Bones of a King

Royal Skeleton Under Parking Lot
May Force England to Revise its Past

The remains of one of England’s most vilified sovereigns have been positively ID’d as belonging to Richard III, who ruled from 1483 until he was bludgeoned to death in the 1485 Battle of Bosworth. But his particularly gruesome demise wasn’t the last indignity he suffered.
His almost complete skeleton caused an international stir when it was uncovered, buried under a prosaic parking lot in Leicester, and DNA tests only confirmed what many already suspected. Now starts an even more daunting quest: to restore his battered reputation.
It won’t be easy. After all, when he lost his life and crown as the last Plantagenet king, bringing the famed Wars of the Roses to a conclusion, he and his kin were replaced by the Tudors, who dominated and literally rewrote the U.K.’s history to suit their political interests.
Besides history, Richard III had also a circumstantial but powerful foe, to conspire against his legacy: William Shakespeare, who wrote a play with his name that rivals the historical record, and who, according to many, was himself not unfamiliar with the convenience of creating new identities.
Shakespeare helped to consolidate Richard’s image as a cruel and blood-thirsty despot, with a physical deformity to match his sadistic reputation. Left unsaid is the fact that such a well constructed composite would suit well the ruling Tudors’ aim at winning hearts and minds during the bard’s time.
There’s now a big discussion in England on how to go about restoring King Richard’s true place in history, more in synch with our own times Continue reading

Two Minutes to Go

Elle Jane Townsend, U.K.

When There’s No Time to
Pick What You Really Love

Few events present a more dramatic picture of the absolute temporality of our experience on earth than the eminence of an unavoidable disaster. Except, of course, the moment of our last breath, in which case, such concepts as time and disaster are really beside the point.
Otherwise, at that crucial realization that we must get out in order to survive, our very next thought may be about what to take with us. Not being quite our final trip, we may be allowed to pick some beloved possessions before we go. But how to know what that would be?
Naturally, the Internet is full of disaster preparation guides, designed for those who’d rather be on the lookout for a possible early call towards destiny. Those who live in areas prone to ‘acts of god,’ in plain insurancenese, may be familiar and even have already a kit, with a few necessary items to take.
We’re not talking about that sort of situation, which in most cases can be well addressed with a simple permanently packed suitcase. What we mean is the kind of unexpected catastrophe that, ironically, would give you just enough time to go insane, imagining what you’d really need to take with you.
For most of us, it’d be a losing proposition, and we’re bound to choose exactly what we’ll never need. In a hurry, we most definitely forget a number of irreplaceables, which we’ll spend the rest of our lives regretting having left behind. If we’re lucky, eventually we may learn why those trinkets were so dear to us, and why it was all so silly.
At the same time, we may find ourselves treasuring previously useless items, such as a pair of socks only heaven knows why we actually took the time to salvage, almost as a reminder of that aforementioned Continue reading