Monday, October 31, 2011

Today -100: October 31, 1911: Of imperial apologies, boxed generals, indiscriminate slaughters, and going to the theater

Chinese Emperor Hsuan-Tung issues edicts granting full constitutional government and apologizing for his past actions: “I have reigned three years and have always acted conscientiously in the interests of the people. But I have not employed men properly, as I am without political skill.” To be fair, he is 5 years old (you may remember the little guy as the protagonist of Bertolucci’s film The Last Emperor.) “Much of the people’s money has been taken, but nothing to benefit the people has been achieved.” He observes, “The whole Empire is seething. The spirits of our nine deceased Emperors are unable to enjoy the sacrifices properly”. Obama never mentions ghosts in his State of the Union speeches. The emperor promises a new cabinet with no members of the nobility, amnesty for political prisoners from all the recent revolutions, the abolition of old laws, etc. (Spoiler alert: too little, too late, little emperor dude).

Headline of the Day -100: “General Escaped in a Box.” Gen. Chong-Piao, commander at Wu-Chang, escaping the Chinese Revolution there.

The NYT correspondent reports that the Italian Army has responded to an attack on it in Libya with “indiscriminate slaughter.”

In a speech in Chicago, President Taft suggests that the Republicans may be turned out in the 1912 elections. It is believed that he’s feeling a little demoralized after a rather lukewarm reception during his tour of the country, especially in the West.

A black man sues NYC’s Lyric Theatre for refusing to let him and his female companion sit in the orchestra seats he’d purchased over the telephone (they offered him the balcony). It is illegal in NY to exclude people from a theater on the basis of race, color or previous condition of servitude.

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