Reign Update

I watched the series finale of Reign the other night.  Wow!  They moved fast!  No sooner had Lord Darnley been killed did John Knox and his cronies march in there and arrest Mary.  A minute later, we were in 1587 at Mary’s execution.  So much for Mary’s marriage to Bothwell, captivity and the Babington Plot!  The series got seventy-eight episodes total, and I wish they could have had a couple shows to adequately portray Mary’s demise.  So instead, Elizabeth becomes the super-villain!

Mary leaves her infant son, now King James to be raised by his uncle, the Earl of Moray.  On this show, the earl is a noble figure, Mary’s right-hand man.  In history, the Earl of Moray is the main source of Mary’s problem.  He is very much like the John Knox character on the show and forces Mary’s abdication and flight into England.  But the show had to go the simple route of a hot good guy and Elizabeth being evil!

The scene with grown up King James meeting with Elizabeth, pleading for his mother’s life, is the one that really got me.  Elizabeth gives King James the choice – his mother’s life or the English throne when Elizabeth dies.  Said meeting never took place.  Additionally, Elizabeth didn’t name her successor until her deathbed.  She was a smart lady and naming her successor would have compromised her.  The idea that she gave the King of Scotland a choice like this is preposterous.  James then chastises Elizabeth for being weak and afraid of Mary.  Who cares?  Elizabeth lives and fosters the Golden Age of England.

Unfortunately, the show didn’t address the Babington Plot.  Although Mary was set up, there was a letter in her own hand authorizing her supporters to assassinate Elizabeth.  Again, Elizabeth had no choice.  She had to execute her rival, but the show didn’t acknowledge it since it didn’t fit into the “heroine Mary” narrative.

Twitter was a dream on Friday night.  People were tweeting, “Elizabeth, you b****!”  Elizabeth probably was that for many ones, but don’t attack her for protecting her realm.

Historical shows/films, due to time constraints or whatever, often change history but not to the point where they change a person’s character.  The only other one I can think of is Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl.  Don’t even get me started on that one.  Even The Tudors and Braveheart, riddled with historical inaccuracies, didn’t change the characterization of the subjects.  They may have changed some of the surrounding details but not the actual person.

We live in a world where people think Abraham Lincoln was the first president of the United States and chocolate milk comes from brown cows.  Unfortunately, people think what they see on a historical show is fairly accurate, and this show really missed the mark on one of history’s strongest women.  Like it or not, Mary, Queen of Scots had it coming to her and much of it was her fault.

P.S. Mary, Queen of Scot’s execution was a signal to Catholic Europe to attack England aka the Spanish Armada.  Therefore, Elizabeth’s England defeated the Armada in 1588, not before Mary’s death as portrayed on the show.  I had to let that out.

P.S.S. If you want a good movie on Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth, please see Mary, Queen of Scots starring Vanessa Redgrave as Mary and Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth.  Although there are some inaccuracies, such as scenes where the two queens meet, they don’t change the story.

 

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RIP to Reign

When my husband is working late at night and Baby Munchkin is sound asleep, I sometimes tune into a show called Reign on The CW.  It is a show very loosely based on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots.  The series finale is this Friday, June 16th.

I don’t know why I watch it.  I am fascinated by that era in history, but the historical flaws really infuriate me.  The actress who plays Mary, although beautiful, looks nothing like Mary.  I could live with that if that were the only thing.  They have changed the characterization of some key historical figures, particularly her first husband Francis II of France and her half-brother James Stuart, Earl of Moray.  There is also this really weird storyline about the supernatural (The CW already has a ton of vampire shows).  These are a just a couple of the really obvious ones.

Whenever history goes Hollywood, inaccuracies can be expected.  Braveheart is one of the most historically inaccurate films ever.  The real William Wallace was 6’6″ while Mel Gibson was a foot shorter.  Princess Isabella, who Wallace is shown to have an affair, didn’t even come to England until 1308, almost three years after Wallace’s execution.  Jonathan Rhys Meyers on The Tudors, although a magnificent actor, was the worst Henry VIII ever.  Henry was known for being red-haired and larger than life, not 5’7″ and moody.  All this aside, the thing that really irks me about Reign is its portrayal of Mary vs. her cousin and rival, Elizabeth I.

Full Disclosure: I am and always will be team Elizabeth.

On this show, Mary is all things good, and Elizabeth is the evil aggressor who executes Mary’s bff (also fake).  The writers try to justify Mary’s claim to the English throne.  In my opinion, Mary is the aggressor here, not Elizabeth.  But if your only experience with this era of history is this show, you would think “poor Mary, bad Elizabeth.”

Let’s think a moment about who Elizabeth was.  Her mother was executed at age three.  She saw another stepmother executed.  Her place at court depended on the mood of her father, Henry VIII.  A scandal in her stepmother’s home almost brought about her ruin at age thirteen.  Her brother disinherited her.  Her sister, Mary Tudor (different person), imprisoned her in the Tower of London and was thisclose to signing Elizabeth’s death warrant. Additionally, Catholic Europe, especially Spain was gunning for her.  The fact that she was a woman didn’t get her any points either.

She could have run away or given up but she survived and THRIVED!  What an inspiration she was and could be to a new generation learning to love history.

Elizabeth survived her perilous beginning and her own reign with her intelligence and non-committal attitude.  She never knew security, so when Mary attempted to claim the English throne, I can understand why Elizabeth reacted the way she did.  I get that it’s “not nice” that Elizabeth ultimately imprisoned and executed Mary.  In fact, she didn’t want to do it and was haunted by Mary until her own death in 1603. Understanding Elizabeth’s time period and own upbringing, you can see that she had no choice.

It would have been better to not have Elizabeth on the show at all than to have these superficial plot points involving her.  She was much more effective as a mysterious figure in season two.  Since Elizabeth and Mary never met in real life, it would have worked!

I know it’s just a show, but I wish they would have focused on the wily queen who would have no master.  The girl who survived a terrible childhood to achieve her destiny.  The woman who defeated the invincible Armada.  The queen who wanted to rule absolutely but was progressive enough to “not make windows into men’s souls.”  Maybe she’s not the good guy, but she’s certainly not the antagonist.

Mary followed her heart.  Elizabeth honored her duty above all else and learned from her mistakes/past.  There is something to be said for that.

 

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The LCD

One of the greatest experiences of my childhood was visiting the Tower of London with my family.  That day, history came alive and a lifelong passion was born.  When I returned with my husband in 2012, I was a little bit disappointed in my experience.  While the great structures were still there, many of the exhibits had been “dumbed-down” to make them more interactive.  I really didn’t need to vote on who I believed murdered the Princes in the Tower.  This did nothing to enhance my experience; I didn’t learn anything.  In fact, having the voices of little boys shout “Uncle!?!” actually detracted from my experience.

The same thing happened at Hampton Court.  We rented the audio tour, and what we got was a make-believe, short story about Katherine Parr’s wedding day to Henry VIII.  I would have preferred a straightforward audio tour.  A lot of us, even as children, don’t need all the bells and whistles to make something interesting.  Being in a site with as much history as Hampton Court was riveting enough.

Above Left: Exhibit in question in the Bloody Tower at the Tower of London.  I don’t have a problem with this display but there was an area where you can vote who you think killed the princes.  WHO CARES WHAT I THINK!?!?!  Above Right: Me at Hampton Court in the Haunted Gallery where Henry VIII’s fifth queen, Catherine Howard, ran screaming for the king to spare her life.  Stories like this are fascinating unlike the make-believe audio tour we had!

Unfortunately, this is just a small, personal example of how society caters to the lowest common denominator.

Another example – when I call to schedule a doctor’s appointment, I am often treated like I’m disengaged and unimportant.  I have to fight to get what I need.  My husband, who has experience in this field, says it because they see so many who don’t give a damn about their health and don’t listen to the advice of their doctors.  Just because other people don’t care doesn’t mean that I don’t.  I’ve never heard of just not showing up for an appointment, but apparently it happens multiple times per day!  When I go in for my visit, the doctor is usually delighted that I’m healthy and engaged in my healthcare.

It’s hard to find a real news broadcast anymore.  Respectable news programs show youtube clips as news.  They report what some clown says on Twitter as fact, and then it turns out to be wrong.  You would be hard-pressed to find many people in my generation who know the actual news, and I’m not talking about Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  I’m sure the average person knows what craziness Donald Trump tweeted early this morning, but do they know what is going on with North Korea or ISIS?

I’m not trying to be political here, but this is concerning.  I’m tired of living in a world where we cater to the uniformed.  We live in a nation where a lot of people think Lena Dunham and the Kardashians have all the answers.

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It Feels Good to Get This Off My Chest: My Childbirth Experience

NPR and Pro Publica have been doing a study on rising maternal mortality in the United States.  They have found “many hospitals are woefully unprepared for a maternal emergency.”  Tell me about it.  Here is our story:

September 18, 2014, approximately 10:30pm

I had been laboring since around 8:00am.  I finally felt that the pain had become too much, and we went to the hospital.  I was 37 weeks, 3 days.  As a side note, I had the most uneventful pregnancy ever: no morning sickness, swelling or other issues.  I exercised almost everyday and was the picture of health.  The only symptom was a 40 pound weight gain!

At the hospital, they told me it would be at least until the end of the weekend before I delivered (another 3-4 days).  I was sent home with some Ambien, which kind of makes me laugh angrily.  Five hours later my water broke, and I was back.

September 19, 2014, 8:30pm

After laboring naturally more than 24 hours and pushing close to six (WTF), we decided to go with the C-section.  At this point there was no choice; her head wasn’t going to fit.  But why did I have to push six hours before we came to this conclusion!?!?!  

We had asked repeatedly why this was taking so long but the conga line of different medical professionals kept telling us we were so close.  I was admitted at 6:30am, and over the next twelve hours we had three attendings, a fellow, two residents and a midwife.  Those are the ones I remember.  No continuity of care.  We retold our tale at least six different times.  Somebody other than us should have said “this is going on too long.”  The only reason we were in the C-section line is because my husband paged the fellow.  My stats were stable, so they forgot about us.  This could have gone on for hours longer, and we could have had issues.

On top of it, we were informed we would have to wait another two or three hours because there was only one fellow in the hospital that night who could perform a C-section, and there were two people ahead of us.  What if something had changed and the operation had to happen sooner?  We were lucky that baby girl and I were stable.  Our beautiful girl was finally delivered at 12:01am September 20th, with a sizeable bruise on her forehead from six hours of pushing.

September 22, 2014, 8:00pm

We were finally discharged.  It had been a hell of a day.  Almost three days postpartum, I weighed MORE than I did the night of September 19th.  I gave birth to an eight-pound, 1.5 ounce child, and I weight ten pounds MORE than when I had entered the hospital due to fluid retention.  I had no swelling at all during my pregnancy, and now my legs were like tree trunks.  I had disgusting rashes on my legs and abdomen.  My husband, who is a doctor, had fought all damn day to get a dermatology consult.  Nobody cared.  It was like, as long as the baby and I were alive, it was all good.  They could send in multiple lactation specialists to “bully” me about breastfeeding, but nobody cared about the swelling, which could have been a sign of a serious problem.  Because I’m going to be producing a lot of milk when I have a major complication or am dead.

September 24, 2014, evening

After being home a couple of days, we were becoming concerned that my weight hadn’t gone down at all.  My husband was a little worried about my heart.

I had a six week post-op appointment set up for mid-October but nothing else.  My husband had to use the “I’m a doctor” card to get me seen in a timely manner.  If I didn’t have that connection, who knows how long it would have taken for me to get an appointment.  The doctor was alarmed by the swelling.  Fortunately, it was nothing that a little Lasix couldn’t take care of, but it was still good to know.  And I felt better and had more energy!  Isn’t that the goal!?!?

Mid-October

I went to my six week postpartum check-up.  When I relayed my concerns regarding my delivery experience, I was met with the same “well, you and the baby are alive” attitude I had experience in the maternity ward.  Yes, I was 100% grateful that my child and I were alive and well, but they put us in a position where something could have gone wrong!  Our excellent health got us through the ordeal, but you can’t bank on that!  

I also completed a patient survey and explained my frustrations.  I never heard a word.

I know and have had wonderful experiences with multiple OB-GYNs in my thirty-three years.  My problem was with the poor hospital staffing and the dismissal of my post-delivery issues.  During the evening hours of the delivery, there was a newer first-year resident, who gave us some terribly wrong information, and a fellow, who was often busy with other patients.  I acknowledge we were at a teaching hospital but young residents need to be supervised; that is how they learn.  Childbirth can be risky business.  Why operate with a skeleton crew?  

Medical professionals need to listen to their patients.  Not all postpartum women are complaining just because they’re “hormonal.”

While my care was sub-par, I have to wonder if it is worse for “average Jane,” someone who doesn’t have a doctor spouse providing push-back.  Doctors are human and sometimes make mistakes, but there was a general lack of care from start to finish.  I am grateful that we are both happy and healthy!  Unfortunately, I think my experience is more the rule than the exception, and that’s just not good enough!  

While our experience wasn’t what it should have been, it did make me stronger.  Nobody is going to fight for you but you!

And now you know the real reason I can never root for a certain ACC school in anything!

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I’m not sorry I’m not sorry

The other night my entire family went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  We had a pretty good waitress but she kept doing one thing that annoyed me.

Me: Can I please get a refill?

Waitress:  Diet Coke?

Me:  No, regular, please.

Waitress:  I’m sorry.

Me:  You’re fine.

Waitress:  Would you like some boxes?

My mom: Yes, please.

Waitress:  Okay.  Two?

My mom:  No, I think we can fit it into one.

Waitress:  Sorry.

Me:  You’re fine

She kept saying “sorry” for things you shouldn’t be sorry for.  I wanted to take her aside as we left and say, “You’re doing a great job.  Please don’t apologize for these trivial things.  Apologize if you spill a drink.  Apologize if the food takes forever.  Apologize if the food is lousy but please don’t apologize because you don’t remember my beverage choice.”

But I didn’t say anything out of fear she’d say “sorry” for being sorry.  The word “sorry” is so overused, especially by women.  I notice that my daughter says “sorry” a lot.  Right now, it is a little kid saying a word, but I don’t want it to continue.  I’ve been explaining to her that we say sorry if we hurt somebody or we are mean.  Now, she says, “everyone spills the milk sometimes!”

In a world that is becoming oversensitive in some ways, I find people are having to apologize for their opinions.  While we shouldn’t go out of our way to be mean like POTUS, we shouldn’t have to apologize for our feelings and opinions.

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Not a rite of passage

I just want to observe that we live in a great time, if you take away some of the crazy stuff that is going on in the world.  We live in a society that mostly accepts people that don’t want to have kids.

For me, I always knew that I wanted to be a mother.  My plan was: go to college, work for a few years, meet a handsome gentleman who shared my values, get married, and eventually have children.  I basically did that.  My child is my destination.  But that’s not the way it is for everybody.

I have a friend who does not want to have kids.  She is very career-oriented and has zero patience.  I applaud her for being self-aware enough to realize that children are not her forte.  Back in our parents’ generation, having kids was a “rite of passage.”  You got married, and then you had a baby shortly thereafter.  Women were looked at like something was wrong with them if they didn’t have kids, and some of them probably gave in to that pressure.

Having children is a lifetime investment.  You can’t just turn them off.  I am glad that people can treat this decision with the seriousness it deserves and make whatever choice works best for them!

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Why Duke is being too hard on Grayson Allen

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