Marie-Antoinette’s Tree Goes Boom

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Marie-Antoinette’s Tree Goes Boom

Marie-Antoinette's been dead for 215 years but her legend as spendthrift fashionista indifferent to peasants' misery lives on in metaphor for the current crop of bloated, corrupt, fuck-you-I-earned-this-over-the-top-bonus-because-well-
because-I-say-I-did financiers who see nothing amiss in their million-dollar office remodel being paid for by homeless taxpayers.

You know their names, these guys who made money out of money without creating anything of value, snookered billions from millions and have yet to apologize for anything to anyone. Apologize? Why should they apologize? Isn't money the ultimate test of success? Didn't they make more money than anyone else? I don't see a problem, do you see a problem?


Even Barbie wants to look like Marie-Antoinette.

At least Marie-Antoinette took a personal interest in the fabrication of gorgeous silks and porcelaine and furniture. Limoges, Gobelins, Sèvres, anyone? At least she insured the robust health of the trades that became industries and still create revenue and reputation for la Belle France. She also was actually Queen, a devout Catholic and, for all she knew, had a divine right to do whatever-the-fuck-she-pleased within the limits of her job description.

These guys, on the other hand, inhabit the post-Revolutionary age. What's their excuse? They're in it for themselves. Their loyalties extend to... what, who? Not the country, not the currency, not their clients. They couldn't care less about Congress, their fellow citizens. The grief, the suicides, the bank failures worldwide? Qu'ils mangent de la brioche! (Let 'em eat doughnuts!)

Marie-Antoinette invested in infrastructure: she gave the most gifted artisans and artists steady employment creating beautiful objects and décor everyone in the world immediately wanted a piece of. How much did she cost France? A drop in the bucket compared to war. War ruined France. Even today, this verity isn't broadcast. Aesthetics don't bring down empires; dealing death and destruction does.

Marie-Antoinette was a figurehead, a role model, a trendsetter. A devoted wife and mother, she also... wait for it... liked women. She chose a woman as court painter. The passionate attachment of her favorites to the Queen gave rise to rumors of sapphic proclivities. When the Revolution needed a scapegoat, lesbianism was used to defame her. As things heated up, the Princesse de Lamballe's head was stuck on a pike and brandished at her window in hopes she'd catch a glimpse. Well, that's what happens when you let people starve in the streets. Davos, listen up.


Marie-Antoinette's faux farm, where she fantasized the peasant's life.

Marie-Antoinette is also in the news because a purple beech tree planted at Versailles in 1789 fell down in a storm that killed a few dozen people in France and Spain last week. The tree, part of the faux farm where she used to play shepherdess, was 80 feet tall with a 70-foot canopy. Top-heavy, with roots that were rotten. Spot the metaphor.

Comments [67]

Fastgurrrl's picture

Yonks & Dornac, you two are

Yonks & Dornac, you two are ADORABLE! Kiss-kiss! =)

Tex's picture

That Barbie would go well

That Barbie would go well with Rusty's avatar doll......

Match made in heaven,


Twitter Time @kdhales

simei's picture

strange then, I saw a food

strange then, I saw a food documentary: "France on a Plate" I think it was called, that specifically mentioned that brioche calls for a lot less flour - and made this observation about bread/brioche/marie I wish I could remember the name of the fellow who produced the film...

he points out that it is a different marie who supposedly uttered the phrase about brioche, anyway.

maybe you could send him your recipe

Allegra's picture

The tree was planted at the

The tree was planted at the year of French Revolution and the fact that fell down now which the whole world is collapsing gives us a specific message

lmz's picture

... and she betrayed her best

... and she betrayed her best friend Mme de Lamballe for the youngest Mme de Polignac. Mme de Lamballe stayed loyal. She could have fled but she chose to support the king (and the queen) party and died for it.

a beautiful tragic personal story but meaningless for French people qui avait d'autres chats à fouetter et qui a toujours d'autres chats à fouetter.


Dornac's picture

Yes I did. Thanks. Shnop! ;*

Yes I did. Thanks.

yonks's picture

but you can take a look at

but you can take a look at the guess

I will dig further for it

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

Dornac's picture

In fact, Rousseau said it

In fact, Rousseau said it first in "Les Confessions" (1778), he was talking about a rich woman :
« je me rappelai le pis-aller d’une grande princesse à qui l’on disait que les paysans n’avaient pas de pain, et qui répondit : Qu’ils mangent de la brioche. J’achetai de la brioche. » (Livre sixième : 1736)

Dornac's picture

No, brioche requires a lot of

No, brioche requires a lot of flour and butter. It is (and has always been) more expensive than bread.

Dornac's picture

Thank you, you are my

Thank you, you are my favorite skunk!

(but I can't see it, hum...)

yonks's picture

I'v find the link but they

I'v find the link but they remove the video Sad

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

simei's picture

"Let them eat brioche" did

"Let them eat brioche"
did you know: apparently brioche require less flour than bread - therefore, Marie-Antoinette offered a more feasible alternative for a time of flour shortage...

yonks's picture

Mather of living in another

Mather of living in another world, i saw a debate on french television about france who sell weapon to africa.

There was a guy who was a weapon seller but now in retirement. He was talking about how french politician get money on that business. then, he became furious: how do you think someone feel when he did all the job, did the phones call, take a night flight and waiting for hours on a chair and knowing that some guy in france was getting a percentage while didn't do anything!

And the moderator look at him astonish: but your talking about weapons who kill thousand of peoples...

I have to search on the net to see if i can get the video

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

Dornac's picture

Just yesterday, I went to

Just yesterday, I went to visit one of my student having a professional training in an office in Monceau (rich area of Paris).
She is living in a rather poor area, and had this opportunity thanks to her mother who is doing household at a bourgeois' house.
-" that's interesting for you to see this world, it's another world isn't it?" I asked her
-" yes, it's another world" she said.
The boss asked:
"so, your highschool is a racaille's school? (racaille=scum)
she smiled, as I did, and we answered:
Later, I told him that I used to be an urbanist.
-" Why did you change job?" he asked me.
-"I didn't agree politics : they want to destroy buildings but they don't want to give money to social actions and rich towns refuse to build social buildings".
- "so, these poor towns "se sont fait avoir" (were diddled) by all these scums, can't they make them go away?" he said
- "where do you want to put them? They have to live somewhere. We must help them, don't we?"
- "But -he insisted- these people must go away..." My student and I were freezed.
I changed subject. He is living in another world. He doesn't even know how far from other realities he is. He just wants to get rid of poor people who have problems, and that's all.

My students also live in another world. Most of them can't imagine how much rich people they give money to despise them.

conlite's picture

"Let them eat doughnuts!" -

"Let them eat doughnuts!" - Great metaphors all round!

Why are western governments getting worked up about spending billions on bailouts/stimulus packages when they spend those same billions every couple of months on a dozen unresolved wars around the world?
End the wars, save the economy?
Is the right question "Should we police the world?", or "Can we afford to police the world?"
Spending it on art instead sounds like a wonderful solution.

yonks's picture

Well, the doughnuts quote is

Well, the doughnuts quote is assume by everyone but once again, who can tell for sure? maybe it was just propaganda?
I think that the french revolution was more a money revolution, some fuck-you-i-own-the-ship-who-get-slave-in-africa-who-send-them-to-america-and-who-came-back-in-europe-full-of-fur-and-gold-so-i-deserve-to-take-the-power-because-i-said-so. How come france was so poor when incredible amount of wealth continually cames in via the triangular trade?
Monarchy wasn't override by democracy.

The rest of it is just a child tell. with a villain witch who do nothing but walk around in nice dresses, villain extremists who want to organize election (for man only) and abolish slavery.

i think i'm gonna cry.

-Do not follow me, I'M LOST-

Grace Moon's picture

Thankfully Le Brun escaped

Thankfully Le Brun escaped the revolution with her head intact, and i believe continued to paint throughout her long life.

Viva l'Artiste!

tweet tweet @gracemoon