Victorian Secrets

U.K. Celebrates Two Queens;
the World Respectfully Yawns

For many British citizens, Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee is a reason to be jolly, as their monarch completes 60 years as a mainly relic of the U.K.’s gilded past. But while the English don’t mind being called ‘subjects’ of a fading empire, the rest of the world is unmoved. In the U.S., which since its independence has completely upstaged its former lords, the anniversary is a moot point.
Elizabeth Regina took the opportunity to mark another Jubilee, that of Alexandrina Victoria, by posting her last female predecessor’s diaries online. It’s hours of minutia of interest mostly to historian and Anglophiles, and pretty much almost no one else, about the inside-palace goings of life in the 1800s, which the queen was, even if unwittingly, a dominant figure.

Which is not to say that the U.K. for what it represents to the world has become irrelevant. Not yet, anyway. The cradle of a language that’s still vibrant enough to be considered a universal tongue, this tiny island had indeed an oversize role in shaping the world as it came to be, and no other empire since the Romans was as powerful.
It thrived through the Dark and Middle Ages, and wound up dominating the seas during the Discovery Era, defeating all the great fleets of the time, including the Spanish Armada. At the dawn of the 20th century, Great Britain was still controlling a fifth of the world’s population, with the equivalent power to boot.
DICKENSIAN TIMES
Before that, Queen Victoria presided over a period of material prosperity and population explosion throughout the empire, although the times are better encapsulated by the grim social tales of Charles Dickens. They mostly portray a reality of great hardship for the poor, Continue reading

Shades of Censorship

Brazilian Artist’s Shocking Work
Criticized as “Apology to Crime”

Brazilian artist Gil Vicente is in the hot seat in his country, just as a collection of his work is being readied for the Bienal that starts in Sao Paulo Tuesday. His charcoal drawing series “Inimigos” (“Enemies”) portrays him killing, in a very graphic, al-Qaeda style, Brazil’s President Lula, his predecessor, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Pope Benedict XVI, even England’s Continue reading

Serial Beaker

Psycho Swan
Out of Pound

Now you know why comedians place their highest bets on finding material with politics and public figures’ antics. Most of every other piece of news nature throws at us has, by itself, its own punch line. To add anything to the stuff that makes up 90% of the news is not just redundant, it’s just plain unfunny.
Take Hannibal, for example. Here’s a swan who’s always taken it Continue reading