The Bluestocking, vol 254
its own passports in a pre-1914 style
I’m on the road again this week, literally—some might say that six months after passing your driving test is not the time to hire a giant SUV, but I can’t hear those people over the ROAR of my ENGINE.
Whenever I’m travelling for work, I switch on what Jonathan calls the “Find My Wife” app on my phone, in case I get kidnapped or whatever. Around 45 minutes after I picked up the hire car, wondering if I was doing OK driving an automatic, on my own, on the wrong side of the road in a foreign country, he checked the app to discover I was . . . at a McDonalds drive-thru.
And then he stopped worrying.
As it happens, I wasn’t driving through the McDs—I wanted to go in and drink tea while waiting for an appointment. But I have to say, this oddly ominous advert for the McRib stopped me short. What’s going on here? Is this about my teeth? My coronary arteries? Is this a particularly rough McDonalds?
Any suggestions for what they were going for, hit “reply” or drop them in the comments.
The March of Germany’s Extreme Monarchists (Spectator)
Elisabeth R, arrested last month by state police, is alleged to be one of those extremist Reichsbürgers. She is not how you imagine a terrorist to be: a 75-year-old retired teacher with shoulder–length white hair, pictured carrying her belongings in a brown potato bag. She is accused of plotting to overthrow the incumbent government to restore the German monarchy.
There are other monarchist groups that lobby for a restoration of the Hohenzollern dynasty that once ran the country. One, Ewiger Bund, makes its own passports in a pre-1914 style which it then attempts to get stamped by a member of the old aristocratic families to gain citizenship of a lost imperial Germany. Many see Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia and the great-great-grandson of Wilhelm II, as the only legitimate ruler of the country.
Short, interesting piece which bolsters my working thesis that across central and Eastern Europe, monarchical restoration is bound up with nationalist and far right politics. There wasn’t room to write about this tendency much in my Ex-Royals piece, but it does explain why Karl von Habsburg—who is conservative, but internationalist—was so embarrassed by the Czech monarchists who made him a replica of the Wenceslas crown for his birthday.
A hat-tip here for Ed West, who tweeted this piece along with a link to a map of Germany pre-Bismarck. You might not like it, but this is what peak Landgrave and Margrave performance looks like:
“All decades are Janus-faced. The collapse of the Berlin Wall and the attacks on the World Trade Center, the two events that bookend the 1990s, give an illusion of coherence to a chaotic and paradoxical decade. While those who lived through it tend to celebrate its explosive confidence, younger critics on the Left damn it for the complacency it induced and argue that we are now living with the crises – political, economic, technological – that the Nineties seeded.” Dorian Lynskey reviews two books about the 90s (Literary Review).
Jim Naughtie and I look back through the BBC archive at 100 years of breaking news (BBC Sounds).
Gia Milinovich on the socialist/populist feminist schism, which I still haven’t managed to write about. Luckily her take is great! I Agree With Gia. (Substack)
Her previous post, about the Posie Parker/Kellie Jay Keen model of activism, is also worth reading.
Kurt Vonnegut on Allan Ginsberg’s “Howl”: “No offense intended, but it would never occur to me to look for the best minds in any generation in an undergraduate English department anywhere.”
“There are all sorts of ways it could all fall apart, and fall apart it might. But the reason it’s working for now has a ton to do with the incompetence and groupthink that characterize so much mainstream journalism. One of the biggest reasons people subscribe to my newsletter or my podcast or both is because they are turned off by the bland, predictable, and fact-challenged sanctimony so prevalent in media coverage of hot-button controversies.” I’m very ambivalent about this post from Jesse Singal, which is effectively two fingers up at the mainstream journalists who hounded him out of the legacy outlets and off to Substack (and a much, much bigger salary there). I’m very sympathetic to the general complaint, but I think a) it’s dangerous to define yourself as “heterodox” in the same way it’s dangerous to decide you are universally smart, rather than someone with some knowledge and expertise in a particular area; b) I don’t feel as pessimistic about the MSM, even the American MSM, as Jesse does. But I guess that’s my own bias. (Substack)
“In 2014, most of his then $20 million revenue came from selling supplements like Super Male Vitality, according to testimony Jones gave in a court case. After he was banned from major social media platforms in 2018, he expanded his sales, offering a 50 percent discount for at least one of his alleged testosterone boosters to “push back in the fight against the globalist agenda” — a bargain at $34.95.” Zeynep Tufecki on the economics of Alex Jones (NYT).
David Frum is right to worry about Elon Musk’s new blue-tick plan increasing misinformation, but currently my main gripe is that the Musk takeover has made Twitter incredibly boring. It’s like the world’s richest man wakes up every day, drops his trousers and takes a dump right in the middle of the “world’s town square” and everyone has to stand around offering their opinions on the dump he’s just taken. (The Atlantic)
See you next time!