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    WGIG Public Meeting considers Role of GAC in ICANN | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 45 comments | Search Discussion
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    The Future of .ORG ? "Let them eat cake,"
    by Anonymous on Monday June 20 2005, @03:20AM (#15631)
    We're not entirely sure who said "Let them eat cake," but we can tell you that it wasn't Marie Antoinette. This flippant phrase about consuming pastry is commonly attributed to the frivolous queen in the days leading up to the French Revolution. Supposedly, she spoke these words upon hearing how the peasantry had no bread to eat. But biographers and historians have found no evidence that Marie uttered these words or anything like them.

    Our old pal Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope explains the quotation was first written by French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Confessions. Actually, Rousseau wrote "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche," which essentially means "let them eat a type of egg-based bread" (not quite cake, but still a bit extravagant). Rousseau claimed that "a great princess" told the peasants to eat cake/brioche when she heard they had no bread.

    But Rousseau wrote this in early 1766, when Marie Antoinette was only 10 years old, still living in her native Austria and not yet married to King Louis XVI. So it's highly unlikely that Marie uttered the pompous phrase. Perhaps Rousseau invented them to illustrate the divide between royalty and the poor -- which is certainly how the phrase has been used ever since.
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