)

The Plan To Redistribute Wealth By Race

From The Federalist:
U.S. senators and 2020 presidential rivals Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) both announced new plans over the weekend for government to redistribute private wealth differently according to recipients’ race. Both announced these plans at a cultural and music festival hosted by Essence Magazine, a monthly magazine for African-American women. The festival attracted several high-profile speakers, including former first lady Michelle Obama and six 2020 White House hopefuls: Harris, Warren, U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX.), and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Harris and Warren took the opportunity to showcase new proposals aimed at government picking economic winners and losers according to race and sex. (Read more.)

How Jane Austen Found the Space to Write

From Women Writers:
The truth is I have written on the fly— in cafés and restrooms, on trains and planes, sometimes using improvised materials such as the backs of envelopes, theater programs, and once, when I got back to the car from a hike and realized I didn’t have the key or a piece of paper in my pocket, on a leaf. I will hasten to add, though, that while these moments have been fun and piquant, routine is my bread and butter. I like to write in the morning because that’s when my brain cells work best, at my desk with its view of trees and birds, wordless classical music on the radio, in a composition book, with a good fountain pen.

But do I need all that? Wouldn’t I still manage to write if I didn’t have the nice desk and the morning set aside? Wouldn’t it somehow magically get done? Over the years I’ve had to defend my working time from family, friends and co-workers who will one moment marvel at my productivity and the next look puzzled or hurt when I’m not free in the mornings or available for extra assignments. Isn’t writing something I can “just fit in”? What does a writer really need to write? 
Which brings me to Jane Austen. The famous picture of Jane Austen is of her craftily sneaking her writing time, scribbling in the corner of the parlor, hiding her pages when interrupted, and never shirking her housework. After her death, when the secret of her authorship was revealed to the world, her nephew James-Edward Austen-Leigh wrote in his memoir of his aunt, “She was careful that her occupation should not be suspected by servants, or visitors, or any persons beyond her own family party. 
She wrote upon small sheets of paper that could easily be put away, or covered with a piece of blotting paper. There was, between the front door and the offices, a swing door which creaked when it was opened; but she objected to having this little inconvenience remedied, because it gave her notice when anyone was coming” (Worsley 316). 
What a card, that Aunt Jane! Notice the elaborate explanation for a piece of household duty going undone. Certainly, she wouldn’t have neglected any other household chore for the sake of getting some writing done, only to keep strangers from knowing she was engaged in such an unladylike pastime. On her death, her brother James eulogized her with a little poem that ended: “They saw her ready still to share/The labours of domestic care” (Worsley 403). 
The picture that emerges is of a woman who wrote in the margins of life, the message being that writing is something that can be fitted into the corners and somehow done while simultaneously cross-stitching a sampler and baking the daily bread. In fact, the tiny table Jane wrote on is literally in a corner. This is a particularly damaging message for women writers: Surely if Jane Austen could write six masterpieces of English literature while stewing a posset, you can write your novel in between commuting to work and putting your six-year-old to bed. (Read more.)