11 November 2011

Tudor-Stuart England: A Summary

A few centuries ago some people with wigs and castles did some stuff.  This period is also known as Tudor-Stuart England.  I hope to educate you on the areas I have strategically (lazily) decided to study for my forthcoming History examination.

We start our romp through Shakespearean England with Elizabeth I.  Lizzie makes my list of Top 10 Most Likeable Redheads.  She lived and reigned for ages thus created stability and historical events that are pleasant to study.  Her Religious Settlement of 1559 was the first and most important thing she did.  The rest of her throne time was spent chilling and teasing her mammoth ginger wigs.  As Liz was not a creeper, she had "no desire to make window's into men's souls".  Thus the RS was a compromise between two faiths as Sir John Neale put it.  Elizabeth had to create a broad based church to allow the warring Catholic and Protestant gangs to chill.  She was able to actually get along with people, unlike her extreme half-siblings.  As Conrad Russell wrote the reformed Church of England "looked Catholic and sounded Protestant".  The stability of her reign was largely because the Church let everyone get on with their religions and lives.  Our dear Lizzie was all about "outward conformity for the sake of good order not to impose her views" as Simpson wrote.  In another time the Queen would totes have had her own Disney Channel show in which to sing below averagely under the stage name 'Gloriana' and preach acceptance.

Elizabeth's interactions with her cousin*, Mary Queen of Scots, are also notable.  Mary is best known for blowing up her husband and unwittingly naming an alcoholic beverage**.  I think I would be happy with my life if they named a brew of tea after me.  Mary and Liz never got the chance to partake in such cousinly activities as brandy-snap blowing competitions and general frolicking.  Mary was French, ruler of Scotland and Catholic; no bridges of family love could be built between the two.  After Mary fled the land of Scots she was hospitably imprisoned by Liz.  She became the focal point for Catholic treason and her presence sparked the Rebellion of the Northern Earls (1569), The Ridolfi Plot (1571) and finally the Babington Plot (1586).  Graves & Frood, who likely only wrote a textbook because their names are oh so poetic together, wrote that "Mary's arrival hardened Catholic attitudes of Elizabeth".  The Papal Bull of excommunication in 1570 made Elizabeth a legit heretic and "pretended Queen of England" in Catholic eyes.  English Catholics were forced to chose between their Religion and Queen.  Elizabeth was forced to punish treasonous activity.  In practise this meant hatin' on the Catholics with harsher recusancy penalties.  As John Hasler wrote religious diversity was a danger to order.  Once Elizabeth's 007 Babington proved Mary's involvement in plots against the Crown she could be trialled and executed.  Yaaaay?  Liz agreed with "reluctance and ill-grace" as Simpson wrote.  She realised the dangerous precedent executing a royal.  Her lack of appreciation for Mary trying to "bring my kingdom to destruction" overcame her trepidation.  So Mary was killed for the "Catholic Faith and the assertion of my God-given right to the English Crown" and Elizabeth went on being Queen.  The uprisings associated with Mary, and the Spanish Armadas which were sort of related, made propagandists associate Protestantism with patriotism.  Doreen Rosman wrote that beauty.  It is upsetting that she is the ONLY FEMALE HISTORIAN I have come across this year.  Mary succeeded, not in bringing Catholicism back, but increasing fear of everything Popish in England.

James became King of Engerrrland after the lovely Lizzie.  He was pretty harshly judged, but compared to his Son wasn't all that bad.  He crushed on men, didn't balance his favourites, was necessary extravagant to buy his friends and was Scottish.  Not remembered overly fondly but HATERS GON HATE.  Most of his clashes with Parliament were over the "perpetual problem" of finance as Graves & Frood so poetically express.  The Crown was not obliged to call Parliament thus royal poverty actually benefited the governing class because they got to go to London and vote in subsidies.  The proposition of the Great Contract was a radical political occurrence during James' time.  Graves & Frood elegantly explain how the GC "surrendered feudal dues in return for annual taxation".  Feudal taxation was "exploited" by the Crown as Kerr explains.  It was hated because they were "hard to avoid" and had a high political cost.  Kerr also wrote that the gentry was "unsure about trusting the monarch" as an annual tax would make Parliament redundant.  Parliament was the only place where the people (MP's were limited to rich, privileged males.  That represents the population right?) had a voice in Government.  The gentry was not willing to compromise that voice.  As Sharp commented it was in the English people's "interest, that James remained short of money".  Faction fighting, which James' fixation with Carr and Buckingham exacerbated, and James' unwillingness to compromise also contributed to the failure of the Great Contract.  The state's "serious structural weaknesses" that Graves & Frood so wisely mention, remained unaddressed under James.  The trend of discontent amongst the English people regarding their rights continued.  Kerr makes the point that unlike his son James "remained at peace with his people and died in his bed".  Considering he didn't alienate his people to the point of civil war James wasn't the worst ruler of England.

I'm looking at my notes on Charles  and headdesking.  I can't be bothered with all the multitudes of ideas and problems that led to Civil War.  There will be no Charles essay for me.  Basically Charles was an incompetent monarch who was born at a time when the state desperately needed intelligent reform.  The End.  

*or some sort of weird royal relation.
**Except that is a lie because Bloody Mary's were named after Mary I.  Oh well, it sounded good in the sentence.

1 November 2011

A metaphorical and monumental kaftan.

Disclaimer:  This post contains excessive amounts of kaftan.  It is potentially dangerous to those with heart conditions and/or an aversion to fabulousness.

Sometimes miracles happen.  Today was a miracle; in the form of a kaftan.  It boggles the  mind that such beauteous garments exist.  If such a cacophonous piece of fabric ever presents itself to you an occasion must be made of it.

Priced $6 at the Salvation Army.  The lady gave it to me for $5.  I have connections.

Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  No.  It is Ella in a second hand kaftan.

A week today I will have finished high school.  13 years of being privileged enough to be born in a country, and a family, that values education el completo.  It feel as if I should be doing something monumental to mark the occasion.  Instead I am fighting an apathy to study.  Exams?  I laugh in the face of exams.

I'm flying without wiiiiiiings.

Two years of Classical Studies has left me with a major appreciation for  stylised pleats.  O Attic Shape!  When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain.*  Just like Athenian art, my kaftan is timeless.

My trip to the op shop came at a wonderful time.  Today was the last full school assembly of the year and my swan song as the Cultural Prefect.  I was happy to mark it visually.  After the head students gave their final address balloons were dropped from the ceiling of the auditorium.  In true metaphorical style, I felt like one of the balloons falling from the lighting holes toward the seated students.  My much imagined end of school has not been a life-shaking change.  It has been gradual.  The simple pleasure of leaving "like pearls slipping off a string"** and the feeling of falling from a height best describe how I feel.  I am a balloon.***  

These shoes haunt my blog.  My brother has no words to describe his loathing for them.  All he could muster was "disgusting".

So I am a balloon enjoying the terrifying pleasantness of falling out of school.  But I am also being momentous, wearing this undeniable pleated wonder.  Later in the day as I talk about how excited I am for being 18 and being able to club it is pointed out that I actually won't like this coming of age activity.  It is true.  Drunkenness makes me extremely uncomfortable.  I have an aversion to bodycon dresses and general sleaziness.  And my musical taste is far more developed and elitist than your average dubstep obsessed youth.  I accept these facts.  But I also desperately want to be excited for busting moves in the club.  Piling in a car with energetic whipper snappers.  Interpretive dancing like ood****.  Enjoying iced tea and oversize burgers then car tripping back home to bed.  These are my dreams.  I want growing up to be an epic excursion.  For as long as I haven't been 18 I have been promised strobe lit good times in small spaces.  I want clubbing to be the funnest, bestest, most youthful experience of my life.  I want to nostalgically tell my grandchildren how I found love in the club.  I want my growth into an adult to be as momentous as my kaftan.

The kaftan made me dance.  

School is ending.  It is nice.  It is scary.  It is momentous, but it doesn't feel like that.  Marking the inevitable last experiences doesn't make me especially upset.  Last Speech and Drama lesson.  Last assembly.  Last full week of school.  I get no poetic surges of angst from these facts.  It surprises me that I don't feel more momentous and nostalgic about the process.  I don't feel disillusioned from my imaginings of the monumental future.  Instead a sense of surrealism accompanies my last days at high school.  My clothing has become compensation for something I am not feeling.  The kaftan is totes an expression of how exciting the ending is.  This kaftan is a metaphor baby.  

Ahhhh.  The reptilian pattern.  The obnoxious colours.  It is so pretty.

Good sleeves.

I have decided to make a zine after school and examinations finish.  Having a published piece of something to commemorate completion of school seems a mighty fine thing to do.   Also I have some arty and clever friends whom I intend to exploit.

Thank you for reading this ramble.  And thank you for all the lovely comments.  I am enjoying this blog thing.

*Ode to a Grecian Urn, John Keats.  It is likely he actually wrote the poem about this kaftan.  It should be titled Ode to Ella's Kaftan.
** Anne of Avonlea, L M Montgomery.  From chapter 19, Just a Happy Day.  "'After all,' Anne had said to Marilla once, 'I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.'"
*** Probably a reference to Paper Towns by John Green.  Hard to tell as I honestly feel everything is.
****  I can't insert the GIF.  But I can insert the video.