Your RDA of Irony

Louis, Louis

May 21, 987:  Nothing Could Be Finer Than To Be a Carolingian in Mourning

On this day in 987, King Louis V–known as the Do-Nothing–did not live up to his name. In fact, he did not live, and so finally accomplished something. So ended his one year rule, his twenty-year life and his 236-year dynasty. He, the last of the Carolingian kings of France, was beset by foreign invasion (the Holy Roman Emperor, his first cousin) and rebellions by the nobles (second and third cousins). Louis really did not get along with anyone in his family; his mother poisoned him.

So, that leaves you with this question: Which French King did inspire the song “Louie, Louie.” Well. let’s consider all the Royal Lou’s of France and which one would be an oversexed stoner.

Louis XVIII could have used a mistress. He disliked his Italian wife but his chief outlets were self-pity and food.

Louis XVII was merely a child when he died. The French Revolutionary guardians did take meticulous care of the young boy–but definitely not for his benefit.

Louis XVI suffered from sexual dysfunction–and Viagra wouldn’t have helped. It was some sort of physical blockage. The only solution was surgery. Despite the quality of 18th century surgery, Louis survived the procedure and was even cured. He finally was able to consummate his marriage. However, that was also the limit of his libido.

Louis XIV was short, unattractive but apparently irresistible. (Royalty frequently is; who dares refuse.) There is a famous story of the Queen, and three of her ladies-in-waiting riding in a coach; they were all pregnant by Louis (although not from the same coach ride). So Louis was certainly was over-sexed but he still found the time to rule rather well. And he never would have referred to Versailles as a pad or crib.

Louis XIII had a very active sex life, but not with women. What is the male equivalent of a mistress? (Historians can only speculate as to the identity of Louis XIV’s father.) Louis Treize was the Baroque equivalent of a stoner. Fortunately for him and France, Cardinal Richelieu made a brilliant dealer.

Louis XII had three wives, so he wouldn’t have had time for mistresses.

Louis XI was too cheap to have mistresses.

Louis X died young; he was likely poisoned by a sister-in-law who managed her husband’s career. (Yes, he got to be king.)

Louis IX was Saint Louis, so mistresses are out of the question.

Louis VIII was married to a Spanish gorgon; he wouldn’t have dared.

Louis VII had the disposition of a monk. His first wife–Eleanor of Aquitaine–cheated on him.

Louis VI was known as Louis the Fat. Guess his vice.

Louis V, alias the Do-Nothing, you’ve already met.

Louis IV, alias Louis the Alien (he was raised in England), was so powerless that he couldn’t afford a mistress.

Louis III died at 19, so he didn’t even have a nickname.

Louis II, the Stammer, lived to be 33 but his health was as bad as his pronunciation. Even if he had been in better shape, late 9th century France was not a conducive time for hedonism. It was barely conducive for subsistence.

Louis I was called the Pious. That nickname would deter most aspiring mistresses.

So, who does that leave….Louis XV was handsome, charming and conscientiously incompetent. Usually the inept are unaware of their debilities, but Louis knew precisely how hapless he was and he didn’t care! He let his mistresses run and ruin France. (Madame de Pompadour was a complete disaster–or a brilliant secret agent for the British). If Handel or Haydn had composed “Louie, Louie”, the song definitely would have been about le Quinze.

  1. Peg Pruitt says:

    I just watched an old episode of Dr. Who in which the Doc meets and saves Madame de Pompadour from robots from the future. She was presented in a very positive light.

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Dear Peg,

      That was not an old episode of Dr. Who. An old episode actually could have had Madame de Pompadour as a guest star. However, I did see this comparatively recent episode with Madame de Pompadour and, in its interpretation, one could see why the Doctor became infatuated with her. Of course, the British would be grateful to her; she was soooo incompetent in picking her favorites as French generals. But for her, perhaps the Seven Years War would have lasted Two Years, French armies would have overrun Hanover and probably Prussia, ending the conflict before the British took Quebec, leaving French still in control of Canada, the Mississippi Valley and the Ohio Valley, keeping the threatened 13 Colonies loyal to Britain, and….

      While your mind is reeling with those possibilities, I should also mention that the actors who played the Doctor and de Pompadour became an item for a while.

      Eugene

  2. Eugene Finerman says:

    Dear Peg,

    Here is my rendition of the Seven Year War. Madame de Pompadeur is in the cast.

    http://finermanworks.com/your_rda_of_irony/2009/01/24/prussian-wit-is-not-always-an-oxymoron-2/

    Eugene

  3. Peg Pruitt says:

    They certainly made an attractive couple. BTW, David Tennant recently starred as Hamlet in a film presented on Great Performances on PBS. I thought he was quite good.

    Loved the Seven Years War a la Finerman.

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Dear Peg,

      I did see Tennant’s “Hamlet”, but I was rooting for Patrick Stewart’s Claudius. Seeing the play with my bifocaled eyes gives me a different perspective. “Leave that charming middle-aged man alone, you whiny brat!”

      Thirty years ago I saw Derek Jacobi’s performance as Hamlet, and guess who played Claudius. Yes, Patrick Stewart–when he was in his early forties, which actually would be a plausible age for the character.

      Eugene

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