Saturday, July 14, 2007

Le Jour De La Bastille

July 14th, 2007

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The Announcement

L'Historien Alternatif Parle: Joyeaux Jour du Bastille! Allons, enfant de le Patrie... Happy Bastille Day to all our French-speaking readers! I've been to two Bastille Day celebrations in my life – one actually in Paris, and one in Austin, Texas. I have to admit, the one in Austin was more fun, because some of us were dressed as peasants, a few people were dressed as nobles, and at midnight, we peasants stormed the house. In Paris, there was no storming – just a lot of military parades. A LOT of military parades. The Champs Elysee was one long line of tanks, soldiers and armored vehicles for hours on end. The French really like to show off their guys and gals in uniform. The night before, though, was something called the Fireman's Ball, I think – where hopefully no fires start in the city, because all of the Parisian firefighters are out getting drunk. That was an interesting night to be out and about in the city.
The Bastille itself no longer exists, of course – they tore it down because it was a symbol of their oppression. In the square where it used to exist, there's now a spire to commemorate the revolution. Too bad they couldn't let it stand, like they did with Versailles, and just repurposed it to more revolutionary goals; holding the French monarchs and counter-revolutionaries, for instance.
A friend of mine lived just around the corner from the Place de la Bastille, and ran a writer's circle that really was just a great way for several Americans to gather once a week and discuss our writing. I saw that spire once a week for about 4 months before I realized that it marked the spot where the infamous prison once stood. I think it was because I usually got off the Metro one stop early, instead of the stop at the actual Place de la Bastille – like many Metro stops in Paris, the one at Place de la Bastille has a lot of historical color to let you know what it once was. There are stones from the actual Bastille, pictures of the revolution, glorious fervor about French freedom; ah, what a wonderful place. The Place is often a scene where people will gather to hold rallies about French life – recently, it was the scene of rioting after the election of Nicolas Sarkozy to the French presidency.
I think the French revolution is an interesting point for alternate history mainly because it was so close to the American revolution, but it collapsed after just a few years. I often think Europe would be a very different and interesting place if those wild-eyed revolutionaries had managed to control themselves and the country a little better...
Anyway, those are my thoughts on Bastille Day – enjoy Steve's entry for today and, vive le Revolution!

Kennedy"The basic problems facing the world today are not susceptible to a military solution."
~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States
Kennedy - US President
US President
After he had secretly surrendered to the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missiles Crises, and was organising a national resistance movement. A synopsis of Graham Masterton's masterpiece IKON (1983) is available at Graham Masterton – Official Site
~ quotation by Co-Historian Steve Payne from Counter-history – You're the Judge!

Oscar Wilde"Like feasting with panthers – the danger is half the excitement."
~ Describing predatory vampirism to Chief Justice Sir Alfred Wills
Oscar Wilde - Predatory Vampire
Predatory Vampire
Heads up ~ In Anno Dracula historian Kim Newman described how Abraham Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker and Lord Godalming failed to stop Count Dracula's conquest of Great Britain, resulting in a world where vampires are common and increasingly dominant in society. By 1888 Dracula married the widowed Queen Victoria, and ruled as Prince Consort.

Yet the Lord Ruthven defeated the Count who subsequently fled to Paris. Eager to stabilise his own rule of non-predatory vampires, Ruthven sought a show trial of the Irish playwright, novelist and poet Oscar Wilde.

Wilde had brought a suit against the father of his familiar Lord Alfred Douglas, the ninth Marquess of Queensberry, for leaving him a libellous calling card at his club. The offending card read “For Oscar Wilde, posing predatory vampire”.

Wilde was subsequently convicted. Prison was unkind to Wilde's health and after he was released on May 19, 1897 he spent his last three years penniless, in self-imposed exile from society and artistic circles. He went under the assumed name of Sebastian Melmoth, after the devilish central character of Wilde's great-uncle Charles Robert Maturin's gothic novel Melmoth the Wanderer. Nevertheless, Wilde lost no time in returning to his previous pleasures. According to Douglas, Ross "dragged [him] back to vampire practices" during the summer of 1897, which they spent together in Berneval. After his release, he also wrote the famous poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol. Wilde spent his last years in the Hôtel d'Alsace, now known as L'Hôtel, in Paris, where he was notorious and uninhibited about enjoying the pleasures he had been denied in England. Again according to Douglas, "he was hand in glove with all the familiars on the Boulevard. He never attempted to conceal it." A transcript of the vampire's tale is described at Wikipedia
~ variant by Steve Payne : extensive use of original content has been made to celebrate the author's genius.

In 2009, TV networks ran episode five of So What If?. Blasting the Reich Chancery Doors away with dynamite, Allied soldiers race into Hitler's Bunker. They find the Fuehrer's Deputy Martin Bormann hanging upside down, his lifeblood emptied. In a tradition as old as Macedonia, the Master had abandoned his nest, sacrificing his Familiar.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 2008, Susan Shwartz published Suppose They Gave a Peace.... Due to the increasing count of body bags returning from Iraq, John F Kerry was elected US president in 2004. Not waiting for the promised US withdrawal, insurgents tighten their grip on the country. An Ohio family worries about its soldier son.

~ variant entry by Steve Payne: extensive use of original content has been made to celebrate the author's genuis.

Robert Ludlum
Robert Ludlum
In 1976, the "alleged", secret files of J. Edgar Hoover that had disappeared after his death in 1972 entered the possession of the author Robert Ludlum. The files, when dovetailed with even a layman's knowledge of government crises since the mid 1960s clearly ..
.. demonstrated how people in high places could be forced to do the bidding of those who possessed the secrets contained therein. A deal was struck with FBI Director Clarence M. Kelley whereby Ludlum could publish his semi-fictional novel The Chancellor Manuscript whilst agreeing to return the secret files back to the Agency.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 2002, French President Jacques Chirac was assassinated during Bastille Day celebrations by a lone gunman with a rifle hidden in a guitar case. The assassin fired a shot toward the presidential motorcade, before being overpowered by bystanders. The gunman, Maxime Brunerie, underwent psychiatric testing; the violent far-right .. Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac
.. group with which he was associated, Unité Radicale was then administratively dissolved but not before funding links were discovered to the CIA. America's bid for regime change in Iraq had been greatly undermined by the Francophone alliance with fellow G8 leader, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. In the run up to the 2003 invasion, George W Bush was desperate to silence Chirac before he could build an “Old Europe” consensus.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

New Horizons
New Horizons
In 2015, by cruel irony the NASA spacecraft named New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto and Charon at 50,000 kilometres per hour, exploring the area for five months. Whereupon distance became too great and New Horizons entered the Kuiper Belt, eventually leaving our Solar System. It was in the belt that the spacecraft encountered ..
.. the alien intelligence known simply as the Voice. Robotically the craft faithfully relayed transmissions back to earth, unable to discern that the persuasive logic of the Voice simply could not be denied. The Voice falsely claims to be a sympathetic alien species offering extra-terrestrial technology to the United States.. for a price. Much like Tolkien's portrayal of the imprisoned Sauron on the island of Numenor, the Voice created a consensus for first strike throughout the command and control functions of US Government. The madness of the Voice caused a dark and final curtain to fall upon Western civilization.

entry by Steve Payne from
Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1940, during World War II: Andrew George Latta McNaughton took command of the 7th Army Corps consisting of British, Canadian and New Zealand troops. The architect of the stunningly successful Dieppe Raid in 1942, military logic rather than political pressures prevailed and McNaughton was named Supreme Commander of Allied .. Andrew McNaughton
Andrew McNaught..
.. Forces. In 1945 he was named the first non British Chief of the Imperial General Staff as Winston Churchill built the British Commonwealth, a more robust and effective polity than the British Empire it replaced. It would indeed last a thousand years.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The instance regarding General McNaughton and WWII is very intriguing, that is really how it should have turned out all things considered.

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