New Orleans, shortly after the Louisiana purchase:
An unfortunate potential for trouble broke out between the French and Anglo-Americans at the regular public ball. Two quadrilles, one French, the other English, formed at the same time. An American, taking offense at something, raised his walking stick at one of the fiddlers. Bedlam ensued… [Claiborne] resorted to persuasion rather than to rigorous measures in order to silence the American, who was a simple surgeon attached to the troops. The French quadrille resumed. The American interrupted it again with an English quadrille and took his place to dance. Someone cried, ‘If the women have a drop of French blood in their veins, they will not dance.’ Within minutes, the hall was completely deserted by the women. …Even at the relatively respectable Orleans, he went on, there were quarrels which “commenced in the ballroom with blows, and terminated in the vestibule, with pocket-pistols and kicking, without any interruption from the police…. some of the visitors were intoxicated, and there appeared a willing disposition for disturbance.” The next day he learned that shortly after his departure, a brawl resulted in twenty people being “more or less dangerously wounded.”
Finished up Carlos this week — the 5 1/2 hour 2010 mini-series documenting the life and times of the infamous terrorist Illych Ramirez Sanchez — and it is tremendous (and streaming on Netflix!). For all its length, the pacing is superb, the locations (every major city in Europe and the Middle East, more or less) shot with precision and accuracy, the clothes and soundtrack completely authentic to the times and amazing to see today. The acting is great, too, with Edgar Ramirez providing a dominating portrait of the Jackal.
Plus, if you’re anything like me or Chris, you’ll spend your time after seeing the movie shouting “Are you questioning my commitment to the Palestinian cause?” at your friends in your best Venezuelan accent.