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Marie-Antoinette as "Villainous"

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Marie-Antoinette as "Villainous"

Post  Mata Hari on Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:36 pm

It's upsetting. Here is a post from The Rambling Royalist.
http://samstarrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/bill-oreilly-slanders-martyred-queen-marie-antoinette/

And the Mad Monarchist:
http://madmonarchist.blogspot.com/2012/01/more-slander-from-murdoch-empire.html
MM says:
The subject at issue was a doctored satirical picture of Michelle Obama portrayed as the late Queen and the reaction of many Democrats that the picture was "racist". O'Reilly didn't think it was racist (nor do I) but he did think it was unfair to compare Mrs Obama to Marie Antoinette because the Queen was, in his words, a real "villain" and of course he brought up the old, "Let them eat cake" line which -as has been stated countless times- has been proven by eminent historians to be an absolute lie. This willing ignorance infuriates me to no end. If the comparison of Michelle Obama to Marie Antoinette was offensive or unfair to anyone it would be the late Queen herself. The Queen was as far from being a snob as anyone of her background could possibly be. She was not villainous, she was not uncaring and she died a pious and heroic death at the hands of godless, bloodthirsty traitors. I am not one of those monarchists who despises the United States or Americans on principle (some do, even American monarchists) and I even allow them their republican fussing because I know they can't really help it -to some extent they have to be that way or they have no reason to exist. However, I get fed to the teeth with this sort of drive-by royal bashing. It seems particularly outrageous when Americans (especially the ultra-patriotic sort) target King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette of France considering that without the intervention of His Most Christian Majesty the United States would almost certainly not exist at all.




Royal World:
http://royaltymonarchy.blogspot.com/2012/01/marie-antoinette-defamation-continues.html
I'm not sure which side is more ignorant and ridiculous: liberals who think that the main problem with a cartoon depicting Michelle Obama as Marie Antoinette is that it's "racist," or "conservatives" who think it clever to malign the martyred Queen in the first place. A plague on both their houses. (And people wonder why I refuse to participate in American politics!)

The cartoons also attempt to link President Obama with Louis XIV, or possibly Louis XVI, though it's not clear that their creators have any idea who either king was or what they looked like. As if the ignorance inherent in maligning Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) were not enough, the painting spoofed by "Gateway Pundit" and identified in the Mail article as one of her husband Louis XVI (1754-1793) actually depicts his great-great-great-grandfather Louis XIV (1638-1715), with whom I'm pretty sure Mr. Obama has nothing in common other than also being a head of state. But of course if the contemptible ignoramuses producing these defamatory images cared about such pesky details as historical facts, they wouldn't be producing them! It is supremely ironic for these disgusting liars to be labeled "right-wing," since that the whole ideological concept of the "Right" dates from the time of the French Revolution, when the Right were the defenders of the great French Monarchy.

As for that scum Bill O'Reilly who slandered Her Majesty as "villainous," truly there is no more pernicious pestilential pompous prick on television. Down with the evil Murdoch media and all its works!

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Re: Marie-Antoinette as "Villainous"

Post  Elena on Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:50 pm

Mata Hari wrote:It's upsetting.

I agree. affraid Sad

Here is a link to O'Reilly's ignorant statement:
http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bill-oreilly-defends-michelle-obama-from-comparisons-to-marie-antoinette/

My thoughts, here:
http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2012/01/villainous-marie-antoinette.html

Mr. Harvey of Royal World aptly expresses the disgust many admirers of Marie-Antoinette feel as the late queen is once more publicly degraded. The cartoons in question, which I will not have on this blog, are insulting to Mr. and Mrs. Obama and to Louis and Antoinette. Neither couple resembles each other in any way. When politicians and pundits have to sink to insults and ridicule in order to make their point it merely shows how bankrupt their agenda is. I wish they would focus on some of the vital issues at stake instead of throwing mud. To quote from Royal World:

The cartoons also attempt to link President Obama with Louis XIV, or possibly Louis XVI, though it's not clear that their creators have any idea who either king was or what they looked like. As if the ignorance inherent in maligning Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) were not enough, the painting spoofed by "Gateway Pundit" and identified in the Mail article as one of her husband Louis XVI (1754-1793) actually depicts his great-great-great-grandfather Louis XIV (1638-1715), with whom I'm pretty sure Mr. Obama has nothing in common other than also being a head of state. But of course if the contemptible ignoramuses producing these defamatory images cared about such pesky details as historical facts, they wouldn't be producing them! It is supremely ironic for these disgusting liars to be labeled "right-wing," since that the whole ideological concept of the "Right" dates from the time of the French Revolution, when the Right were the defenders of the great French Monarchy.
Political debate is a healthy part of the process; it can become heated but when it sinks to naked mockery then it shows the emptiness of the cause. As for Bill O'Reilly referring to Marie-Antoinette as "villainous" I can only say that I am appalled that someone so clueless is given so much air time. (I always thought Bill would do better sounding off in a bar than on prime time television.) The "villainous" Queen's charitable works are a matter of public record. She oversaw the upbringing of several needy children, whose education she paid for, while caring for their families. She established a home for unwed mothers, called the Maternity Society. During the famine of 1787-88, the royal family sold much of their flatware to buy grain for the people, and themselves ate the cheap barley bread in order to be able to give more to the hungry.

The King and Queen were patrons of the Maison Philanthropique, a society founded by Louis XVI which helped the aged, blind and widows. The Queen taught her daughter Madame Royale to wait upon peasant children, to sacrifice her Christmas gifts so as to buy fuel and blankets for the destitute, and to bring baskets of food to the sick. Marie-Antoinette took her children with her on her charitable visits. Every Sunday, Marie-Antoinette would personally take up a collection for the poor, which the courtiers resented since they preferred to have the money on hand for gambling. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette contributed a great deal throughout their reign to the care of orphans and foundlings. They patronized foundling hospitals, which the Queen often visited with her children. The king and queen did not see helping the poor as anything extraordinary, but as a basic Christian duty. The royal couple's alms-giving stopped only with their incarceration in the Temple in August 1792, for then they had nothing left to give but their lives.

(Sources: Memoirs of Madame de la Tour du Pin, Marguerite Jallut's and Philippe Huisman's Marie-Antoinette, Vincent Cronin's Louis and Antoinette, Antonia Fraser's The Journey, Madame Campan's Memoirs, Mémoires de madame la Duchesse de Tourzel, Maxime de la Rocheterie's The Life of Marie-Antoinette)

Here is a lovely post from Leah Marie Bron describing the Queen's generosity:
http://leahmariebrownhistoricals.blogspot.com/2012/01/marie-antoinette-wine-grower.html

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Marie-Antoinette and the Rumor Mill

Post  Mata Hari on Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:15 pm

Here is an interesting article from The Smart Set:

http://www.thesmartset.com/article/article10261001.aspx
Strong women rulers have always suffered violent attacks on their sexuality. To the Romans, Cleopatra was the lascivious “harlot queen,” a woman “whom her own slaves would grind.” In the Middle Ages, Isabel of England got the same treatment from her enemies, as did Catherine of Medici and Anne of Austria. Even Elizabeth I of England, the Virgin Queen who masterfully remained above the male fantasy mill, could not stem all rumors of her “uncontrollable female desires” and was thought to have been behind the riding-accident death of her longtime friend Robert Dudley’s wife.

But perhaps the most tragic victim was Marie Antoinette. From early in her rule, the Austrian-born queen inspired in her French subjects the most virulent misogyny. The market was flooded with whole libraries of violent pornography that depicted her as a wasteful and treacherous nymphomaniac who conducted orgies at Versailles, fornicated with cardinals and generals, and spied on France for the Austrians while satisfying her lusts. The most inventive, mock-serious work, Historical Essay on the Life of Marie-Antoinette hit the underground market in 1781 and was updated almost every year until her death, with vivid illustrations of the queen lifting her skirts for the entire male court. It was soon supplemented by Anandria, which depicted her in a lesbian love triangle with her ladies-in-waiting — the French having a particular obsession with the “German vice” — and sexually molesting her young son, the eight-year-old Dauphin.

This hallucinogenic strain of pornography might sound too extreme to have been taken seriously, but it resurfaced after the Revolution with concrete force as Marie-Antoinette was shuffled into ever more humiliating prisons. Her every public appearance was met with streams of abuse about her carnal desires; even a farewell to her most loyal friend, the Princess de Lamballe, who would soon end up on the guillotine, was reported in the press as a depraved lesbian embrace. The low point came at her trial in 1793, when the deposed queen — by now frail, pallid, and gray-haired — was accused before the packed court of committing incest with her son, the Dauphin. She and her aunt had supposedly slept with the boy between them and taught him to masturbate; in the pseudo-science of the day, this meant that the “Austrian harlot” had weakened the vigor and intellect of the heir to the French throne, a treasonable act to undermine la patrie.

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"Let Them eat cake"

Post  Mata Hari on Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:52 am

Gareth Russell takes the legend apart.

http://garethrussellpopular.blogspot.com/2012/02/did-marie-antoinette-really-say-let.html

One story in particular is often quoted to prove how out-of-touch with reality Marie-Antoinette really was. Bread was the main meal of France's poor, in much the same way as the potato was for Ireland's. When there was a bread shortage, the people therefore began to starve and to riot against the government. Hearing of the trouble, the young queen asked why the people were rioting; one of her servants answered that it was because the people had no bread. Marie-Antoinette shrugged and replied, "Then let them eat cake!" Living in a fifteen hundred room palace with over four hundred servants devoted to her every whim, Marie-Antoinette had absolutely no idea what life was like for ordinary people and she was so used to luxury that she just assumed that if poor people couldn't get bread, then they could snack on cake, like she did.

People still debate whether Marie-Antoinette said her cake comment because she was an idiot and thought peasants could afford the treats she could, or because she had a cruel sense of humour that found it funny that she had everything and the poor had nothing. Either way, "let them eat cake" is probably one of the most famous quotes in history and it's repeated hundreds of time every year in the world's media to highlight someone who's perceived as being too rich to function or too selfish to care about people less fortunate than themselves. But did Marie-Antoinette ever actually say it?

Well, it seems very unlikely given what we know of her actual personality. Years of propaganda have painted the Queen as a diamond-loving twit who didn't care about anything but her own amusement. It's true that she was extravagant and that her wardrobe was the stuff of legend (Vogue recently credited Marie-Antoinette's chief dressmaker with inventing the entire concept of haute couture.) But in fact, Marie-Antoinette was a generous patron of charity and other members of the royal family were often embarrassed or irritated by her habit of bursting into tears when she heard of the plight of the suffering poor. There's also a problem with dates. During Louis the Sixteenth's time as king, there was only one case of bread shortages in Paris and that was shortly after his coronation. Marie-Antoinette was eighteen at the time and when she heard about the people's unhappiness at the food situation, she wrote a letter about it back to her mother in Austria, in which she said, "We are more obliged than ever to work for the people's happiness. The King seems to understand this truth; as for myself, I know that in my whole life (even if I live for a hundred years) I shall never forget". Marie-Antoinette's personality therefore seems to have been the exact opposite of someone who would joke about the starving poor. It's also true that there were only severe food shortages once in Louis's reign and they were confined more or less to Paris.

There is even firmer evidence, however, that not only was Marie-Antoinette not the kind of girl to make a comment like "Let them eat cake," but she actually couldn't have. Not only was there no opportunity for her to do so, there are also some very interesting pieces of evidence from the time that prove she couldn't have said it. The story of a princess joking "let them eat cake" had actually been told many years before Marie-Antoinette ever arrived in France, as a young princess of fourteen in 1770. Her brother-in-law, the Count of Provence, who hated her, later said that he heard the story as a child, long before his brother ever married Marie-Antoinette. The count claimed that the version he heard was that the woman who made the comment had been his great-great-great grandmother, Maria-Teresa of Spain, who advised peasants to eat pie crust (or brioche) during bread shortages. A French socialite, the Countess of Boigne, said she'd heard that it had been Louis the Sixteenth's bitter aunt, Princess Victoria, and the great philosopher, Rousseau, wrote that he had heard the "let them eat cake" story about an anonymous great princess. Rousseau wrote this story in 1737 - eighteen years before Marie-Antoinette was even born!

If Marie-Antoinette didn't make the "joke," then how did it end up being associated with her for 200 years? Some historians think it's because the story had been going around for years, getting attributed to different royal women, but because Marie-Antoinette was the last Queen of France, it stuck with her. After her, there was nobody else to pin the story to. Others think that because the French Revolution was able to dress itself up as the force that brought freedom and equality to Europe, it had to justify its many acts of violence and terror. Executing Marie-Antoinette at the age of thirty-seven and leaving her two children as shivering, heart-broken orphans in the terrifying Temple prison, suggested that the Revolution was a lot more complicated than its supporters like to claimed. However, if Marie-Antoinette is painted as stupid, deluded, out-of-touch, spoiled and selfish, then we're likely to feel a lot less pity when it comes to studying her death. If that was the republicans' intention, then they did a very good job. Two hundred years later and the poor woman is still stuck with a terrible reputation, and a catchphrase, that she certainly doesn't deserve.

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