Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Toils of Celebrity

Mobs of fans swarming around celebrities in the streets is no new concept.  Just ask the gorgeous Gunning sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, who could barely go anywhere in public without being stared at.  This extreme facet from the new culture of celebrity took many by shock, prompting some amusing poetry.  After being mobbed in the park for the umpteenth time a satirist imagined Maria petitioning the king for protection from her fans:

'Shut, shut up the Park I beseech you;
Lay a Tax upon staring so hard;
Or, if you're afraid to do that, Sir,
I'm sure you will grant me a Guard!'

The Boon thus requested was granted:
The Warriors were drawn up with care;
'With my slaves and my Guards I'm surrounded,
Come, stare at me now if you dare!'

The poem puts me in mind of the ever-obnoxious TMZ, I like to think of it as a predecessor.  In the end Maria did end up having to hire body guards in the form of the (very official) Brigade of Guards.  However, her personal escorts only served to attract more attention.  No surprise there!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Put this in the Medical Books

As we all well know, women fight a constant battle with themselves...not to faint.  Hysterics as they were called, were an expectant problem of women - not because of tightly-laced stays, this malady was the cause of those emotions women are forced to deal with or, rather to contain.  An expert at the time explained:

The entire female body is riddled by obscure but strangely direct oaths of sympathy...from one extremity of its organic space to the other, it encloses a perpetual possibility of hysteria.  The sympathetic sensibilities of her organism...condemns woman to...diseases of the nerves.
Why thank you for that elucidation, "doctor."

Yes indeed, it was believed that all those pent-up emotions of amorous affection that women contained had no way of escaping and therefore built up in a lady's womb as some sort of massive heat-bomb ready to explode.  And when it did explode?  Hysterics.