COVID Day 65: Let Them Eat Cake

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One of the most widely known quotes in history is, “Let Them Eat Cake,” which Marie-Antoinette allegedly uttered in 1789, when informed the starving people of France had no bread. As callous as this cold statement is, many historians claim she never said it, asserting it was actually the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his book VI of Rousseau’s Confessions, published in 1767, who attributes the quote to a Spanish princess.

Since Marie-Antoinette was only ten in 1767 and from Austria, she could not have been the one to say it, but that minor detail didn’t much matter to the guillotine. Since Rousseau’s writings inspired the French revolutionaries, it is believed they picked up on this quote and falsely credited it to Marie-Antoinette, then manipulated the media to spread it as propaganda to arouse opposition to the monarchy.

In France at the time of the revolution, there were three estates, Clergy, Nobility, and the Commoners. The fourth estate, which grew out of the revolution, is what we now call the free press. It’s somewhat ironic that in our modern era of biased media reporting that the birth of the free press began as fake news.

As with the American Revolution, there were many courageous men and women who led the French Revolution. One such leader was Emmanuel Sieyès, who published, The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, which he based in part on the newly minted American Constitution. Sieyès wrote, “We do not get our freedom from privileges, but from our rights as citizens, rights which belong to everyone.

What does any of this have to do with anything? Well it occurs to me that as the first estate (clergy) meekly acquiesce to the sudden rise in power of the second estate (political class), enabled by a compliant fourth estate (media), the majority of us in the third estate (commoners), grow increasing restless. I don’t know about you, but bread’s been a bit of a hit or miss at my grocery store and when governors claim they don’t care what their citizens think of lockdown measures, it reeks with cake eating overtones.

Witness the wild way I bring this whole thing home

I rarely watch news on TV and don’t read newspapers, preferring to get my news from radio and the internet; finding a freer press online than within centralized media. I did however watch TV news yesterday where a story featuring Governor Cuomo of New York was followed by another story of Governor Newsom from California, which was followed by a third story with New Mexico Governor Grisham. What struck me most about these stories had nothing to do with whatever these power mad politicians were pontificating, but rather how well groomed they were. These three governors, from states that closed down barber shops and hair salons months ago, were perfectly groomed. How is that possible?

Raise your hand if you could use a haircut. My hair’s needed cutting since February and is now so long at ratty I’ve taken to wearing a hat all the time, which I hate. What I’d really like to do with this hat I hate wearing, is to fill with cake and shove it in the perfectly groomed faces of hypocritically repressive governors. . . then their compliant media can quote me saying, “let them eat cake.