URLs du Jour

2020-06-24

  • Matthew Fraser writes at Quillete about Marie Antoinette: Figure of Myth, Magnet for Lies. The way things are going, it might be utterly relevant to America's future.

    “Let them eat cake.”

    It’s one of the most famous remarks in history—an instantly recognizable catchphrase to convey haughty indifference to the misfortune of others. And we all know who said it and why: It was Marie Antoinette (1755–1793), the queen whose life was claimed by the French Revolution, dismissing news that the peasants were starving due to the high price of bread.

    In the original French, the Queen allegedly said, Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!, which doesn’t quite translate to “let them eat cake.” Brioche is sweet, eggy bread that tastes only vaguely like cake. The translated English word “cake” made Marie Antoinette seem even haughtier than in French. But it’s beside the point, since Marie Antoinette never uttered “let them eat cake” in any language. There is no historical evidence that she ever uttered that phrase. The story is pure invention. It’s a historical legend that rivals the myth of Nero “fiddling” while Rome burned. And yet this outlandish fabrication has shaped our image of Marie Antoinette for more than two centuries.

    [Amazon Link]

    Mr. Fraser does a good job, both of tracing this slander to its origins and outlining Marie's fate. It's an excerpt from his recent book, Amazon link at right, which I've put on my get-at-library list.

    Our Eye Candy du Jour is not Marie herself, but just something that pops up when you search for "Marie Antoinette" on Getty Images. It's "fashion pose of a woman in a marie antoniette look". Good enough for me.


  • Our own "let them eat cake" incidents are flying thick and fast, the most recent being the noose that NASCAR said was hanging in the stall being used by black driver Bubba Wallace. The upshot (we'll go with Power Line for the link): No Noose

    And let me add to that: "… is Good Noose."

    When a major crime is committed like a rope found lying around in a garage stall, the FBI is on it in a matter of hours. The FBI has now completed its investigation. It turns out that the “noose” was a garage door pull rope that had been in the stall since at least last year, long before it was occupied by the team to which Bubba Wallace belongs.

    Unfortunately, Bubba wants to retain his victimhood, don't confuse him with the facts.

    And it doesn't matter if Marie never said "Let them eat cake". It's something she might have said. Or she might have been thinking about saying it. Or she might have retweeted something from someone who said it a decade earlier. Perhaps in blackface.


  • And decades of racial progress have brought us to the point where news like this fails to shock: Oregon County Issues Coronavirus Mask Mandate, But Only For White People

    Lincoln County, Oregon health officials issued a mandatory mask directive last week that exempts non-white people from wearing face coverings in an effort to avoid racial profiling.

    Lincoln County (I looked it up) is (surprisingly) a Covid-19 hotspot with 584 cases per 100K population, the second-highest rate in Oregon. Given that people of non-pallor are supposed to be most at-risk, this seems puzzling.

    But trying to make sense of our panicky times is a fool's errand. I'll try to avoid doing that.


  • At Reason, Jacob Sullum looks at Breonna Taylor and the Moral Bankruptcy of Drug Prohibition

    Last Friday, three months after Louisville, Kentucky, police officers gunned down a 26-year-old EMT and aspiring nurse named Breonna Taylor during a fruitless drug raid, acting Police Chief Robert Schroeder initiated the termination of Detective Brett Hankison, who he said had "displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life" when he "wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds" into Taylor's apartment. But Hankison's recklessness is just one element of the circumstances that led to Taylor's senseless death, which never would have happened if politicians did not insist on using violence to enforce their pharmacological prejudices.

    The March 13 shooting, which has figured prominently in recent protests against police brutality, followed a sadly familiar pattern. Hankison and two other plainclothes officers broke into Taylor's home around 12:40 a.m., awakening her and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who mistook the armed invaders for robbers.

    Breonna was black, the cops were white. That shouldn't matter.


  • And good news from WalletHub, which has provided us with 2020’s Most Patriotic States in America.

    In order to determine where Americans have the most red, white and blue pride, WalletHub compared the states across 13 key indicators of patriotism. Our data set ranges from the state’s military enlistees and veterans to the share of adults who voted in the 2016 presidential election to AmeriCorps volunteers per capita.

    You'll never guess which state wound up in first place!

    OK, so maybe you will.

    Yes, it's New Hampshire. You can't argue with science, friends. Followed by Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska?

    Which reminds me of a joke: "If Mrs. Sippi and Miss Ouri each wore a brand New Jersey, then what did Della wear? Idaho, Alaska." Haw!

    Least patriotic, from the bottom up: New Jersey, New York, California, and … Texas?! Texas, what the hell?