Sunday, April 30, 2006

thought there was love in everyone and everything - you're so naive

The trailer for Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette is amazing and makes this movie look so good. Ethan told me about the trailer a couple months ago and I didn’t pay much attention to him then, but am at the point in this biography of John Adams, where the French Revolution is in full bloody swing and Antoinette has just lost her head. And so, I found myself on the internet today, intrigued by her story and watching this trailer which is set to a New Order song and is amazing, as I have already said.

God, the French Revolution! What a crazy time. I am so fascinated by things like this when seemingly ordinary people go psycho and commit outrageously violent actions, when the streets are total bedlam. Human beings have such violent tendencies and they are awful, but also totally fascinating. Carrying around heads on pikes through the street, beating in heads with hammers, hacking off limbs. And the same violence happened in Liberia just several years ago when citizens seemed utterly hellbent in the savageness of their violence. And some thing similar is going on in Darfur right now. Where does this violence spring from? I know that it is somewhere latent in me and that is what fascinates me so much about these situations, about what would provoke it and what would keep it in check. If I had lived in Jacobin France, would I have been taken with that seeming joy of killing? These are the questions I ask myself reading history accounts and surely, why they are so fascinating, a bit of roleplay and assessing your own character, asking under those circumstances how you would have behaved. If you were Antoinette would you have behaved so bravely with muskets pointed at you? Would you have been pointing one of those muskets? One of the masses cheering on the insanity?

Has anyone read a really good (readable) history of the French Revolution that they can recommend?

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