Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Great Paris Cat Massacre

The penultimate assignment for OU AA100 is to write a reflective piece about your study skills and learning experiences on the course.  This seems a fairly easy essay to write, especially for those of us who had to do a similar piece on the preceding course.  When considering my strengths I had noted that I have a very broad range of interests and very much enjoy reading and writing.  On the weaknesses side I put that partly because of my broad range of interests I have a tendency to get sidetracked when doing research for essays.

A case in point was yesterday when I was supposedly reading up on the history of rail infrastructure and the improvement of pay for the working classes in the rise of Blackpool as a leisure destination.  Everything was going well, I was poring through various scholarly historical journals and then...

Le Monde Illustre, April 1871. During the Siege of Paris (Franco-Prussian War) market stalls did a thriving business in cat, dog and rat meat.

The next article in the journal History Today was titled The Great Paris Cat Massacre. Who wouldn't want to read that ? Blackpool and the social history of Lancashire mill workers was forgotten as I read the exploits of two Paris apprentices, who, angered that their employers looked after their vast array of felines better than they did their humans, eventually held a trial for said cats, accused and found them guilty of witchcraft and then beat them all to death with clubs. It was rather gruesome, especially if you are fond of cats, but also blackly hilarious.

Oh kittens, in our hours of ease
Uncertain toys and full of fleas,
When pain and anguish hang o’er men,
We turn you into sausage then.

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