Re: Let them eat cake?

John Pastore (venture@CANCUN.RCE.COM.MX)
Thu, 11 Apr 1996 02:12:25 +0000

On 10 Apr 96 at 21:02, John Cole. wrote:

> Hate to defend Marie-Antoinette and all, but wasn't she actually
> referring (with equal lack of empathy, basically) to the crusty
> leftovers from bakeries or something like that? ie, not English
> "cake." Crud food was good enough for the rabble, in other words.
> A bit like a friend of my mother or grandmother I remember as a
> child asking for compliments on the new "chateau" she had on her
> head; odd rumors get started because the pesky French refuse to
> speak English.....
> --John R. Cole

Hi John,

Maybe not. France's upper class was enjoying fabulous wealth. The
royal treasury was the largest it had ever been when Louis came to
the throne. Yet Louis was serious about being an elightened despot,
and knowing constrution creates work, and not for the upper class,
started building.

The bankers let him build one chateau, but became increasingly
irritated with Louis when he started to build lots of them. His
building convinced them that he was going to bankrupt the state
--meaning they wouln't have the money, but the "rabble" would. Louis
was considered a liberal.

Like many revolutions, the so-called French Revolution occurs when
things are getting better (no bad how they might still have been),
when people see a glimmer of a better future, and get itchy for it.
Especially when provacateurs are riling the populace. After all: the
populace never knows that most revolutions end up serving reactionary
interests, not liberal ones, and its not the banker's agents who are
paying the provacateurs who will tell them.

While there were probably less crusty leftovers of bread at the
bakeries of the time, it was not because there was less money among
the populace to buy bread, but via market manipulation simply higher
prices for wheat. Meanwhile there was probably plenty of both bread
crusts and cake crumbs at Versaille too.

Louis and Marie, however, were known for taking carriage rides into
the worst parts of Paris to learn what was going on, and Marie knew
many were going hungry. And their were bread riots.

I think the banquets of Louis and Maire were to placate the bankers,
while trying to convince them to not blame the construction but
simply stop manipulating the price of wheat.

But Louis must have really riled the bankers. Having a sense of humor
and, despite the censors, Louis would invite the likes of Voltaire and
Mollier, and their plays to entertain at his banquets --banquets designed
to convince the bankers.

When things started getting extreme, with the bankers I mean, I
think was at one of those banquets where one of the bankers might
have been critical of Louis saying something like at the rate how
Louis' policies were going they wouldn't have even the cake they
should haveso the populace could have their bread.

Meanwhile, while observing all the crusty bread leftovers the
bankers were tossing on the floor, Marie, defending her husband
probably said her "bon mot" more like: "They want bread? (So) give
them (the) cake!"

So, off with her head too.

As far as the misunderstanding of her "bon mot" later in history?
Well, Louis and Marie were the victims of the French version of it,
which would mean the propaganda of the fraternities who did come to
power -while flapping their napkins free of merengued pastry crumbs,
and of the English version which would mean the propaganda of the
club members who could never admit to any populace sentiments of
aristocrats while dusting jammed crumpet bits off their pouts.

Have fun...

Hasta Saana,

John Pastore