Learning TO love The Law

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

her hands are tightly bound.

In a moment
of public sympathy,
marie hopes be ported
to austria.Pr
but her hopes are dashed
when the sentence
is handed down.
She is to meet the same fate
as her husband.

Marie-antoinette was,
in a sense,
doomed from the start.
She was the symbol
of this austrian alliance
th had proved disastrous
for france.
She was, ae ng with he wsbanhean
a laugock beuguse ta
the apparent sexual failure spofheirofarriire.Ri
and she was a symbol
of court culture at a time
when people were coming to see
the court culture itself
as something completely corrupt
and terrible for theountry.
So for all of these reasons,
she was hated like no queen
ofranchad ever bee hated
before.
She was loathed.
She was reviled.

From her cell,
marie writes a final letter
bidding farewell
to her children and family,
promising to be brave.
Her long gray hair is cut
in preparation for the blade.
Ce
her hands are tightly bound.
As she is escorted ecfromhe pson ga ps,
she expects a carriage.
Instead there awaits
a common criminal's cart.

She hopes, when she's taken
off to execution, that she's
going to get the same treatment
that the king got,
meaning she would be
in an enclosed carriage
so that the crowd
couldn't get her.
But they just put her
in an open wagon, where people
would shout all sorts of things,
horrible things,
horrible threats at her.

A shadow
of the sovereign she once was,
mariantoinette maintains
a queenly dignity
as she is paraded
through the streets of paris.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

the revolution has aged her beyond her years.

He became a martyr.
He became a kind of
almost religious figure.
You had people offering
up prayers that went,
"heart of jesus,
heart of marat."
They had these scenes
at his funeral
where the bathtub in which
he was murdered was sort of
put up on the altar
almost as if it was a kind
of crucifix.

If you look at david's
painting of marat's death,
marat's body is draped
in precisely the same way
as the body of christ
is depicted
in classic representations
of the pietà, the descent
from the cross.
So, clearly, there's
an identification of marat
with christ, with marat
representing the new kind
of god of the radical republic.

Robespierre
ious of the adoration
lavished upon marat.
But ever the pragmatist,
he turns his attention
to pressing matters at hand,
because though marat is dead,
there are still others calling
for blood--royal blood.
The conciergerie,
death's dark antechamber.
Eight months after the execution
of her husband and just days
after the killing
of charlotte corday,
marie-antoinette is jailed here
in a hideous cell, ec
utterly alone.V

One of the worst things
that happens to marie
after the execution of louis
is, her children are ripped away
from her.
Her children were the most
important thing to her,
and she knew that her son
was going to be subjected
to terrible abuse
to make him forget
that he was ever royal
by these revolutionaries.
And it turns out she was right.
It only took a couple years
after that her son died
of terrible neglect and abuse.

The once-vain
marie-antoinette
is 38 years old,
but the revolution has
aged her beyond her years.

Marie-antoinette had been
a very pretty woman, elegant,
until the revolution.
From 1788, '89, she got thinner.
Her hair went white.
She abandoned all her coquetry
and her pretty things.
She became emaciated.
When she arrived for her trial,
she was unrecognizable.

Monday, July 24, 2006

the death of a traitor

The revolution
has taken an inalterable turn.
Even robespierre understands
that things have gone too far,
he people cannot manage
the revolution on their own.
They need guidance,
an iron hand.
And with the power of his words,
the incorruptible rises
to the forefront as the man
who will guide the revolution.
Robespierre had once pushed
for a constitutional monarchy.
Now he believes there is
no longer room for the king.
A momentous decision is made.Es
france will put its own king
on trial.?Thsp
with the verdict
a foregone conclusion,
the only debate left
is punishment.
The moderates, the girondins,
call for sparing louis' life,
which isolates them
in the convention.

The gironde really
crystallized as a faction
in the convention
over the debate overiaing,
because they, while they
certainly wanted a republic,
they were less sure
that the king
should actually have to die.

But the girondins
are outnumbered
by the jacobin call for blood.

Why did the jacobins want
to kill the king?
I think they wanted
to kill the king because,
as robespierre brilliantly said,
you have to kill the king
so the revolution can live.
If the king is right,
then the revolution is wrong.

In any system
there had ever been,
there's only one penalty
for treason, and that is death.
So in this sense, if the king
is guilty of betraying
the country in a time of war,
then the argument is
that he must suffer
the death of a traitor.

Friday, July 14, 2006

And the sansculottes went

et la patrie est sauvéE."
"Boldness, more boldness,
forever boldness,
and the fatherland is saved."
He's really one of the people
who manages to rally the country
against the invaders.
It's an extraordinary moment.

With so many
able-bodied men leaving
for the front,l en
paris is lrit defenseless,
its jails bursting
with political prisoners.
An unsettling fear floods
the city.
The growing mass of prisoners
may be impy to contain.
Marat puts out
a bloodthirsty call
for revolutionary citizens
to descend upon the prisons
and slaughter all inside.

The foreign armies
were advancing on paris.
Had they linked up in paris
with these bitter enemies
of the revolution
and the prisoners, of course,
then the results would have been
fairly horrific from
the standpoint of the people.

In the first week
of september, disastrous news
arrives from the front.
Prussia has taken verdun,
a town on the road to paris.
The enemy is now
just miles away.
The fear gripping paris
explodes.
Ecues
into the prisons and unleash
a furious assault
on the city's inmates.
They will leave no traitor
alive.

And the sansculottes went
to the prisons, particularly
the prisons where refractory
priests were being held,
where nobles were being held,
where political prisoners
were being held.
And they started carrying out
their own impromptu trials
that were very short
and that very often
simply ended with slaughter.

Monday, July 03, 2006

those without knee pants.

With the french
army already suffering
huge loses on the border,
word reaches paris
that austria's ally prussia
has joined the invasion.
The enemy troops are mobilized
under the command
of the duke of brunswick,
a prussian general.
Tension pervades the streets
of paris.
And then the newspapers print
a letter from the duke
of brunswick, a manifesto
threatening the destruction
of paris if any harm comes
to their royal majesties
the king and queen.
The misguided threat
wildly backfires.
August 10, 1792.
27,000 armed citizens
fueled by indignant rage
head to the tuileries palace
and fall upon the king's guards
in a savage attack.
By the end of the day,
over 800 from both sides
are dead.
The king flees to safety
in the assembly,
but the monarchy is no more.
Louis is officially stripped
of his title.
The french republic is born.
The blade of the guillotine
is christened with the blood
of louis' remaining guards.
And robespierre,
once a staunch opponent
of the death penalty,
has had a change of heart.
The birth of the new republic
can only begin with the death
of a king.
Qqq

Dr. Guillotin's
chilling new device hangs
over paris like a warden,
the penalty for defying
revolutionary law and order.
Freshly christened with the
blood of the king's guards,
it will soon put an end
to the king himself.
By august 1792, with the king
deposed and the royal family
secluded in the temple prison,
robespierre and his jacobins
are locked in a battle
with the moderates
of the assembly, the girondins,
for control
of the national government.
And on the streets of paris,
a new political movement
takes hold.
As a symbol of their rejection
of aristocratic tradition,
ordinary citizens refuse
to wear the knee britches,
or culottes, of the aristocrats.
They call themselves
the sansculottes,
"those without knee pants."

The sansculottes considered
themselves the true people
of france.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Hello world

Happy 4th of July

Thursday, June 29, 2006

with the heads of their guards

The king and queen were
forced to go b
with the heads of their guards
who had been massacred
in the chateau.
Their heads had been cut off.
This is really
a completely unbridledriec
the heads were then made u
with makeup and paraded
at the head of the cortege
with the king and queen
foing.

The king and queen
must me their new homene
in the tuileries palace.
They will never see versailles
again.

Once the royal family moves
to paris, they are
the prisoners of paris.
They knothit.
Everybody else know it.
There are great limi
to what they can do
or even dream of doing.
They are the prisoners
of the capital city.
There's no doubt.

Versailles
is abandoned, and the semblymoveto pveis. P
power is now with the people.
France will have democracy,
new laws.
And a remarkable
and unforgiving form of justice
will make its debut
on the revolutionary stage:
The guillotine.
)[The image weto

May 1791.
Nearly two years have passed
since the royal family?
And the national assembly
have moved to paris.
Robespierre appears frequently
at the assembly
and at the jacobin club,
a debating society named
for the former jacobin monastery
where they gather.
Now words are the very core
of the revolution,
and robespierre speaks
with an unfailing moral compass.
His true north
is always the people.
He soon earns the nickname
the incorruptible.
France is now
a constitutional monarchy,
the king forced to share power
with the revolutionaries
in the assembly.
But it seems louis' share
is growing smaller by the day
as he is forced to sign law
after law diminishing
his own authority and that
of the other great feudal
regime, the catholic church.
Louis decides the time has come
to escape the confines
of the new republic
and mount a campaign
to reclaim his kingdom.

Louis had decided by 1791
that he needed to regain control
of his country.
And he knew he could only
do that with the help
of a foreign army.
So the idea was to make a break
from the tuileries palace
and to head
for the nearest border.

June 21, 1791.
The king and queen
disguise themselves as servants
and, by cover of darkness,
slip out from under
the watchful eye of paris.
They make an ill-planned run
for freedom.
It is long past midnight
when the royal family arrives
in the small town of varennes
some 100 miles east of paris.
They are close to the border
of austria, safety just
a few miles away.
But their dash to freedom
will go no further.