Monday, August 24, 2020

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy . . .

Wars of the Royals

“Its mystery is its life. We must not let in daylight upon magic. We must not bring the Queen into the combat of politics, or she will cease to be reverenced by all combatants.”

-        Walter Bagehot, writing about the British Monarchy.

Walter Bagehot (1826 – 1877) was a British journalist, businessman, and 
essayist, who wrote extensively about government, economics, 
literature and race.

His dictum is that letting daylight in upon the monarchy is like a reveal on how the magician performs the tricks, it becomes ordinary.  The Queen knows this and has practised it, never a foot wrong in her 67 years upon the throne.  Not so her hubby, some of the fruit of her womb and their offspring. 

The book about Harry and Meghan’s departure from the Royal Family grind, Finding Freedom, has been released.  It is seen by most as being a giant suck up to them by the authors and has created suspicions that the authors are really only the ventriloquist dummies for H & M.  The Palace is fighting back by issuing its own releases (example: Charles being more concerned with his public image than parenting is BS) and having their journo contacts release the “true” versions of what Finding Freedom reports.

An article yesterday compared the fightback by the Palace to the words and actions of H & M as being like the Wars of the Roses, when between 1455-1485 the Houses of York and Lancaster fought for control of the English throne in civil wars.  Ultimately the Tudors were ascendant.

The author of the article, Daniela Elser, makes some succinct comments:

. . . the thing is that unlike back in the 15th century when the Yorks and Lancasters were busily trying to chop off each other’s heads while clanking around in heavy armour, these days, royal battles are fought far more covertly. Instead, intra-family squabbles and skirmishes are played out in the press and PR wars are fought via proxies. 
With the publication of Finding Freedom, and its casting of Harry and Meghan as victims of an unfeeling palace machine who did little to protect or help the couple, it seems unlikely that the book’s damaging depiction of royal life would be let slide. The royal family is an institution built on the core tenet of self-preservation, especially of the monarch and those in the direct line of succession. At some point in the next decade a vast, once-in-a-generation seismic shift is going to take place when Charles ascends to the throne. With each passing day, the stakes are only getting higher. 
Thus, on one side we have the Sussexes who, despite starting their new life in California, replete with high-powered agents and a spiffy mansion that boasts 16 toilets, still seem unable to let go of the hurts and frustrations of the past. And on the other, a palace intent on protecting the public standing of the next two kings. 
The result? Based on the events of the last week, with neither side willing to cede any ground in the fight for public approval, a protracted battle fought via news headlines and feeding titbits to sympathetic journalists seems to be on the cards.  
The War of the Roses went on for 32 long and bloody years. I’m starting to wonder if the brewing Sussex vs Windsor showdown might end up dragging on for about as long. That particular war ended when the Lancastrian Henry Tudor defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth.  
Uncannily, this weekend is the 535th anniversary of the battle and the moment when King Henry VII (or so legend goes) was crowned right there on the battlefield.  
While Henry might have ultimately been the conquering hero, his triumph came after a huge amount of havoc and losses on both sides. His victory came at a steep cost. Half a millennia later, that’s a lesson the current royal family could do well to learn – and fast. 
Daniela Elser
Finding Freedom: Royal palace fights Meghan Markle, Harry claims

Echoing in Eternity:

When Barack Obama, in his DNC speech, said “ . . . what we do these next 76 days will echo through generations to come” I thought he was going to quote Russell Crowe in Gladiator:

On looking into it deeper I found that it has been echoing for some time . . .

The original quote is by Marcus Aurelius:

Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180) was Roman emperor from 161 to 180, the last of the rulers known as the Five Good Emperors (a term coined some 13 centuries later by Niccolò Machiavelli), and the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire.   

He is also the emperor portrayed by Richard Harris in the film Gladiator, in which Crowe speaks the line.

Pythagoras also had a go at it:

Banksy put it on a wall in New York in 2013, showing the words being erased:

John Barrymore’s corpse:

Some time ago I posted an anecdote about John Barrymore’s corpse.. I’ll repost that below..

Last week Drew Barrymore revealed that the story was true.

John Barrymore

Here is the Drew Barrymore news report:
Drew Barrymore: Star confirms grandfather’s corpse was ‘stolen’ in Hot Ones interview 
Drew Barrymore has confirmed a bizarre longstanding rumour that her famous grandfather’s corpse was stolen from a morgue for “one last party” following his 1942 death. 
The star made the incredible revelation during an appearance on the famed YouTube series Hot Ones, explaining that the body of her grandfather, legendary actor John Barrymore, was stolen by friends and propped up against a poker table. She went on to reveal that the eerie adventure could well have been the inspiration behind cult comedy Weekend at Bernie’s. 
During the enlightening chat, host Sean Evans had asked Drew, 45, to shed light on the rumour, naming Errol Flynn, comedian WC Fields and the poet Sadakichi Hartmann as the culprits. “They did! And I will say this, I hope my friends do the same for me,” Drew told Evans.  “That is the kind of spirit I can get behind: just prop the old bag up and have a last few rounds.”
She continued: “I think death comes with so much morose sadness, and I understand that, but if it’s okay, just with me, if everyone can be really happy and celebratory and have a party, that would be my preference.”
Drew said the wild night out served as the inspiration for a scene in the Julie Andrews comedy film SOB. She also said she’d heard rumours 1989 cult comedy Weekend at Bernie’s, was also inspired by the fate of her grandfather.  

22 August 2020

Here are are a couple of anecdotes about John Barrymore that I posted in May this year, plus one extra . . .

Errol Flynn's memoirs claims that the film director Raoul Walsh borrowed Barrymore's body before burial to leave his corpse propped in a chair for a drunken Flynn to discover when he returned home. Gene Fowler, a close friend of Barrymore, denies the claim. However, in the words of Mandy Rice Davies, he would say that, wouldn’t he.

As the IMDB records it:

After his death, his friends--including Errol Flynn and Raoul Walsh--gathered at a bar to commiserate on his passing. Walsh, claiming he was too upset, pretended to go home. Instead, he and two friends went to the funeral home and bribed the caretaker to lend them Barrymore's body. Transporting it to Flynn's house, it was propped up in Errol's favorite living room chair. Flynn arrived and described his reaction in his autobiography: "As I opened the door I pressed the button. The lights went on and--I stared into the face of Barrymore . . . They hadn't embalmed him yet. I let out a delirious scream . . . I went back in, still shaking. I retired to my room upstairs shaken and sober. My heart pounded. I couldn't sleep the rest of the night.".


One of my favourite anecdotes about John Barrymore:

After a long day of shooting a film in Hollywood, John Barrymore and some fellow actors stopped in at Lucy's, a popular watering hole near Paramount Studios. After one-too-many drinks, Barrymore excused himself to go to the bathroom. In his slightly inebriated condition, however, he inadvertently chose the ladies' room.

As he was relieving himself, a woman entered and was shocked to see a man urinating into one of the toilets.

"How dare you!" she exclaimed, "This is for ladies!"

The actor turned toward the woman, organ in hand, and resonantly said in full actor's voice: "And so, madam, is this."

An alternative version of the same incident, from the IMDB:

One night, while drunk, he accidentally went into a women's restroom, instead of a men's room, and proceeded to relieve his bladder in a potted plant. A woman standing nearby reminded him that the room was "for ladies exclusively". Turning around, his penis still exposed, Barrymore responded, "So, madam, is this. But every now and again, I'm compelled to run a little water through it." This incident later made its way, verbatim, into My Favourite Year (1982), where the Barrymore-inspired character Alan Swann, played by Peter O'Toole, is involved in a similar situation.


Still another anecdote about him:

His sharp wit never left him, even when he was dying. A priest came to administer the last rites, accompanied by an exceedingly homely nurse. When the priest asked him if he had anything to confess, Barrymore replied, "Yes, Father. I am guilty, at this moment, of having carnal thoughts." "About whom?," replied the shocked priest. "About HER!," he replied, indicating the nurse.

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