August 02, 2005

The Cotillion: Royal Flush Edition

I'm not the average girl from your video
I know I ain't built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen

"Video," India Arie

Okay, so maybe we've traditionally had a beef with royalty in the U.S. Maybe we even had some good reasons for that beef--like, say, taxation without representation, and having to put up smelly Limey soldiers in our humble little abodes and suchlike. Doesn't mean we can't celebrate truly royal women once in awhile, does it?

(We could start by celebrating the regal treatments co-hostesses Sissy Willis, Portia Rediscovered, and Kellipundit gave the Cotillion this week.)

But of actual queens, we don't lack examples. Some queens transcend mere royalty by virtue of being unforgettable, like Queen Esther of Persia:

Equally unforgettable: Sondra K. implores you to remember our military in this spectacular photo essay from Camp Remembrance in Iraq.


Queen Soraya Shah of Afghanistan used her influence to abolish slavery and restrict child marriage in her part of the world. In a time and locale in which women were, like children, considered better seen than heard, she provided a voice for liberty. Join Little Miss Attila on her trip to the Liberty Film Festival. I know what you're saying: "The what?" The Liberty Film Festival, that's what! Yes, there actually is one! And Attila Girl can tell you all about it.

Sometimes the pursuit of liberty requires speaking truth to power, and that's where Helen Thomas, intrepid White House reporter, comes in--at least, in her world. Mamamontezz has a somewhat different interpretation as she provides us with breaking Helen Thomas suicide watch news:

In a related story, one bystander was killed, and several mental health workers and an ambulance team were hospitalized this afternoon after a failed suicide intervention on Ms. Thomas.

"It was awful, like something from Jason and the Argonauts," claimed EMS worker Bartholomew Sandusky of Georgetown. "We thought we had her convinced that it was for her own good when suddenlly she turned on us. She pulled off that wig and there were vipers and... We didn't think we'd make it out alive."


That fair lassie above is Queen Margaret of Scotland, a woman devoted during her reign to feeding the hungry, particularly orphan children. Would that modern Britons felt such concern for the hungry, says MaxedOutMama, speaking on a recent U.K. court ruling:

In other words, it would be expensive to care for Leslie Burke, so Leslie Burke will be starved to death when he can no longer speak. He will be conscious and aware of his suffering.
Thank you, MaxedOutMama, for speaking out on an issue I'd like to see get more attention.

Also looking out for the little ones a la Margaret this week is Merri Musings, with a disturbing look at the efficacy--or lack thereof--of the sex-offender registry:

I have to say, perhaps we should leave [kidnapper Fernando Aguerro] in Mexico. He was already a convicted sex offender walking the streets in the U.S. Perhaps Mexico would actually *keep* him in prison. Oh, and Mexican jails aren't known for their amenities either. However, he could receive life in prison without parole if convicted of kidnapping here in the states. I'm not convinced that's realistic, given the rash of sex offender cases that have popped up where a child (or children!) ends up dying because a sex offender, even with multiple instances of molestation, is still walking the streets.
Hear, hear! There's a time for mercy and a time for justice, and when it comes to pedophile sex offenders, I vote for justice.

Next up is Beth of My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, one of the Head Honchonettes of the Cotillion. Shoot, how'm I gonna do justice to Miz Beth?

Obviously, we have to go with a Queen of Queens for this one:

And it's fitting enough: One wonders how Cleopatra would feel about the rise of terror and evil that has visited her former domain through Islam. Beth points to a piece by Michael Graham--a piece that has the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for Graham's resignation--that makes a very valid point: America would never tolerate this sort of muddled, sometimes-terrorism-is-okay talk from, say, the Boy Scouts. Beth includes a mighty list of contacts for those of you who feel moved to defend Graham's right to freedom of expression. What, you mean we can't just leave the defense of free speech to the ACLU?

Ah, the seemingly magical power some wicked men exercise over women--who does this remind me of? Right: A woman of royalty who took her own life rather than become unfaithful to her husband and her subjects:

Dido of Carthage

Not a Desperate Housewife wishes the last Tsar's wife, Alexandra, had resisted the lure of Rasputin:

Alexandra, the wife of Nicholas, was captivated by Rasputin. She felt as if he were sent by God to help with her dying son. Did she have a sexual relationship with him? Don't know. But in seeking to save her son she feel prey to a false prophet. The relationship that the Romanov family had with Rasputin was in part, the beginning of the end for the great czars of Russia. The Bolshevik revolution followed the assassination of the family and Stalin and his communist regime gained control.

This is a lesson in understanding the power sexual relationships have over us. It's a lesson that there is indeed evil in our world that often comes diquised as good.

Also on matters of faith and loyalty: Portia, meanwhile, wonders to whom some members of the British press have sworn their allegiance:

There have been a few strange stories regarding the London bombings, and the most comical I've seen was this one: "Ex-IRA Bomber Warns British Shoot-To-Kill Policy Only Provokes Terror." I could not stop giggling when I read this headline. I think that is one of the funniest statements I've read in a long time. The article is quite biased against the strategy of the British Police, as you could fully ascertain from the title. The number one source quoted in the article is a former murderer. Great reporting.
I'll remember this the next time a Brit wants to sneer at me that "plenty of you Yanks" supported the IRA. Listen, mate, your own press is sourcing the damn IRA.

Ever wonder where Bill Frist's loyalties lie? Over at Reasoned Audacity, Charmaine Yoest applies a dose of logic to Frist's recent statements on stem cell research, and finds his analogies, ah, conflicted:

In fact, the difference between an organ donor and an embryo is radically significant, but apparently the Majority Leader of the Senate, Dr. Bill Frist who is himself a heart transplant surgeon, thinks they are basically the same thing. In his speech to the Senate Friday morning which called for more federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, he began by implying that using embryos for scientific research is the same thing . . .
I admit I don't quite follow his reasoning myself. "Life begins at conception, except when it doesn't," is how I'm reading it.

Times of war demand warrior queens, of which one fine example is Zenobia of Palmyra:

And times of war call on us to search out and examine our priorities, as Right Thinking Girl has done recently in a snappy outline format.

Rightwingsparkle, on the other hand, has been forced by recent correspondence with Muslims overseas to wonder at the priorities of those whose first instincts are always to blame the Jews:

But I have to wonder how we deal with people who believe such nonsense? I mean A CABAL OF RICH JEWISH PEOPLE??????? It's like those suicides a few years back who believed that an alien ship was passing by as they died to pick them up.

We have become so obsessed with conspiracy theories in this world that if one was to actually occur, we might dismiss it.

Oy. Conspiracy theories are for entertainment purposes only, kids.

We'll wrap up with a personal favorite of mine, fearless Queen Marie of Romania:


In 1918, writing for The Century, William T. Ellis profiled Marie, Queen of Romania, as her nation prepared for war east and west. Marie truly earned her title of "Soldier Queen:"

In all the terrible days of last winter, when plague and death ravaged the remnant of Rumania, she visited the hospitals, going among the smitten ones, indifferent to infection. Always she rides about without an armed escort. Her laughing disdain of the anti­aircraft shrapnel which rained about us from the skies on the motor ride is of a piece with her complete disregard of all considerations of her personal safety. Two days after my visit with the queen at the Regina Maria Hospital I went to the front-line trenches, though with endless difficulty, because the commanders did not want an American killed while their guest. It chanced that I saw the very trenches where a few days earlier her Majesty had approached to within fifteen yards of the Prussians, so that her companions conversed with them, without betraying, of course, the presence of visitors. For a journalist the venture was right and proper, for it is in his day's work; but for the queen it was too grave a risk. The road by which she approached was under fire and torn by big shells. I found that she had gone not only into the first-line trench, but also out into the observation-posts. How constant is the peril was illustrated by the fact that when the Germans heard an officer and me talking, they exploded a hand-grenade to try to catch us. Yet on speaking to me of her visit to the front, the queen had mentioned only its interest, never its danger.
Danger? What danger? There's a time to be afraid, and a time to be brave, but some would have us choose the former every time. Sissy Willis names names for the upcoming Who's Who series on fearmongers in America:
Speaking of "simplistic thinking" and "deformed cravings for fame," you've probably heard about useful idiot Jane Fonda's plan for a "pretty exciting" road trip "to call for an end to U.S. military operations in Iraq." Encouraged by her cluelessness, Osama & Company are probably working on some plans of their own.
And that, we said dramatically, invoking the royal "We," is that.

Wait, but it isn't! There's still more dancing to be done at Kellipundit, Portia Rediscovered, and Sisu--or catch the whole affair at The Cotillion hub site, where all Cotillion merriment is eventually cross-posted, documented for future generations, and harvested for use in the drafting of royal edicts.

Posted by Ilyka at August 2, 2005 06:07 AM

Tot one vote up to Marie of Romania being one of the most unforgettable Queens in history (and with good reason).

I have read thousands of memoirs in my life, and few, very few indeed, come up to the level of The Story of My Life, simply in terms of honesty, originality mixed with narcissism in good doses each.

And it's a curious commentary on a different world of today that she and her grandmother, Queen Victoria, both published two book of memoirs a piece about their lives, but imagining the present Queen, the great-great granddaughter of the latter, doing the same, is almost unthinkable.

Nice blog. I'm sorry there are not that many commentaries here despite the Instalanche, but the piece and the photos were excellent.


Posted by: Victoria at August 3, 2005 12:13 AM

I cannot believe that you neglected the memorable Boadecia. Hell hath no fury and all that. :-)

Posted by: Todd at August 3, 2005 07:55 PM