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 Marie Antoinette and the Rumors 
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
Personally, learning about how MA really was and how the rumours changed her image completely helped me very much to realize two facts. First, how powerful propaganda can be. Second, how important it is that we never accept things (and especially judgements about people) only because "everyone says that". I've always been perticularly annoyed by that kind of attitude, but studying about MA made me understand even more what damage our superficiality can bring to other people. And yes, I think school could have a very important role in rehabilitating MA's reputation: it would be not only right on a historical point of view, but also edifying on a moral one, because it would teach pupils to look for the truth and not stop at the surface of facts.

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Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:15 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
Like they say, the winners write history. It's the job of a good historian to look beyond that. I would say that in the academic world Marie Antoinette has made great strides in the past century. She was portrayed by the revolutionaries as a wicked and frivolous despot who engaged in lesbian orgies and said "Let them eat cake." She was portrayed by 19th century royalist historians as a fairytale princess who became a martyr and practically a saint. The challenge is to find the real woman, with all her flaws and virtues, between those extremes. I have read many academic books that are positive about the Revolution, but are also sympathetic to the plight of the royal family.

That said, Marie Antoinette has remained in pop culture (as we've talked about in that thread!) as "Let them eat cake." I find that infuriating. The movie certainly didn't help with the image, even though she debunked the quote itself.

Also, rather OT, but I like the name of this thread. It sounds like a good band name.


Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:40 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
dreamoutloud wrote:
I have read many academic books that are positive about the Revolution, but are also sympathetic to the plight of the royal family.

.

It's o true!
I perfectly agree with you

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Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:04 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
[/quote] Also, rather OT, but I like the name of this thread. It sounds like a good band name.[/quote]
Ahh! thank you!!!

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Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:39 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
Yes school does do a poor job of educating. For example my grade ten history teacher told me that she was 110% sure that the french had never had colonies in North Amercia. I can honestly say that I learned nothing that year. Another thing is that anytime I mention MA people always respond 'Let them eat cake' and it's like well she didn't actually say that...

Anyways I'm excited because this year I'm taking a course that focuses on World history of that time.


Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:42 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
It is almost shocking how low educational standards have sunk. In America, we don't even teach our children the truth about American history.

Anyhow, about Marie Antoinette and the rumors...... WHY was all this slander allowed to go on in the first place? WHY was there no attempt at damage control?? Initially, not to dignify it with a response was probably the right thing to do, but as things got out of control, even within the Royal family itself, it's hard to understand why things were left unchecked. In a way this suggests that the King and Queen were out of touch with what was "really" going on. Did they truly not see how ugly this was all becoming? And that ignoring it had done them no good? It seems as there were things that they could have done to show themselves to people in a different light - almost everyone says that the Queen could charm anyone - and many say Louis XVI could have inspired people if he had only spoke up. Even when the Tuilleries was stormed and MA's life was being threatened, Louis XVI asked "What has she done to them?"
Why didn't they defend themselves from the slander and gossip?


Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:51 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
You raise many interesting points, Lilly. I wonder, though, if they put out a positive PR campaign, if it would've made much difference? There were many forces and factions at work within the court that spearheaded the rumours, not least by the Comte de Provence. There were also many complex reasons and events that built up to the beginnings of revolution. But I agree that it is surprising that perhaps they felt that the sanctity of the throne and the people's goodwill would not allow such terrible things to happen, that the children of France would not abandon their Father. How wrong they were. :(

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Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:02 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
Wow, reading back through these posts, and seeing that I originally made this topic when I was still in middle school....being a sophomore in high school now, I have finally discovered a teacher who has their facts on the "cake" matter. My AP Euro teacher, who is amazing in her personality and teaching style, has been able to block and counter argue any cake jokes made while we were talking about the French Rev. Some of my peers would connect Antoinette to the "cake" comment and my teacher would immediately correct them! It is so refreshing to find a talented American history teacher :)

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Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:40 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
That's good! As I said, I believe there is still much bias and mistification in the way people study the French Revolution, at least in Italy. Most history books appear to charge the monarchy with all the faults and omit certain embarassing episodes (the September massacres, for example). Moreover, what most people know about MA is that she was extravagant, she spended too much, and the cake sentence also is quite common in popular culture. Unluckily even the most serious newspapers contribute to keep such commonplaces alive: when some politician is corrupted or shows too high a living standard they write he is "like Marie Antoinette". Thuis makes me get furious!

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Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:03 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
That is horrible! I dont know if you familiar with the American socialite Lindsey Lohan, who is notorious for being in and out of rehab, but she recently stole a 2,500 dollar necklace and I saw on the news they called her the "new Marie Antoinette in an up-to-date Affair of the Necklace"!!! This is so disgusting to me one, because Antoinette was INNOCENT!!! Two, comparing this drug addict star to the poor queen seems like it should be a crime. Opinions?

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Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:56 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
I completely agree, Annies Sis! Such comparisons show the ignorance of the ones who make them. Marie Antoinette was a victim of the necklace affair, she knew nothing of it and surely stole nothing! And, of course, with all due respect to Lindsay Lohan (that it's not in my intensions to judge), it's impossible to compare them. I guess when a celebrity is famous for her excesses, she is automatically compared to MA. But of course MA's "excesses" (if one can define them so, considering the environment she lived in and the common usages of that environment) were very different and much more innocent. Not only wasn't she a drug-addict, but she even never drank wine! So, this is very unfair to her memory, which has already been damaged enough.

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Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:07 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
I completely agree! :)

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Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:25 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
While I do take a rather sympathetic view on Marie Antoinette, as do most on this forum, and mostly in line with the ideas expressed by Fraser, it would be really too bold to fully discard the notion that she may have said "Qu'il mangent de la brioche".

Yes, we all know about Rousseau's Confessions in relation to time, character unsuitability, etc. - but the point is that we will really never know for sure, and as someone researching heavily in this area, it's quite possible that she did.

In any case, I don't believe that she did, but I don't rule it out, either.

What does annoy me is the concept held by many that she was a frivolous, seductive woman who simply gambled the treasury's money away. No idea of her sentimentality or kind spirit, or even sometimes rather insightful nature.

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Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:37 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
Often full of insight I would say....her letters and documented remarks prove it.

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Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:32 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette and the Rumors
That's very true, yet at the same time, one cannot also ignore the influence of those around her and the pressure she felt from Austria in her letters to her mother.

I should add that the recent movie with Dunst did not appeal to me at all.

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Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:46 pm
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