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> Erin Blackwell

Glen Helfand

If A Woman Falls in Cyberspace
by Erin Blackwell, coeur@jps.net

1. The Queen's intimate friends, Madame de Lamballe and Madame de Polignac, were pilloried as mistresses of the arts of Lesbian love; Marie Antoinette was described as a nymphomaniac with perverse inclinations; Louis was a poor weakling on whom his wife had put the horns; the Dauphin was a bastard.

2. I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I did, till we lov'd?

3. The whole body, not just the sex organ, is an individual's erotic instrument. The sum total of this human function is to be called the sexual personality. It is the style of this personality, not the incidental sex organ, that determines "gender".

4. No more was needed than that the Revolution should shout in the streets what for years had been whispered and rhymed in the drawingrooms, and Marie Antoinette was prejudged before ever she was indicted at the Revolutionary Tribunal.

5. I tell you my views because unless I do so, it is scarcely giving you fair play (in your peculiar relationship to me, that is). If you know not the colour of my mind, you may speak inappropriately to me. Was not that my early, & for a time, fatal error towards you? I feared & mistrusted you, & endeavoured therefore to mystify you as to all my real feelings. And a pretty chaos I made of it!

6. I begin to understand Death; which is going on quietly & gradually every minute, & will never be a thing of one particular moment.

7. With inborn and unteachable Hapsburg pride, she thought it better to despise dangers than to go out to meet them with prudence and caution.

8. Dr. Cape said last time that my complaint, such as it was, must have injured my mind & greatly impaired its power & its clearness; - because for months previous, there had been as it were a continuous current drawn off from the Brain. - I often feel great confusion & difficulty in concentrating my ideas; & also as if I could only perceive one idea at a time. At other times I felt also as if I were dulled & indifferent. -

9.
I felt a funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading - treading - till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through -

10. Speedily it became known that pamphlets directed against Marie Antoinette were the best-paying proposition, and even that there was no serious risk attached to their sale - so naturally the trade was brisk.

11. From coin to paper currency, and from currency to credit card there is a steady progression toward commercial exchange as the movement of information itself.

12. Art never expresses anything but itself. It has an independent life, just as Thought has, and develops purely on its own lines. It is not necessarily realistic in an age of realism, nor virtual in an age of information. So far from being the creation of its time, it is usually in direct opposition to it, and the only history that it preserves for us is the history of its own progress. To pass from the art of a time to the time itself is the great mistake that all historians commit.

13. Distinguished noblemen would visit the bookshops of the Palais Royal and, having been led by the bookseller into a back room, purchase the latest pornographic lampoon directed against the Queen, richly illustrated with lascivious copperplate engravings and peppered with vicious jokes.

1. Stefan Zweig, Marie Antoinette, The Viking Press, 1933.
2. John Donne, The good-morrow, Songs and Sonets, 1633.
3. Parker Tyler, Screening the Sexes: Homosexuality in the Movies, 1972.
4. Zweig, op cit.
5. Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, November 11, 1884, quoted in Ada:
The Enchantress of Numbers: Prophet of the Computer Age, by Betty Alexandra
Toole, 1992.
6. Ada, August 1852, op cit.
7. Zweig again.
8. Ada, August 16, 1851.
9. Emily Dickinson, from poem # 280.
10. Zweig.
11. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1964.
12. Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying: An Observation, 1889.
13. Zweig.