Henry’s Women (Preface To A Series Of Really Long Posts)

I am embarrassed to admit that I began this one more than a year ago.  Like most of the few posts that make it to press on my inactive blog, it started out as a journal entry, then somehow became a project of its own carried on by my rapturous research into some trivial self selected topic of fascination–in this case the life and wives of King Henry VIII of England during the Tutor Period.  (Alas, the compulsion to do research papers remains ingrained in my pathos despite the fact that I finished my last degree 5 years ago.)  The “narrative”–Oh, god, I can’t even call it a blog post, or an essay.  It’s more vaguely “a narrative”–became pages and pages, and pages long.  So, for the ease of all the potential readers who will never actually visit this blog, I decided to split up the wordy monstrosity into a serial.    

Looking back, what’s most amusing to me about this behemoth project is that the vehemence and the lingering raw, overwhelming distress of heartbreak that spawned the whole thing has long since died down, and the embers cooled a while ago.  I nevertheless remain quite impressed with the dastardliness that King Henry VIII very rationally applied to the management and mismanagement of his harem and kingdom.  Moreover, I am simply fascinated by the commonalities in the way the traits of his particular breed of narcissistic douchebag are expressed across centuries, cultures, and social class.  Henry’s VIII’s illustrious lifetime trajectory of self-centered pursuits was indeed formulaic for the very special kind of Bad Man he epitomizes.  Incarnations of his kind thrive to this day, welding their swollen ego upon those in their lives, arguably on a smaller scale, but with just as much intensity, as I have experienced first hand.

My small investigation into everything Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, and all the others has been incredibly illuminating of the enigmas of human nature, but its significance has also presented itself to me in its equally incredible therapeutic value; indeed, the insight I have derived from pouring over the mishaps of Henry and the misfortunes of his wives has in itself been a source of an unsettling kind of catharsis:  Though it all really did unforgivably happen, the fact the eccentric atrocities and frivolous suffering Henry inflicted upon so many happened so long ago and far away renders the horror of into a mere fairy tale, a sick tragedy that leaves you feeling cleansed, in a sick and sordid kind of way, like the way you feel after watching a performance of MacBeth….or A Streetcar Named Desire, or American Beauty for that matter.

When you feel cleansed, you also feel in a way enlightened.  Or at least, you feel as if you are able to achieve a balance that allows you to understand what you live and learn from a broader perspective.  This is a perspective from which you burst out laughing in tickled hysterics when you learn your own Henry has used as an engagement ring for his next conquest a cheap semi-precious number you picked up at a flea market many years ago that was left behind when he suddenly ousted you from your life together–a very fake life that is.  Of course, at the same time, you fret for this next poor girl who has been drawn into the diabolical fantasy of a man who uses human beings as commodities and relationships as bargaining chips.  My counter-fantasy is that chance will allow my successor to stumble upon these writings or some other relevant narrative and then, through some wave of clairvoyance or deep telepathic insight she’ll be able to recognize her own toxic situation and how estranged it has made her from her fortitude and better judgment, and will consequently be able clear her senses of his love bomb in a way that I wasn’t able to, and then to unravel herself from his clutch before he can act out upon a next one.  Please take care of yourself, sister.

The references to current events that I make earlier on in the narrative are now very dated, but I decided to leave them as is.


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