Monday, February 11, 2019

Maybe someday a special beef dish will also be named after Jeff Bezos

Bust of Wellington, by Sir Francis Chantrey
Metropolitan Museum of Art
     Arthur Wellesley is no longer famous. Though I imagine his title, “The Duke of Wellington” raises a glimmer of recognition in the public mind, not due to the man himself, alas, but for the beef-in-pastry dish apparently named after him. History can be cruel that way.
     Wellesley was the brilliant, Dublin-born British military leader who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Big in his day. “The last great Englishman,” Tennyson dubbed him.

    He also visited prostitutes. Women who, then as now, had a habit of cashing in twice on their famous customers; once for their services, again in print. Nor were their friends more scrupulous. When London pornographer John Stockdale wrote to the Duke, demanding money to excise passages involving him from London tart Harriette Wilson’s pending reminiscences, Wellington scrawled “Publish and be damned” across the letter and returned it.
       Supposedly. The actual letter does not exist. “The Memoirs of Harriette Wilson” were published in 1824, with the Duke of Wellington foremost among the parade of famous men marching through her bed.
     Only the fullness of time will determine whether Jeff Bezos’ performance last week rises to a Wellingtonian high standard for panache. Though Bezos did the Duke one better, disseminating himself the entire correspondence from American Media Inc., parent company of the National Enquirer, which Bezos claims was blackmailing him. The Enquirer, it has been established, serves as a protective shield around Donald Trump, buying up rights to salacious stories from women he seduced, for example, then burying instead of publishing them.

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  1. Bezos doesn't need anything named after him, he's just going to own AMI by the end of this year & see Pecker go to prison for violating his agreement with the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, not to commit any more crimes.
    Pecker is just like our own local overreaching numbskull, Eddie Burke. Both of them went after someone far, far bigger than themselves. Bezos is worth at least 100 times what Pecker is & Burke tried to shake down the second largest Burger King franchiser, which is a billion dollar company.

  2. FYI the third paragraph of the Sun-Times column is missing from the excerpt here, which makes the fourth paragraph a bit cryptic:-\

    1. "A bit"? Ouch. Yes, that would confuse things. A production error (aka me, transferring the column here, last night). Fixed now. Thanks for pointing it out.

  3. I read that this has more to do with the Posts reporting on the Koshoggi murder. Amazon has some kind of business deal going on with the Saudi government. They thought Bezos would quash the reporting and he hasnt

  4. In light of publication of embarrassing images hacked from cell phones, why does an intelligent man like Bezos send texts of his junk into the ether?

    1. The more technology advances, the dumber people seem to become, especially with texts and tweets and cell phones and the internet. From suburban high-schoolers and their "sexting" to the rich and the powerful, who certainly ought to know better, why does everything always come down to porn and "naked pictures" found by those who are digging up the dirt?

      That stuff has never held any interest for this twice-married heterosexual. I have always remembered a line from a book I read in my late teens, which one kid tells another: "Sex ain't all that interesting, except to those who ain't gettin' any." Fifty-plus years later, I still find that to be totally true.

  5. Wellington almost became known in this country for something less pleasant than pastry-covered beef.

    After he dispatched Napoleon, he was asked to take over the supervision of the war in America and break the stalemate. He took one look at the map and advised his government that it would be impossible without naval control of the Great Lakes--something beyond the reach of the British at the time, as their ships could not enter the Lakes from the Atlantic.

  6. Wellington got a better review from a Parisian lady of the night who claimed to have served both of the Waterloo principals, claiming the Duke to be "plus fort" than the Emperor. The two men never met, but a larger than life naked Napoleon by Canova graces the main staircase of Apsley House, the Duke' London residence.

    In addition to a high end comestible, the Duce has lent his name to an article of clothing. His adaptation of a Hessian boot has evolved into the approved footwear for tramping around the damper parts of one's estate. Officially called "Wellingtons, affectionately dubbed "Wellies."


  7. Interesting. For a fascinating discussion of this kind of thing, read "The Food Explorer: the true adventures of the globe-trotting botanist who transformed what America eats." Find out where the Meyer Lemon got its name (Chapter 16 tells the exploits of Frank Meyer.) Book available on Kindle.


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