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Sunday, August 20, 2017

History test, Part II

On August 5th, I posted If history were recorded by fashion writers, Part II: the women. There weren't quite as many hidden references as there were in Part I, but it's possible you missed some. And, having done a little research on these women, it turns out a lot of the myths surrounding them probably aren't even true.

If you haven't read the post, please do. Then, take a look at the following:

Mary I:

Small wonder she wanted to cleanse England of that dowdy, "plain and simple" Protestant way of dress...Our beloved Queen was so assiduous in this task there's even a stylish drink named after her that's popular to this day: the Bloody Mary!

Mary I was known as Bloody Mary because she wanted to restore Catholicism to England and had over 280 Protestant dissenters burned at the stake. 

It's not clear what the popular drink was named after. Some say her. Others trace the name to a waitress named Mary who worked at a Chicago bar called the Bucket of Blood. And some say it's a mispronunciation of the first name of Vladimir Smirnov of the Smirnoff vodka family, for whom the drink was first prepared in 1921. 

Lucrezia Borgia: 

Her viper pendant, and the dagger/cross must both be Borgia family symbols. (Whose blood is that dripping from the dagger?)

The Borgias, particularly Lucrezia's brother Cesare, probably deserve their general reputation for ambition, greed, licentiousness, intrigue, and even murderousness; but Lucrezia herself seems to have been less of a schemer than Cesare. 

Lucrezia is rumored to have a hollow ring from which she slips poison into drinks.

That was a rumor about her, though its veracity has long since been lost in the fog of history.

Elizabeth Bathory: 

Bathory is at the top of every list of prolific serial killers, and is generally listed as having killed up to 600 young girls. But after looking into her story, as I wrote here, I don't think she was guilty. She doesn't fit the profile of a sociopath, and there was plenty of motive to frame her. The number of dead girls seems to have been a complete exaggeration. And the story about her having bathed in their blood didn't even appear until about a hundred years after she died.  

Catherine the Great:

Our Empress Catherine is a great lover of all things our favorite equestrienne looks sitting side saddle, astride a horse -- or in any position with a horse!

The one story everyone seems to know about Catherine the Great is that she died trying to have sex with a horse. This was just a rumor spread by enemies wanting to discredit her. She actually died of a stroke suffered in her bathroom. 

Marie Antoinette:

Marie has caused a revolution in French fashion...

Get it? The French Revolution happened during her reign.

And check out that daring décolletage, which accentuates her slender, delicate neck. You can't put that kind of style on the chopping block! 

She died at the guillotine.

Our darling Marie proves, once and for all, that you can have your cake and eat it too!

Her most famous "quote" is, "Let them eat cake" (since the peasants had no bread). She almost certainly never said this. 

Lizzie Borden:

At first glance it might look as if our Lizzie has taken a whack at fashion...

The most famous ditty about Lizzie Borden:

"Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one."

And those dark colors are only fitting given that she is probably still mourning her parents, whose tragic murders remain unsolved. 

Borden was acquitted  of their murders, but she is probably guilty.

Poor Lizzie! Note that her dress is quite modest, covering everything right up to the top of her neck, as befits a well brought up young lady of the Victorian era. (No man will get a peek at that body!) 

Borden was widely thought to have been a lesbian. 

We certainly have no axe to grind with her clothing choices!

Self-explanatory, see above.

Ilse Koch:

Ilse isn't held prisoner to passing trends, but prefers the timeless simplicity of a summer dress. It takes concentration to look that good without becoming camp! 

Ilse Koch was an infamous guard at the Buchenwald concentration camp during WWII. 

Ms. Koch knows that looking like just another frumpy hausfrau would be a crime against humanity. 

"Crimes against humanity" was what many of the more prominent Nazis (though not Koch) were convicted of at the Nuremberg Trials. Koch was in fact a very minor figure, though she later gained infamy through her multiple trials for corruption.

Frau Koch's husband Karl Otto looks resplendent as well in his sharply tailored uniform and well polished jackboots. 

Jackboots are almost synonymous with Nazis these days. 

Her neatly appointed houses is undoubtedly perfectly decorated, right down to the lampshades! 

Koch was accused to selecting tattooed prisoners for execution in order to make lampshades out of their skins, but this was never proven, and highly unlikely to be true. 

And look at that dog -- what a humongous bitch!

Koch later became popularly known as "the Bitch of Buchenwald" after an American reporter called her that.

Winnie Mandela:

As befits the wife of Nelson Mandela, she has great concern for the populace as well, generously providing for many of them to be necklaced as well. As the great lady said, "With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country!"

That's an actual quote from Winnie Mandela in 1986. She was later the First Lady of South Africa from 1994 to 1996, when her divorced from Nelson Mandela was finalized. To be "necklaced" was to have an inner tube filled with gas forced around one's chest and arms, which was then lit on fire. Victims would take up to twenty minutes to die. According to Wikipedia:

[T]he South African Truth and Reconciliation commission [formed after apartheid had been abolished in 1994] found that she had personally been responsible for the murder, torture, abduction, and assault of numerous men, women, and children, as well as indirectly responsible for an even larger number of such crimes.

Michelle Duvalier:

From the time she married Baby Doc (top), Michele Duvalier has looked every inch the stylish voodoo queen! Who couldn't she cast a spell over with that headdress? 

Baby Doc reportedly believed in voodoo and Santeria. (I actually heard this from a Haitian the day before I wrote the post.)

Below, Michele wears one of her many fur coats she needed to stay warm through those cold Haiti winters! 

Michele reportedly spent $75,000 on a freezer in which to store all of her fur coats in Haiti.

You can be sure they're custom made -- there's no pret-a-porter for the lady from Port au Prince! 

"Prêt-à-porter" means ready to wear.

Whether she's encouraging her husband to resurrect the Tontons Macoutes, or abscond with the national treasury, our stylish Santeria knows how to dress for success!

The Tontons Macoutes were the feared secret police squad started by Papa Doc Duvalier in order to maintain power. They still existed during Baby Doc's reign. And when Baby Doc and Michele went into exile, they reportedly took almost the entire national treasury, roughly $500MM, with them. 

Hillary Clinton:

You just went through a heated Presidential campaign less than a year ago, so you're probably familiar with all of those references. 


Michael Hoffman said...

John, do you think Nadal is using steroids? I've never seen a tennis player with popeye biceps and just thinking this explains his cycle of injury/miraculous comeback to top player in the world, off and on, for the past 5 to 6 years.

John Craig said...

Michael --
Honestly, I don't follow tennis and have less of a sense of how it develops the body, so don't have a strong opinion. I've heard it said that he's on them, and I certainly wouldn't be surprised, but I'm the wrong guy to ask about tennis players.

BTW, I don't know if you saw it, but I wrote a post in early May contrasting swimmers I think are juicing vs. those who aren't: