Marie-Antoinette, an Escape Artist


Everyone of us is a victim of history. But to be its martyr you have to qualify. What I mean is you must have some very special qualities; for example, I used to know a very special girl with an inflated sense of decorum, the idea of propriety which would not correspond to the needs of the real world; all this seemed to be drilled into her by the rules of etiquette and effectively stripped my friend of all pragmatic notions. I often suspected that this was a performative helplessness, a put-on naiveté  to put my damsel in distress. I would even get angry with her: What had happened to that intuition which is supposed to keep us in touch with the animal world and guide us as it guides every creature in case of immanent dander? Where is that basic instinct of self-preservation?

Perhaps psychologists can invent for us a Marie-Antoinette complex? At first she could not leave without her husband, then she could not go without her kids, eventually she ended up in a state of total resignation and just could not do it. When we see the number of plots put together to save Marie-Antoinette, when we examine the reason for which they either failed or were outright rejected by her, we begin to wonder if Her Majesty still  had not outgrown that stage which marks every adolescent girl and which makes out of that awkward pimpled thing a little princess.

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