Thursday, February 16, 2012

in an enlightened time

The Palace of Versailles was the seat of French power at a time of intellectual enlightenment. There were chapels, gardens, great gilded halls, royal apartments and a capacity to shelter and entertain literally thousands of people. Today, people pay serious money for the furniture from the era of Louis XIV.

And yet, within those vast and opulent halls there was not a single toilet or any facility for going to the bathroom. People were forced to piss and shit and puke in the stairwells, which was one reason that extravagant amounts of perfume were employed.

So much for enlightenment.

Am I wrong or merely cynical in thinking that grand and sweeping accomplishments -- works of vast beauty and breath-taking vision -- frequently, if not always, leave a similar stench in their wake?

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