Messages are important, and advertising is vital in conveying messages. I do not wish to dwell on the history of such activities, but when we think of advertising, we think of persuasion and attraction; luring the viewer towards the subject matter of said advertisement.
As a result, we (sadly) have advertising on television (as if televisions weren’t bad enough). In the past, iconic adverts have included gorillas playing the drums or memorable lines from Hastings Direct. Have they ever changed anything or produced anything substantial within the UK? I would argue no, not really.
Typically, in the West, government and private business messages on social issues tend to be negative. We see adverts of smokers with cancerous growths and drink driving victims. The ‘world of you’ is incomplete without a specific item and you need it to become complete. The shock factor of such messages intends to make the audience fearful of the consequences of such behaviours.
Additionally, Western adverts which touch on important issues comes across as painfully inauthentic, superficial, and twee. This is likely compounded by a heightened awareness of forcing major issues into such a short space of time for televisions. I assume this is because such adverts are made not for the viewers but for the creators themselves, mirroring most modern media in recent years.
In contrast, one country has used a different means of spreading its message, utilising comedy and the heartfelt. Although funny adverts exist all over the world (most notoriously in Japan), it is the health adverts found in Thailand which do the most wonders.
This being all being said, what has any of this got to do with Thailand its own adverts? Thailand has problems with alcohol, it ranks among the highest in the world and the highest within Asia. Britain has alcohol problems too, all of which have their own effects and subsequent advertising campaigns. What is interesting is how both nations advertise differently to their respective populations. Thai adverts tend to be more friendly, less intense and hit home for the audience. All these things considered, I’m of the view that they’re more effective than UK adverts.
Perhaps the most famous Thai advert is this anti-drinking advert, found here. What is the most interesting is that it is weirdly powerful in nature. We see an individual go from being a alcohol-induced wreck to becoming a functioning member of society in the space of a minute.
It is done in a funny yet logically coherent way. There is no great shock value, no negativity, it is all laid out for the viewer to understand and enjoy. Moreover, the greater emphasis on becoming productive, not just for yourself nor your family, but most importantly your nation. The time you spend drinking could be used to tackle the issues facing your life and getting ahead of things. These actions aggregate into a big societal change occurring; a change occurring from one action.
Contrast this to the harsh and brutal actions taken in UK television adverts regarding alcoholism and related issues. We see botched and broken bodies that shock daytime viewers, yet none of them seem to be memorable or affect us in a long-lasting and meaningful way. There is no positive message nor spin that can be used to reach further to the viewers. In short, what this shows is that of the major cultural divide between how both nations approach not just raising awareness of such issues, but what can be done about it.
Another good example which evokes the heartfelt can be found within this life insurance advert. Again, we see this attitude of avoiding the negative and instead we see the aggregate effects of one man’s actions uplifting the society which surrounds him. The style may be different to that of the aforementioned ‘comedic’ type of adverts, but the messages remain the same. We see a singular man do minor actions which help society at a much larger scale.
This sits in sharp contrast to the types of adverts that are commonly seen in the UK. Most life insurance adverts are reductive. We see some random adult sat at the dining table talking to a suspiciously non-Indian call centre worker about being a non-smoker and the cost of insurance for a newly parented couple.
Above all else, what is propagated is a certain cultural attitude that is reflected within the nation. Generally speaking, this can be summarised as being that of Greng Jai (เกรงใจ). In short, Greng Jai means to be kind and considerate. This, in part, plays in the stereotype of being friendly and smiley in nature. This itself has many different problems which I will talk about in future articles.
However, the nature of Greng Jai, when played out in the role of advertising, presents the core functional difference. When negative and positive messages are presented, it is the positive messages which most effectively conveys the core message of the advertisement. Our ability to address certain issues need not be simplified nor brutalised.
In summary, the potential to learn from how various countries from around the world and how they spread, and promote certain messages to the population at large, remains important. Additionally, it remains important to develop a deeper understanding of how other nations handle themselves when presented with certain issues.
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Slavophilism: The Russian Model for Anglo ConservativesBy Jake Scott — 3 months ago
‘The idea is like a pair of glasses on our nose through which we see whatever we look at. It never occurs to us to take them off’Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
We are all Blairites now. It is a horrible thought, especially to those of us who despise the Blairite constitutional project: from gutting the Lords to the creation of the devolved assemblies, and the paradoxical tension between the move towards localism and the edictal erasure of British ways of life. The sad reality is that we live in Blairite Britain, more than we live in Thatcherite Britain.
Such a thought, as uncomfortable as it is, must be the starting point of all conservative discussions, whether they are concerned with strategy, identity, or even over what we aim to ‘conserve’, because we can only begin to know where to go by knowing where we are. David Foster Wallace once gave a talk to a graduating class in which he told the following story:
There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “morning boys, how’s the water?” and the two young fish swim on for a bit and eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “what the hell is water?”
The story is intended to remind us of a simple truth: that the most obvious realities are the hardest to talk about, because they are so essential and taken for granted in our daily lives. Blairism is the cultural water we swim in, and the current that drives us inexorably towards the next crisis we cannot resolve, because Blairism holds the conflictual beliefs that government should be in every part of our lives, but that it should be so completely and utterly impotent. Think about how difficult it is to do anything in modern Britain, but that you absolutely must do it whilst holding the hand of the government.
Regardless of Blairism’s inherent contradictions, we must not ignore the tide, even if only to swim against it. How do we do this? In Modern Culture, Sir Roger Scruton wrote that we cannot
return to a pre-Enlightenment world because the Enlightenment is so inherent to how we think about society, Man, government, culture and so on. Even those of us who are believers in faith must accept that the draperies were torn down; but only by realising they were torn down can you put them back up. So, rather than deny the legacies of the Enlightenment, Sir Roger says, we must accept that they are with us, and instead ‘live as if it matters eternally what we do: to obey the rites, the ceremonies and the customs that lend dignity to our actions and which lift them above the natural sphere’.
The philosophical movement that took this lesson to heart the most, in my opinion, was the Romantics. They did not pretend that the legacies of the Enlightenment were so easily eradicable nor so easily deniable; instead, they accepted that they lived in a changed world, but sought to use that change to re-suture man’s relationship with himself, to correct the deficiencies of the Enlightenment and the empty rationalism that it loved so irrationally.
The Romantic movement, by virtue of its own logic, was not universalist. The Enlightenment sought to be universal, to find laws and rules that governed Man in every circumstance and every place; but Romanticism, in reaction, favoured particularism, rootedness, and the cultural significance of place and people. In fact, so many of the nationalist movements of the nineteenth century owed more to the Romantics than they did to the Enlightenment (but again, only in the sense that the Enlightenment showed us that all humans are deserving of dignity and respect, they just choose to express that dignity in varied ways).
One such example of Romanticism that has always fascinated me emerged in Russia in the 1830s, more than anything because I believe that Russia then holds a multitude of lessons for Britain now. Early-nineteenth century Russia experienced what could only be described as an existential crisis: the Napoleonic Wars had damaged Russia’s understanding of herself as the great military power of Eastern Europe, and brought many ideas of universal brotherhood into contact with a society that did not even have the intellectual framework to accommodate such thoughts. But the crisis went deeper: as much as one hundred and fifty years before, Russian society was shaken by external ideas, more than any invasion could have hoped for, under the Reforms of Tsar Peter the Great. The Petrine Era of Russia saw cultural changes from the top – governmental reforms, military reforms, and technological innovation, much of which modernised Russia and made her into a Great Power; but these changes did not go unquestioned. In fact, many of the influential groups in Russia rebelled, sometimes violently, as in the Moscow Rising of the Streltsy in 1698.
The legacy of Peter’s reforms, however, were not felt until much later. Of course, all major cultural and social changes take time to really be felt at all, but the ‘short eighteenth century’ was a time of such rapid and dislocating change – across all of Europe, but especially in Russia – that many generations found themselves intellectually and culturally cut adrift from those who came immediately before them. Peter, pursuing a programme of Westernisation insisted, for instance, that the Russian court speak French, a language thought of as ‘intellectual’ (with good reason); dress like the Prussian court; rationalised the military along the Western European lines; built an entirely new town on a North Italian design (St. Petersburg – of course); and, in one of my favourite little quirks of history, outlawed beards in that city’s borders.
Cultural issues grow like pearls grow – a single grain of sand works its way into a mollusk, and irritates the mollusk in such a way that bacteria and calcium grows around it. Cultural changes irritate the social fabric of the community it works into; but we don’t have bacteria to grow around it, we only have each other. Yet we can understand cultural issues in the same way as a pearl – an irritant works its way in, and we grow that irritant into a recognisable tangible entity, by coalescing around it and growing it in such a way that it becomes instantly recognisable.
This is what led to the Slavophiles. Petrine Russia thought it was undefeatable – and from the Great Northern War onwards, it very much was – until Napoleon came roaring in. But the Napeolonic Wars did two things for Russia, both with the same outcome; the first was importing many ideas into Russia that challenged the existing understanding of Russian political and social structures; the second was, in the same way Soviet soldiers pushed Nazi Germany back into Europe, Petrine soldiers followed Napoleon back into Europe. In both instances, educated Russian men saw the way Europeans lived, and realised that their society was not the improved form that their reforming leaders dreamt of.
And just as with a grain of sand in a pearl, the cultural dislocation of Peter’s reforms that had long irritated the reactionary elements of eighteenth-century Russia, was seized on by many of the early-nineteenth century intelligentsia as a means of explaining the situation in which they had found themselves. This fermented a series of backlashes, intellectual and cultural, that led to an explosion of political movements, such as the terrorists, the socialists, the populists (narodniki), and – most importantly – the Slavophiles. The Slavophiles looked at the state of Russia in the 1830s and considered the Petrine reforms to be an unmitigated failure: they had not kept Russia at pace with the rest of Europe; they had dislocated the cultural and social elites from the people over whom they ruled; and worst of all, they had severed the Russian people from their own past. Peter the Great had made the mistake of proto-enlightenment liberalism, that there were universal standards of humanity against which peoples’ behaviours, cultures and laws could be judged, and in doing so, he had not attempted to “reform” Russia’s venerable history, but deny its very existence, and begin from scratch.
Instead, the Slavophiles urged a return to pre-Petrine, Muscovite-style Russianism, an embracing of folk styles, food, clothing, language, and so on – not to petrify them into a living museum of nostalgia, but to rectify the mistakes of the previous century, and offer an alternative direction into the future. This precipitated many of the following century’s movements: for instance, the emphasis on the folk of Russia encouraged the nascent populism into radicalism; the embracing of the Russian commune form of land management gave Russian socialism a concrete model from which to work; and the idea of Russia taking an entirely unique path of development to Europe created the intellectual condition for Lenin and the communists to believe Russia could “leapfrog” past the bourgeois liberalism of the continent and move straight to socialism. This is not to say the Slavophiles were socialists – to even say so is to misunderstand the subtle relativism that denies such universalist theories in itself. Indeed, many Slavophiles were ardent absolute monarchists, with the famous Memorandum to the Tsar by Alexei Aksakov in 1831 claiming that Russia’s unique place in history stems from its Orthodox Christianity, the invitation by the Kievan Rus to the Varangians to rule them, and the steppes shaping the Russian mindset to one of boundless opportunism (something that Berdayev later used as a comparison to the American prairies and Manifest Destiny).
The consequences of the Slavophile movement might not be palatable, but their inspiration is something that Anglo conservatives need to pay attention to. Their movement began by an important moment of clarity: the political reforming project of the previous age had failed. It is no secret that the emerging conservatism in Britain despises the Blairite consensus, and in many ways that means we are already doing as the Slavophiles did: only by recognising that we are in Blairite Britain can we undo its disastrous effects. But we need to go further; we cannot simply throw our hands up and accept Blairism as the present condition of Britain, but we need to see it for what it truly is. It is a complete and utter separation of Britain from our past, a denial of that past’s validity, and an attempt to create a new political identity on entirely alien lines.
Moving into the future requires acceptance of the present circumstance; one of the silliest phrases is that the clock cannot be wound back, when the truth is, if the clock is showing the wrong time, it is imperative that you wind it back. And just as taking the wrong turn and continuing down the wrong path will only get you further from where you want to go, so too must you turn back. We are all Blairites now; and just as alcoholics have to admit they’ll never recover from their alcoholism, we have to admit we will likely never recover from Blairism, but will always “be” recovering.
But I do not want to be defeatist; the first step of recovery is acceptance. We need to accept that we live in Blairite Britain, and only then can we begin tearing it apart. We need to start ripping out its core parts: the communications act (2003); the equality act (2010); the Supreme Court; the devolved assemblies; the abolition of the hereditary aristocracy; the fox hunting ban; the smoking ban; in short, all of the components of a foreign way of life that have been foisted upon the British people by our own misguided maniacal reformers. It is time to go to war; but you can only do that if you accept the war is already going on.
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Consorts (Part 2)By Sarah Stook — 1 month ago
Eleanor of Aquitaine
● Life: c.1122-1st April 1244
● Reigned: 19th December 1154-6th July 1189
● Spouse(s): Louis VII of France (m.1137), Henry II (m.1152)
● Children: Two with Louis VIII, eight with Henry Il including Richard I and John
● Parents: William X, Duke of Aquitaine and Aénor de Châtellerault
● Origin: France
Early Life: Eleanor of Aquitaine was born in around 1122 in Poitiers, France. Her parents were William X, Duke of Aquitaine and Aénor de Châtellerault. Eleanor was extraordinarily well-educated, even more so than royal men at the time. She not only learned domestic skills, but her curriculum ranged from language and arithmetic to history and astronomy. The death of her brother and mother led her to become her father’s heir.
William died in 1137, leaving Eleanor the wealthiest girl in Europe at only fifteen. She held more lands than even the King of France. William had been worried about Eleanor being unprotected so made Louis VI of France her protector. Louis knew that Eleanor could bring a lot of wealth to the crown, so decided to marry her off. His eldest son Philip had died several years before so second son Louis had become his heir.
Marriages and Children: Eleanor married Prince Louis on 25th July 1137. They had two daughters, Marie and Alix. Both married noblemen. Whilst Louis was initially besotted with Eleanor, tensions soon rose and their marriage became unstable. The failure of the Crusades, Louis’ weaknesses, Eleanor’s headstrong nature and the lack of sons allowed the marriage to crumble.
Eleanor married Henry II in 1152, only weeks after her annulment. Their marriage was also turbulent and would eventually lead to Eleanor overthrowing her husband.
Her relationship with her children was somewhat better. Eleanor favoured her son Richard above the others but was close enough to each of them. She was able to closely monitor the upbringing of her daughters and ensure the marriages of her children. Richard trusted her enough to be regent whilst being away from England- he only spent six months in his kingdom during his ten year reign.
Pre-Reign and Queenship: They were Duke and Duchess of Aquitaine for about a week before discovering that the King had died. Eleanor chafed in the dull Paris castle that was now her residence, but found that the besotted Louis did anything she asked. She would use that to her advantage.
Louis soon became embroiled in war and scandal. His actions caused the death of thousands and the destruction of land. In 1145, the pair embarked on a Crusade. It was an absolute disaster and Eleanor started pushing for an annulment. The birth of a second daughter left Louis with no sons. Whilst the infertility of a spouse was grounds for annulment, having no sons wasn’t. Instead, they asked for an annulment on grounds of consanguinity as they were third cousins. This worked in 1152 and their daughters were under their father’s custody.
Concerned about her position, Eleanor decided to marry Henry, Duke of Normandy. This pleased Henry, as he was ready to be King of England and needed all the support he could get. They married on the 18th May 1152. Eleanor bore their first child, Henry, less than a year later.
In 1154, King Stephen died and Henry became Henry II. Despite having eight children together, Henry and Eleanor frequently argued. Henry was frequently unfaithful and had bastard children, with Eleanor swinging between annoyed and indifferent. One major conflict occurred when Eleanor was unhappy with the appointment of Thomas Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury. Eleanor was supported by her mother-in-law the Empress Matilda, a formidable woman in her own right.
The chroniclers of the time do not mention Eleanor’s political involvement but one would assume she had her say, despite being consistently pregnant. In 1167, Eleanor moved to Poitiers with her youngest son John. She was over forty at this point and having five sons meant that the succession was secure. Henry escorted her there.
It is said that Eleanor created the idea of Courtly Love whilst in Poitiers but there is no evidence for this. It is known that she encouraged music, literature and the arts. This era of peace ended in 1173 when her son Henry the Young King decided to rebel against his father. He travelled to Eleanor and encouraged his brothers to join him. This year and a half long rebellion ended in disaster.
Eleanor was captured by her husband and brought to England. She spent the next sixteen years as a prisoner. Whilst she was kept comfortably and enjoyed many luxuries, she was still a prisoner. Eleanor was allowed to move somewhat freely after the death of Henry the Young King but always had a ‘chaperone’ with her.
Post-Queenship: Henry II died on the 6th July 1189. Richard, Eleanor’s favourite son, was now king and had her released. With Richard away in England for all but six months, Eleanor was trusted to run the kingdom. She raised the ransom for Richard when he was captured in 1192. When Richard died, Eleanor was tasked with marrying off her granddaughters.
Eleanor retired to a convent before her death in 1204. She’d lived until her 80s, extremely unusual for the time. Eleanor had outlived all but her two of her children as well as both husbands. She is buried with her husband and Richard.
Personality: As a person, Eleanor was extremely intelligent, academic, strong-willed and headstrong. Her toughness outshone the weakness of her husbands. Eleanor was a good mother to her children but was ready to anger her husbands. She was a trusted ruler in her own right.
Legacy: Eleanor of Aquitaine is remembered as one of the most famous Queens of England. Her push to overthrow her husband did fail, but her strength is remembered. She has been commemorated on stage and screen, most famously by Katharine Hepburn in The Lion of Winter. Two of her sons would become King and her daughters married into nobility.
Margaret of France
● Life: 1158-18th September 1197
● Reigned: 27th August 1172-11th June 1183
● Spouse(s): Henry the Young King (m.1170), Béla III of Hungary (m.1186)
● Children: William with Henry the Young King
● Parents: Louis VIII of France and Constance of Castile
● Origin: France
Early Life: Margaret was born sometime in 1158 to Louis VIII of France and Constance of Castile. Her father had previously been married to Eleanor of Aquitaine so she shared half-sisters with her future husband. Louis cared deeply for his wife Constance and was devastated by her death, but married again only a month later as he’d been desperate for a son.
The birth of Louis’ son and Margaret’s half-brother worried Henry II, so he had his son Henry betrothed to Margaret.
Marriages and Children: Henry and Margaret married in around 1170. When Henry was crowned Junior King in 1170, she was not crowned with him. This infuriated Louis, so Henry II had Margaret crowned in 1120 to pacify him.
We know little of Henry and Margaret’s relationship. It’s believed Henry may have wanted an annulment in regards to her apparently infertility. What they were like as a couple is unknown.
Margaret bore one child, William, when she was about nineteen. He died a few days later. His birth seemingly left Margaret unable to have any more children.
Margaret remarried in 1186 to Béla III of Hungary. We do not know what their relationship was like.
Queenship: Henry was never officially king, so Margaret was classed as a Junior Queen. Rumours circulated that she was having an affair but this is highly unlikely. We know next to nothing about her reign and it doesn’t look as though she had any real power.
Margaret was widowed in 1183.
Post-Queenship: Margaret, still young, married in 1186. Her new husband was Béla III of Hungary, making her the Queen of Hungary. She bore him no children though he already had heirs, so it was not as important. He died after ten years of marriage. Margaret died a year later aged about thirty-nine. She is buried in the Cathedral of Tyre, Lebanon, though it no longer stands.
Personality: With almost no historical records, we know nothing of Margaret as a person.
Legacy: Again, lack of records means that Margaret has no lasting impact. Many do not know that she was even a Queen (kind of). As she had no living children, she is not an ancestor of any royals.
Berengaria of Navarre
● Life: c.1165-1170-23rd December 1230
● Reigned: 12th May 1191-6th April 1199
● Spouse: Richard I (m.1191)
● Children: None
● Parents: Sancho VI of Navarre and Sancha of Castile
● Origin: Spain
Early Life: Berengaria was born between 1165 and 1230 to Sancho VI of Navarre and Sancha of Castile. She was the eldest of six children. There is no information on her early life so we do not know anything about it. The only thing we know is that Berengaria met her future husband Richard at a tournament years before their betrothal.
Marriage: Richard’s mother Eleanor of Aquitaine promoted an alliance with Navarre due to its strategic locations. He had been engaged to the sister of the French king, but his own father had taken her as a mistress so the engagement was broken off. Alys, the princess, was the half-sister of Richard II’s half-sister.
Richard and Berengaria wed on the 12th May 1191. She was in her early to mid twenties, which was very old for a noble bride of the era. The pair rarely spent time together due to Richard’s role in the Crusades and his apparent disinterest in his bride. They had no children, believed to be down to either infertility or lack of time together. Some believe that the marriage was never actually consummated.
Queenship: Berengaria joined Richard in the Holy Lands following the wedding. The failure led Berengaria and her sister-in-law Joan to head back to France. It would be another three years before husband and wife saw each other again. Berengaria spent her time in France during her husband’s captivity, helping her mother-in-law raise the ransom. She continued to live there upon Richard’s release as he returned to England and then shored up his lands on the continent.
The Church was angered at Richard seemingly ignoring Berengaria and the Pope told him to reconcile with her. Once Richard was finished with his business, he returned to Berengaria. He’d accompany her to church once a week but they still did not have a child.
Post-Queenship: Richard died on the 6th April 1199, leaving Berengaria a widow. She was not at his bedside upon his death and had not even been summoned by Eleanor of Aquitaine. Berengaria retired to her dower lands, but found that most of them had been seized by John. She asked her mother-in-law and the Pope to intercede on her behalf. They did, but Berengaria would only be paid back upon the ascension of John’s son.
Berengaria entered a convent in 1129 and died one year later. She was buried in Les Mans but her burial place has been moved more than once.
Personality: We know extremely little of Berengaria. One contemporary called her ‘elegant and prudent,’ whilst noting her musical talent. She joined her husband on the Crusades, so she was likely a tough and devout woman.
Legacy: Berengaria is barely remembered to this day. She is called the only English queen to never enter the country, though she likely visited after her husband died. Berengaria did not have any children that would go on to be ancestors of Europe.
Isabella of Angoulême
● Life: c.1186/1188- 4th June 1246
● Reigned: 24th August 1200-19th October 1216
● Spouse: John (m. 1200), Hugh X of Lusignan (m. 1220)
● Children: Five with John, including Henry III, and nine with Hugh
● Parents: Aymer, Count of Angoulême and Alice of Courtenay
● Origin: France
Early Life: Isabella was born around 1186-1188 to Aymer, Count of Angoulême and Alice of Courtenay. She was the only surviving child of her parents but little else is known about her early life. Through her mother, she was related to the French monarchy. She was originally engaged to Hugh IX of Lusignan and was sent to his court.
Marriages and Children: John of England had previously been married to Isabel of Gloucester. Their marriage was annulled on grounds of consanguinity, they were so closely related that they weren’t allowed to have sex. John cast his eye on Isabella for two reasons: her renowned beauty and to prevent her from marrying the powerful Hugh.
John was besotted by Isabella and reportedly neglected his duties to be with her. She was a high-spirited and headstrong woman with a personality to match his own. Unfortunately, John was also cruel and took mistresses. He blamed Isabella for his own failures.
They had five children together, the first born seven years after their marriage. Henry III would be King of England, Richard King of Rome, Joan Queen of Scotland, Isabella Holy Roman Empress and Eleanor, a prominent noble.
Queenship: Isabella did not have the most enjoyable time as Queen. Hugh of Lusignan was not thrilled about John having stolen his fiancée and kicked up a stink. The King of France then took John’s French possessions and gave them to Hugh. John blamed this on Isabella, despite him having pushed to marry her. Isabella was blamed by the elites for John’s misadventures despite her being a child. They called her a seductress and a Jezebel.
In 1203, Isabella’s castle was besieged by rebels. John set out to rescue her but was scared of being captured himself, so he sent out a force. A year previously, he’d personally rescued his mother. She would spend most of the years from 1207 pregnant. Her children would be raised away from her and she wasn’t allowed a government role. Whilst John abducted noblewomen and had illegitimate children, rumours of Isabella’s adultery made her extremely unpopular.
Post-Queenship: Isabella was forced to live under guard as French forces made ground in England. On the 18th October 1216, John died. This may have been a relief for Isabella on a personal level but her son was still underage. In order to cement her son’s claim, Isabella took him to Gloucester and had him crowned. Her unpopularity meant that she was not part of his regency council.
Isabella then headed to France to take control of her lands. Her daughter Joan was engaged to Hugh IX’s son Hugh X and had been sent to live at their court. When Hugh X saw Isabella, he decided to marry her instead. Joan was promised to the King of Scotland. The English were furious that Isabella had not sought their permission and took away her dower lands. Isabella retaliated by threatening to keep Joan in France. Alexander of Scotland wanted his bride, so a settlement was reached.
Isabella would have nine children with Hugh. This marriage was likely better for Isabella as Hugh included her in governance and both of their signatures were found on documents. She did not have a good relationship with the sons from her first marriage, especially as it was decades before she saw them again. Isabella also resented having to defer to other women even though she was the former Queen.
After being snubbed by the King of France’s mother, Isabella started plotting against him. After she was implicated in an attempted poisoning, Isabella fled to an abbey for protection in 1244.
Isabella died on the 4th June 1246, aged between 58 and 60. She was little mourned in England, but her son did ensure she was moved from the abbey to be buried with his grandparents.
Personality: Isabella was a strong and tenacious woman who didn’t hesitate to get what she wanted. Contemporaries called her a Jezebel and overly ambitious, blaming her for affairs that may not even have happened. Isabella was also very young at the time. She ultimately wanted some happiness after being married off as a child bride and blamed for her husband’s misdeeds. Though contemporaries may have been overly critical of her, Isabella did steal her daughter’s fiancé and threatened to keep her away. She also left her children to look after themselves.
Legacy: Isabella is poorly remembered due to her apparent poor behaviour and being a seductress. We must remember that women of the time were overly blamed for everything and that she was also a CHILD at the time. Isabella did her duty in that she provided an heir and all of her royal children married well.
Eleanor of Provence
● Life: c.1223-24/25th June 1291
● Reigned: 14th January 1236-16th November 1272
● Spouse: Henry III (m.1236)
● Children: Five, including Edward I
● Parents: Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence and Beatrice of Savoy
● Origin: France
Early Life: Eleanor was born in Provence in about 1223 to Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence and Beatrice of Savoy. She was the second of four sisters, all of whom would marry kings. Margaret would become the Queen of France, Sanchia Queen of Germany and Beatrice Queen of Sicily. Sanchia’s husband was Henry III’s younger brother.
It seems that Eleanor was well-educated, with a zeal for reading and poetry. Little is known about her early life, though it’s known her father was a generous and shrewd man, whilst her mother was very intelligent.
Marriage and Children: Eleanor’s family worked to marry her off to Henry III. Henry had been king for ove twenty years after attaining the throne at a young age. It worked and Eleanor set off to England, marrying Henry on the 14th January 1236.
The two enjoyed a loving marriage. Eleanor was intensely loyal to her husband and Henry is not believed to have had any mistresses, a rarity for the time. They spent a lot of time together and Henry trusted Eleanor to act as regent. Discord did occur when Eleanor attempted to intervene in favour of an uncle, causing Henry to banish her from court and seize her lands. They eventually reconciled.
Eleanor and Henry would have five children, four of whom lived to adulthood. Their eldest son Edward would become Edward I and daughter Margaret would wed the King of Scotland. She seemed to have a good relationship with her children and was instrumental in their upbringing. The pair were devastated when their daughter Katherine died at only three years old.
Queenship: As Queen, Eleanor set out to bring a cultural renaissance to England. She likely found England dull and dry compared to her home. Eleanor encouraged literature, poetry and the arts. She was also seen as fashionable and brought many new trends over from the continent. On top of that, Eleanor enjoyed gardening.
Unfortunately, Eleanor was deeply unpopular. She tended to be interested and involved in politics, which was seen as unbecoming for a Queen and a foreigner. Eleanor also brought a large retinue with her, angering the people and those at court. The nobles at court were worried about foreign influence, whilst the common people worried about cost. Eleanor was once booed and pelted with food as she headed through London. She also invited unpopularity with her lands and willingness to tax.
Post-Queenship: Henry III died on the 16th November 1272. Eleanor was not active politically as Dowager Queen, instead focusing on her family. She helped raise her grandchildren, including Edward’s son Henry. So close was their relationship that Eleanor tended to Henry during his illness and was with him when he died at the tender age of six.
In 1286, Eleanor followed the trend of many queens and retired to a convent. She lived there with two of her granddaughters.
Eleanor finally died in June 1291. She was buried in an unmarked grave and is thus the only Queen whose burial place remained unknown.
Personality: Eleanor was principally a lover of the arts, with poetry being her greatest joy. She was also a deeply loyal wife and loving mother, enjoying a mutually faithful relationship with her husband. Eleanor also cared deeply for her grandchildren. She was intelligent and erudite, enjoying the privilege of being her husband’s regent when he was abroad. Surviving letters show a sense of compassion. Unfortunately, Eleanor could be ruthless. She was happy to tax her subjects highly, hated the Londoners and expelled all Jews from her lands.
Legacy: Eleanor is primarily remembered for her cultural and fashionable activities, particularly poetry. Many letters from her survive, which give historians a great insight into Eleanor as a person.
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Flying Cars are a Terrible IdeaBy Ilija Dokmanovic — 6 days ago
Last month, former President Donald Trump made a video announcement about his plans to implement a ‘quantum leap forward’ policy to increase the standard of living in America. He boldly harkened back to the days of Manifest Destiny, of an America that once tamed a continent and built incredible cities from coast-to-coast.
In a video address detailing this policy, the plan is to build new “Freedom Cities” that would be built on pre-existing government-owned land. A way for the American Machine to be restarted once again, to help revitalise the economy through domestic infrastructure projects, bringing back large-scale industrial manufacturing to the United States, and hopefully drawing citizens who are struggling in their own states with rental traps and shoddy housing opportunities to start anew in these proposed cities.
“Reigniting American imagination” as Trump himself puts it.
Personally, I think this is a great idea. It is high time that the United States needs a project such as this to really kick things into gear and realise just what Americans are capable of building when they are not distracted by foreign wars, social malaise, and being at each other’s throats.
Trump’s plan could act as a foundation to creating classically-designed, bold and truly great examples of American civil engineering and architecture. Not only this, but by perhaps emphasising walkable cities, with a second-to-none public transport network (my formerly proposed Great American Hyper-Rail) – it could serve as an inspiration for other American cities to change for the better.
An American city that could be free from needless congestion, have architecture that challenges the glass-and-steel shitboxes for dominance, and creates real job opportunities and a sense of community for the younger generations would be a very welcome change indeed.
Moreso, if conservatives and reactionaries populate these cities primarily (if not exclusively), they could act as much needed metropolitan safe-zones free from the common strife as well as the severe and petty crime that infects most of urban America today.
While we may not have control of the cities today, it doesn’t mean that we can’t create our own cities tomorrow to act as a powerbase for us to focus our efforts and project them onto rival cities.
All in all, a great and visionary proposal from President Trump.
However there is one thing that was tacked-on to this announcement which has me confused, if not completely mortified by.
Trump proposed that the United States should become the leader in developing ‘vertical take-off and landing’ vehicles – VTOLs, for short. He mentioned that currently “Chy-na!” is spearheading current developments of this technology, for both military and civilian use.
Now, while I get excited by the idea of Jetson-style vehicles as much as the next bloke, tutting along in big glass-domed vehicles. But I can’t help but think that having VTOLs becoming widely available for public and government use is, simply put, a fucking terrible idea.
I may sound like a luddite here, but I ask you to reflect on the changing nature of personal transport in just the last 100 years.
The car and combustion-engine, great inventions as they are (and one that I am demonstrably pro), have completely reshaped the way we get around. From the way our cities are laid out, to the way we travel across the country. We have reshaped entire landmasses to be more suited to automobiles – detonating mountains, building massive highways and turnpikes over natural landscapes. It has completely and possibly irreversibly changed both the aesthetic and function of the natural landscape that human-beings inhabit forever.
There are few areas now in nature where you can look over an unspoiled landscape that hasn’t been in some way corrupted by roads, highways, or massive bridges. The places that are few and far between, and they are hard to reach by design.
The whole point of going on massive hikes like the Appalachian Trail for example, is to get away from these reminders of modernity and industry. If we had VTOLs readily available for anyone to use, these final frontiers of natural escape would be corrupted by the sounds of engines, and the sights of zooming aerial vehicles overhead.
It’s bad enough already when you see hordes of foreign tourists powering up their obnoxious drones drowning out the songs of the birds or the sound of the wind through the trees, or teenagers with loudspeakers blasting grime or whatever unpleasant trap shit that comes onto their Spotify.
Imagine that same annoyance, amplified, en masse and inescapable. To look over a landscape, and to see lines of VTOL traffic from one end of the horizon to the other.
I’d be inclined to shoot these aerial vehicles down in whatever way I could, fully embracing the primal nature that has long been cornered and dormant, finally being unleashed when all sense of greenery and the peace of nature has been corrupted.
Not only this, but aerial vehicles means aerial billboards.
Hell, it’s already starting to happen across the world – massive drone light displays sponsored by our corporate overlords carpeting the sky and blocking our view of the stars. The sky, long-untouched other than by those who are able to navigate it by plane, will simply become another piece of real-estate to be bought up.
Who has the rights to the sky? Those who can afford it, of course.
I can’t think of anything worse than being forced into a scenario where I also have to purchase the real-estate over my house in order to avoid being pestered with unwanted ads, VTOL trespassing, and eyes in the sky.
Perhaps that last example is a little dramatic, but I find it easier to rule nothing out these days, no matter how ridiculous.
The final aspect of why personal VTOLs are such a terrible idea is that it’s completely impractical. With aerial traffic already incredibly congested by planes (look on a free online plane-tracker if you don’t believe me) how does anyone sensibly propose the idea that giving everyone access to the sky won’t lead almost inevitably to disaster?
Car accidents are frequent enough as it is – I can only imagine how much worse, and deadly, they’d be in the sky.
Well to avoid all these issues there would have to be certain controls. Limitations on altitude, certain lanes that aerial vehicles must stick to to avoid collisions, speed limitations, etc, etc. Congratulations, you’re doing all the things that you would’ve been doing in a car anyway, except you are doing them 30-40 metres in the air instead. Such a revolutionary change!
Not to mention, what are these vehicles supposed to look like?
Will they be jet-powered? Say goodbye to little Timmy’s face after he accidentally was standing under one that was flying too low coming in for a landing, and say hello to a frequency of forest-fires!
Will they be powered by rotary propellers? Incredible! You’ve reinvented the helicopter! True leaps and bounds in technology!
Compared to “flying cars”, even personal jetpacks look like more sensible and well thought-out solutions to our current transport problems. Realistically, the only practical implementation of VTOL technology would be usage through military application – and, practically speaking, it already exists through helicopters.
The idea is silly – so how Trump has seriously considered it to the point of outlining it in a policy video makes me laugh. I do sincerely hope that it will remain a mere gimmick of the “futurist” dream, rather than become a reality that will make the world a considerably worse place.
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