epershand: A picture of a castle with an arrow next to it. (Castle)
The terrible-amazing-terrible tell-all biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother I've been nibbling away at for the last month or so has just outdone itself.

Yet Edward VIII's beliefs and style were far more in keeping with those of our age. Had he been given a fair chance, the British Empire might not have gone into the terminal decline it did as soon as his brother succeeded him. For the fact is, King George VI oversaw the immediate and precipitate decline of the British Empire's fortunes. He oversaw the beginning of the dismantling of the Empire, which continued under his daughter, and might well have been averted had a more progressive king been on the throne. And a progressive king with an American queen might well have been just the antidote to much of the the antipathy which saw nationalists like Gandhi and Jinnah prevail.

- Lady Colin Campbell. The Queen Mother: The Untold Story of Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, Who Became Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. p 356, Nook edition.

(Every time people ask me the title of the book I'm reading, I'm like "uh, something involving the words 'Elizabeth' and 'Queen Mother' repeated a lot of times? I can't remember the order?" If it were up to me the title would be A Very Catty History of the Twentieth Century, By A Determined Partisan of Edward VIII.)

I am just enjoying this book SO MUCH, in, ironically, very much the same way I enjoyed the V&A museum. I'm so used to the historical accounts I read, however biased they are, spend a lot of time appearing to be neutral and objective. It's oddly refreshing to see something so coldly pleased with its own biases that it wears them on its sleeve.

(I'm also in the middle of listening to the audio books of Jo Walton's Small Change Trilogy, which I last read a few years go. I am really excited that I got to the Abdication Crisis in this book right as I got to the Edward VIII bits of Half a Crown. But ACCORDING TO LADY COLIN CAMPBELL that whole "Nazi sympathies" thing was just a nasty rumor Elizabeth started. *nodnod*)
epershand: "No exit" (No Exit)
I am settled into the apartment of the lovely [personal profile] oliviacirce. Hurrah! I'm in New York for the week, but am not on vacation and will mostly be at work. But *wow* is it lovely to be staying here and be able to claim all the cuddles I can.

I did a lot of traveling today, possibly all of it. Foolishly I spent much of the time reading about 1930s Berlin, and so I am compelled to write the following Letter to the Past:

Dear Martha Dodd, circa 1933,

Look, I am totally against slut-shaming, and I don't want to slut-shame you or anything. BUT.

If you are going to have simultaneous affairs with lots and lots of men, *maybe* Berlin in 1933 isn't the time and place to do it? And maybe the men in question shouldn't include the Nazi head of the Foreign Press Bureau? And also the head of the Gestapo? And also the first secretary of the Soviet embassy in Berlin (who is also a spy)?

Look, I get that you're the daughter of the US Ambassador and all but. I can't help feel that things are going to end badly for you, even if I haven't spoiled myself with Wikipedia. Your lifestyle is kind of making me nervous.


(Friends, if you too are interested in stressing yourself out a lot about the stupidness of stupid Americans in Berlin in the 1930s, may I recommend Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts? WARNING: These Americans are impressively foolish. And tragically non-fictional and in power.)


Saturday, 27 November 2010 17:18
epershand: Goat reads a tag on the back of Pig: "100% pig. Hug. Hold. Feed. And please... be nice." (100% Pig)
Thanksgiving/Chanukah Observed
My family tends to celebrate Chanukah, no matter when it falls, on Thanksgiving, since that's the only time we get the full set of descendants at my grandparents' house. Despite a lot of anticipation and lead-up, this year's Thanksgiving/Chanukah Observed was very low-drama, easy, and, in fact, fun. Possibly because we used up all our drama points in preparation for it?

I went directly from work to my grandparents' on Wednesday night to meet my parents and sister there. My grandmother and I managed to miss each other for ten minutes at a very cold Caltrain station, but otherwise Wednesday night was pretty great. Thursday my sister and I ran all around Redwood City, Menlo Park and Palo Alto looking for last-minute gifts for our cousins, and ultimately came up with a rather excellent set of gifts from the only stores that were open. Namely, a hardware store and a drug store.

In the original plan, my parents, sister and I were going to drive up to my hometown Thursday night, spend Friday there, and then drive back down to the Bay Area on Saturday morning to take my sister to the airport and send her back to Chicago. Happily, about a week ago I pointed out that this seemed like the most stressful driving-to-time-at-home ratio possible, and instead we all ran away to a hotel in the Marina after Thanksgiving. This had the fun advantage of letting me stay in San Francisco while also feeling like I was in a radically different city than the one I live in. Fun fact: when I am in the Marina with my family Marina People stop being my sworn enemy.

Friday we went to the Contemporary Jewish Museum and saw Harry Potter, braved a mall (fools!) and went back to my place to meet Olivia for dinner. This morning, they were all off again.

Olivia's Parents Theatre, a phone call:
OLIVIA: Diane is FILMING Olivia's Parents Theatre!
DIANE [in background]: I am NOT filming OPT...
OLIVIA: There's an acronym for it now?
MOLLY: You should register oliviasparentstheatre.com! And make a YouTube channel! And sell OPT merchandise!
Best fact learned from hotel-room History Channel programming:
According to facts derived from ancient Hindu texts, there were atomic bombs at Sodom and Ghamorra. These atomic bombs came from the same aliens the Aryan race is descended from, and Hitler hoped to harness these powers for the Third Reich. Or... something.

My sister and I used to make fun of the History Channel for being the Nazi channel 11 months of the year and the Jesus channel in December, but apparently at some point they became the Aliens in the Past Channel. Sigh.

Best fact learned from the Curious George exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum:
The Reys (AKA the Reyersbachs) escaped from Nazis ON BICYCLE, not once but TWICE. They biked away from both Hamburg and Paris immediately before those cities fell.

I am pretty sure that that is more interesting than people in tin hats explaining why the Daleks worked with Nazi Germany.


epershand: An ampersand (Default)

July 2014

2122232425 2627

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit