Friday, April 14, 2006

Medieval Obsession

Not a lot to see here, I'm afraid. I'm a bit fed up with current political discourse at the moment (generals saying Rumsfield sucks, various pols being prosecuted for various crimes), and I sort of ran out of "Shut up" for the administration. I just can't stay outraged for that long.

But I can get passionately partisan about battles long since fought, settled and made obsolete. Outrage over King John's (and Edward III's) obession with bringing Wales under English rule? Check. Sudden Yorkist partisanship for Edward IV and Richard III, inspiring me to label myself as a Ricardian? Check. (Though it's sort of sad that I am using my reserve "Shut up's" for Margaret d'Anjou, because she's been dead almost a thousand years.)

Okay, I'll admit that it's all contained between 1150 and 1500 and in the British Isles, but at least I'm not going to get in a huge fight that really matters about the relative merits of Henry of Lancaster versus Edward York's claims to the English throne. Especially since they're both descended from Edward III, and had maybe not equal claims, but were at least equally royal. And I don't think someone's going to pick a fight with me about King John's desire for an island empire, happily giving up Anjou and Avegnin to the French. Because...does anyone have the energy to really argue about things that happened almost nine hundred years ago? So I can get privately outraged about it, but it's sort of impotent.*

What else is going on right now? The weather is getting good. I sat outside and read for a while tonight. Made the Max Cat unhappy, since, even though she doesn't want me to actually touch her, she wants to be in the same room as me, and when I'm on the patio, she's can see me, but is not sitting in the same room as me. So she gets frustrated and starts pawing the door and whining in a really irritating manner. Thus making me take pity on her and coming inside. Of course, now she's being all cute and is sleeping on the footstool next to me.

Hmm. The Sopranos is very good. And, drawing on the above mentioned medieval obsession, has anyone else noticed how the mafia resembles feudal relationships? There's Tony, sitting at the top, commanding the loyalty of his men, but retains the position on their sufferance. Sort of like a medieval king, who retained his crown because his dukes agreed that he should have it. No standing army, all his soldiers came to him through his dukes, who were responsible for raising men. He has men that he knows are loyal, but he also has his enemies. If enough enemies get together and have enough strength, they can mount an opposition to his leadership (presumably they think they've got a viable replacement). Either the leader has enough men loyal to him, and is lucky enough in his fights, that he retains supremacy, or, if enough men desert him, he loses his leadership postion (and possibly his head). If he loses, men who were loyal to him have two choices: maintain their loyalty and maybe die, or be pragmatic and accept the new leadership for the sake of their families. Is it possible that the Mafia is the last functional feudal organization?

So I'll leave you with thought for the nonce. Discuss.

*If you're interested in historical fiction, and this period, I recommend Sharon Kay Penman, who is the author I've been devouring of late. I highly recommend her Welsh trilogy (Here Be Dragons, Falls the Shadow, and The Reckoning) and the aforementioned War of the Roses novel, Sunne in Splendor. She's given herself over to writing mysteries lately, which are good, but don't have the same weight or interest to me.


Blogger mickey said...

here is the problem, you are talking about king's and who deserves to be one and the answer is, none of them! royalty is absurd and violates the rights of men and women and they are not legitimate forms of government. so yes, i am that crazy enough to argue over age old happenings if they involve "royalty". what a bunch of horshit it is! lol.

as for the sopranos, forget all those dynamics. let's discuss how awful gandolfini's accent is and how played out the whole mafia bullshit is. lol.(all said with humor)

4:27 PM  
Blogger CultureMaven said...

Really? You're going to pick a fight over something that happend six hundred years ago? Dude, you need to get out of the house more.

I don't have an issue with royalty, per se. Especially historically because, again, that's what happened. Unless we have access to some string, a piece of gum, and a time machine, there's not a whole lot to be done about it. As to modern The fact that there's a king in Denmark has about zero effect on me.

Youch on Gandolfini! Back off the Tonester, there. I love, love, love the Sopranos. Even its crappiest episode is better than most stuff produced. All I know is that every time I watch it, I develop a giant jones for a bialy, and they're virtually impossible to get down here. Mmmmmm....bialy with onions....

7:20 PM  
Blogger mickey said...

:) lol. we in philly have many bialy. especially if you are raised by italians like i was. so nnnahh!!!

12:42 AM  

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