Thursday, January 12, 2006

Marie Antoinette – Would You Trade Places?

We have all heard of Marie Antoinette – and I am talking about the 18th century monarch, not the porn star. Okay, I am sort of assuming that there is a porn star by that name. By the way, when I googled for the porn star, I got Kirsten Dunst. Apparently she will be playing her in an upcoming film. Who would have guessed?

I was thinking about her this morning – the "Let them eat cake" chick who ended up losing her head. She embodied opulence, not only with the cake reference, but with her wardrobe (she always spent more than the king's allowance), with spending on her friends, with everything.

But would you trade places – would you get all your heart desired (minus perhaps the pure love of your king), be known by all, be able to do what you want, in trade for having your life end at what, 38? Sort of like the Elton John song – "your candle burned out long before your legend ever did". Having what some would call a fantastic life in trade for a short life.

Not sure if you have heard of Marie's "hameau." This was a Viennese retreat where she played at being at being a simple milkmaid. Now, for some reason, guys love the fantasy of a woman being a milkmaid. Or is that a French maid? You know me, I never have sex on my mind. Anyway, it is not like the Queen of France was really play acting on being a simple milkmaid. The retreat was stocked with perfumed sheep and goats (no need to have stinky animals) and the actual milking and other chores were done by servants. Marie saw herself as Helen of Troy – so like Helen, she had Sevres porcelain bowls made using a cast of her own breasts. Yes, ddot, they were reported to be "ample" in nature.

And when I was in school, no one told me Marie Antoinette was a slut. Well, she was. They talked about the opulence, her beauty, her marriage to the French King, her catch phrase, and the guillotine.

I mean, when the Parisian women stormed the palace chanting "kill the Austrian whore", I wonder what Marie was thinking. Was she thinking of the nice things she had, how servants were there, in part, just to tend to her senses? Not sure what she was thinking as she fled, half-naked from her bed.

You don't have to answer this, but what would you rather be? Someone who lived to a ripe old age with little impact on the world. Or would you like a bright flame which burned out all too soon? And I am not just talking about the material things that Ms. Marie embodied. Think of people like Kathi, who teach students – I will always remember some teachers, including one sub who told the best stories. Or your mother or father – if they really shaped your life. I think being a good parent (perhaps I should use the word "mentor"?) is the most impact thing someone can ever do.

Thinking about this makes me want to do something to impact others in a more meaningful way. Thanks, Marie Antoinette, you Austrian whore, you.

21 comments:

moebugge said...

Marie Antoinette a film currently in production by Sophia Coppola.
But in reference to your proposal. I was bouncing along in my late teens early twenties when my mother told me one morning that she had a dream about me, and refused to tell me what it was about. My curiousity would not be abated. I literally hounded her until she blurted out I dreamt you were going to die. Crushed I resolved to live my life to the fullest because I was going to die. I unleashed the dogs from hell- drugs,orgies, recklessness in every sense of the word. Ended up in a hospital having a near death experience; went through the tunnel of darkness and literally saw the light and heard voices which pronounced it is not your time yet. You have to go back. I came back grudgingly. I had my charts done, went to seers; and everyone validated what the voices in the tunnel had said. I was going to be here - so prepare for the future.
Did I address your question?

Shannon said...

Darn that's a hard question!!

As much as I would love to live a life that impacted others and was meaningful.. I would always perfer to live as long as I possibly can..butttttttt if I had to choose, I would want to be remembered ( in a good way ).. so I would choose for "my candle to burn out long before my legend ever did."

That gives everyone something to think about, that's for sure! Great Post as usual!!! =)

Joe said...

I'd rather die young and leave a legacy behind - though more like Kathi's than Marie Antoinette.

I wonder if I can buy those bowls on eBay...

Grant said...

I think I'd rather live fast, die young, and leave behind a good looking corpse. It's already too late for that, but that's how I originally planned to go. When I was in high school I planned to be dead by 25, even though I've had a lifelong belief that I'll die at 55. I'm not superstitious, but dreams of dying at that age started in my preteen years and they resurface every so often. Whether there's any truth to it or not, that's the deadline I use when making my life's plans.

Jodes said...

interesting

Leesa said...

moebugge: very interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

shannon: thanks. Not sure what I would chose myself.

joe: you could always see how open a date was to making the bowl with you. Er, well, not sure that is such a good idea after all.

grant: you seem to suck the marrow out of life - that response does not surprise me at all. And is far as leaving a good looking corpse - the people that drain your blood and make you look good are very good at their work. Sometimes I don't even recognize the corpse. It's like, "Uncle Fred, death becomes you!"

jodes: thanks!

Prata said...

Hmm...waking up a tired old man that dies from pneumonia hacking and gagging his way to Hell, or killed with the ak-47 blazing as I try to take all the people I can with me. Hrm.

Seriously though, I could go either way. I'm not necessarily a person of excess. However, I am a proud man and at the same time an honorable man. I've tried my best to be as good of a mentor as I can be while I'm here. I would like to leave something behind for others to learn from (a way to be or not to be I guess). I would prefer that when I die, my 5 year old can say, "Yeah, that was my dad. He was okay." Or even better..."I'm not the way you think I am, I'm a man like my father before me." Reminiscent of Star Wars I guess, but really that's ego talking.

If I'm remembered after I die no matter how amazing my life manages to be (or not), it's probably for the best that they forget my name and simply embrace what is good in the things I've done if there are any. Don't cling to me, let me go.

~Deb said...

A very difficult question for humans to answer. I don’t know if you’ll even get the truth with any of us. As humans, we have a survival mode that tells us, “I don’t wanna die!” However, I think if we absolutely had to pick a choice- everyone would want to live a life that had some meaning to it—or had a major impact on society & the world.

For me? I would never want to become famous to the point of fearing the outside world; fearing that someone would recognize me—or---not having privacy. If anything, I would love to be ‘the behind the scenes’ person who writes---in order to leave an impact on the world. Not necessarily “known” by appearance; but know for helping others in a positive light—incognito—or in my ‘small world’.

Being rich and famous has its toll. You literally give up your freedom to live within society.

A pseudonymous author is a wonderful concept for me.

Great thought provoking post—as always!

Goddess said...

I think most people would like to have their names in history books, immoraltilized. But I think, as long as my children and my friends remember me when I am gone, that is all that is really important. When you get in an history book, people tend to stop looking at you as a whole, and only show whatever suits their purpose. Your life still becomes faded, and the person you were still goes to the depths. I just want my children to tell stories about me to their children, and my grandchildren to tell stories to their children. After that, it is all hearsay.

Prata said...

@Leesa
Saw changes. Way to be. That is the mind of a truly administrative person lol. I never think of stuff like that. Nice goin', and thanks for that.

SuperSpyGal said...

Very Nice Post......

I, myself am not sure on any given day how my life will take shape...I hope and pray that the people I have a positive impact on are my children and loved ones...I try and live my life day by day, making decisions along the way...no part of my life is planned out, as a future is never promised to anyone here on Earth...with any given moment our priorities change...when I was younger I always told myself that if I ever got a serious illnes, I'd just allow myself to die with dignity...now I'd fight tooth and nail because of the people I'd leave behind.....so I guess what I'm trying to say in my round-a-bout way is, I'd rather die old and look back on my life with a sigh and a smile, knowing I made a difference in at least 3 peoples lives (my children) then to die young and leave a mark that would only be remembered briefly by people who would soon forget about me eventually..

Leesa said...

prata: You don't work for the Post Office, do you? AK-47s and all.

~deb: sometimes just asking the question affects how we act and react in the future. I have thought of using a pseudonym when writing.

goddess: good points. Though even our children and grandchildren probably have incomplete pictures as well.

prata: thanks. Where should I send the invoice?

superspygal: Very interesting perspective. For those of us without children, we need to impact others. My neices and nephews are going to get some love and direction now!

Prata said...

@Leesa
To my e-mail address is perfectly fine. In PDF format! If you can't manage pdf, I'll take post script or plain text.

Thanks!

Boris Yeltsin said...

When I read this post, I thought about that movie, "The Doors," about Jim Morrison. What a moron he was! He was so rich and famous, and he was so whacked out half the time, he probably couldn't remember what he was doing or how he spent his money. It's like he lived his life with the abiltiy to recall his times like a child between the ages of 0-4; does anyone remember that time in their life? What a waste! Then again, you've got people like Ronald Reagan, who through no fault of their own, wind up the same way. What a tough choice! BTW: I do use a pseudonym and I love it!

Sis B said...

Great post. I love the ones that make me think. I'd have to go for the short but meaningful life. I always try to live like I will die tomorrow (mostly because I'm a pessimistic hypochondriac, not because of any noble "Carpe diem" philosophies). As for parents having the most impact, I will have to say abso-friggin-lutely they have the biggest impact of everyone. Look at all the crime, all the millions of dollars spent on therapy, all of the societal problems caused by unthoughtful parenting. If parents took their responsibilities seriously and raised their children with love, understanding and values, many of the issues facing modern society would be resolved. (OMG I think I just started sounding like a republican...) anyway... if parents did nothing else but raise productive children, they would have an incredibly long-lasting impact on society.

about fears friday--stop by tomorrow for the full version. but it's basically a day to express your fears. you can do it in my comments, or on your own blog. it's therapeutic and cleansing to get those things off your chest. you can even do it anon if you need to. thanks for inquiring!

Bruce said...

I'm not someone who enjoys the limelight, in any sense of the word, so I'd prefer to live a long and uneventful life. My choice is also tempered somewhat by the fact that my father passed away at the age of 50, and I'm already older than that.

Girl Next Door said...

That's a great question. The people who really form and shape us are the ones we never give much credit to. Teachers, volunteers, good Samaritans.

I wish there was more that could be done for those who give their service the way they do.

GNDTX

Slut Betty said...

I'm all for living long and being remembered for the "good" even if it wasn't "flashy"... my grandpa had great stories... he was also homeless at one time... he also worked on building the railroad across Canada... he was also a PAIN IN THE ASS when he lost his mind through alzhiemers (however you spell it)... but I'd not trade that old pain in the ass for ANYTHING... I'm glad when he died he died in his sleep peacefully... he deserved that!

mojo k o'yote said...

thought provoking.'

better to be, and be remembered as, a poor but good man, like skip james said, than a wealthy, powerful, hurtful soul. i try to live so it'll be easy to die. and i wonder sometimes how the uncognizant wealthy feel as they prepare to cross over.

Byron said...

Hiya Leesa

Me i would like to live the old age but as an image maker for a rockstar i would kill them to make them famous.Would Jim Morrison,James Dean,Jesus Christ be as popular icons if they lived a full life...I believe not..Icons need to die pretty and young to carry the legend of what they represent.....and Marie Antoinette was such a lovely whore

Edtime Stories said...

Leesa,
Immortality comes with leaving a mark on the world. But do you really have to die young to be a legend. I think of Ben Franklin, just as much of an 18th century whore in his own way who quipped and debated his way into the minds of the last 2 centuries of americans. He was the ultimate in Renaissance men and lived to a ripe old age, a man I wish I could be more like. But if given the choice I would wonder longevity versus impact is tough. I wonder if I could even find myself choosing.