Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Well, a new blog on the Internet!  Hurray, no more of those annoying bulletin boards!

This one's about the year 1870.  Or, more precisely, from about December 1869 to May 1871.  And it's about Europe.  Yeah, sorry, those of you in Rio Linda, it's not about anywhere but Europe.  Although I do have little side trips.  It's about this project I'm getting started on.

I have become fascinated by the Franco-Prussian War.  Well, we each have our particular insidious addictions.  For some unnamed football players, it's PCP, for me it's the Franco-Prussian War!

Of course, things aren't that simple.  And maybe that's why I like the F-P War.  Its implications spread out like ripples on the pond of 19th century history.  And that means History with a capital H.  For the 19th century, in Europe, was the start of something big, and everything modern.  Maybe someday I'll do a project called just 1800s. 

From our point of view in 2013, though, several big things were going on in 1870.  I've separated my project into five parts, but that's pretty arbitrary.  I just do that for simplicity.  It's headlined by five straight white men.  Great guys all, or, at least, interesting guys.

But here are the five:

(1)The Pope (Pius IX, to be exact).  He had a lot going on, being God's representative on earth and all that.  He was in the middle of losing his temporal domains (populated territory governed by Popes for an indeterminate but very long time).  But he was shoring up his spiritual concerns.  He had called a Council of bishops and cardinals and that sort of higher cleric.  It was called The First Vatican Council.  All you amateur theologians are no doubt aware of the spiritual disaster called Vatican II.  (by the way, my personal views are included here, not just because they're inevitably right, indeed infallible, but because, hey, it's my blog.  Relax.  You'll learn something.  I guarantee it.)  Well, a Vatican II sort of requires a Vatican I.  And this was it, from about December 1869 to July 1870.  Hmm, now that I think of it, it was never formally prorogued.  So it may be still in existence.  So maybe Vatican II should really have been called Vatican I, Continued.  Or VATICAN I, THE UNDEAD.  Or something modern like that, fit for the 1960s. (more detail coming)

(2) Giuseppe Garibaldi.  He really needed to get his Italia together.  His situation in 1870 is - complex.  Maybe as complex as the Pope's.  He's got lots to worry about, on personal and political planes.  He had lived a fantastic life.  Having him in this project is pure bonus, because it allows and requires me to go back over his life.

(3) Otto von Bismarck.  Large German fellow.  Prussian, to be exact.  Six foot five;  high, squeaky voice; extremely subtle mind, wrote snappy telegrams that started wars; drank a mixture of good German stout and good French champagne for dinner.  Or at least that's how he is portrayed on the 1870 playing card set.  And board game and cable television show.  I'm looking ahead, you see.

(4) Napoleon III, AKA Louis Napoleon.  Short, mustachioed French fellow.  Knew that he wanted to be an emperor, like his uncle Bonaparte.  Looked in the want ads and saw no openings for emperors.  So he created himself a job.  Isn't that what we're all supposed to do now that unemployment is permanently over 100% (You don't really believe those govt. stats, do you?)  But Napoleon did a lot for Paris.  I like Paris, especially when it isn't raining and all the tourists have been driven away by the plague rumors I've been spreading - oops, forget you read that!

(5) Some guy who has decided to make a career out of running revolutions, especially in Paris.  I don't know what he looks like.  Maybe he's me.  But if you are addicted to starting revolutions, Paris in 1870 is not a bad place to be.  1871 is even better.  Why, you might even get Karl Marx himself to write about you.  In the past tense, most likely.

So there they are.  I'll be expanding on my ideas.  And I hope to give some information about writing style, too.  Welcome to Fact-Based Historical and Philosophical Interpretation.

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