January 13th 1898: ‘J’accuse’ letter

On this day in 1898, French writer Émile Zola’s ‘J’accuse’ letter was printed, exposing the miscarriage of the justice in the Dreyfus affair. Zola was a prominent author, well-known for his short stories and novels, and his letter sparked national outrage. Published as a newspaper editorial in L’Aurore, the letter exposed the unlawful conviction of French army captain Alfred Dreyfus for espionage and treason. Dreyfus, of Jewish descent, was found guilty of selling military secrets to the Germans by a military court and sentenced to life imprisonment on a South American penal colony. However, subsequent evidence proving his innocence and implicating officer Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy was covered up by the military, with Walsin Esterhazy exonerated. The case had exposed the virulence of French anti-Semitism, as military officials and members of the public readily accepted Dreyfus’s guilt, considering his alleged crime indicative of Jews’ disloyalty. Zola’s letter, a response to Walsin Esterhazy’s acquittal, led to his arrest for libel, though he fled France to avoid a prison sentence. The debate came to embody divergent visions of France’s national identity, with those against Dreyfus arguing his defenders sought to undermine France. On the other hand, Dreyfus’s supporters raised the pertinent question of the extent personal freedoms can be subordinated in the interests of national security. Steadily, Dreyfus’s supporters gained traction, as evidence came to light that key evidence had been forged. Desperate to restore order, the French president pardoned Dreyfus in September 1899, though he was not legally exonerated until 1906. The French military only conceded Dreyfus’s innocence in 1995. Zola’s ‘j’accuse’ has entered the popular lexicon, and the Dreyfus affair has become synonymous with anti-Semitism and the miscarriage of justice. The crisis also had the practical effect of leading to a radical ascendancy in the French government, which shaped French politics for decades to come.


Palace Of The Week - Esterhàzy Palace

    The Esterházy Palace is located in Fertőd, Hungary. The first palace was built in 1721 but the Prince Nicolas 1st Esterházy decided to build a baroque palace which was finished in 1766. The palace is not really big. There are only 126 rooms, when Schönbrunn has 1.444 rooms and Versailles  2.300. This palace was meant to be the “Hungarian Versailles”, like many palaces at this time, with many windows and french gardens. But on the pictures you can see that the palace has a very different style as Versailles. It all looks more german or austrian. I really like this palace. It is quite simple, elegant and really luxurious.  It would be a perfect summer palace with the gardens and the forest not far away.



Over twenty years ago in 1993, Lea DeLaria stepped on stage at The Arsenio Hall Show and blurted out, “It’s the 1990s … It’s hip to be queer, and I’m a bi-i-i-i-ig dyke!” She became the first openly lesbian comic to appear on a late-night talk show, and shortly after, she hosted the first all-gay stand-up comedy special on television.

DeLaria recorded two comedy albums in the mid-nineties before shifting her career toward stage-acting. She starred alongside Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson in the 1998 Broadway revival of On The Town. In a review for The New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote that DeLaria left audiences numb with pleasure, comparing her “big, assertive stage personality“ to a young Ethel Merman. Both praise and talent combined led to a role as Eddie and Dr. Scott in the 2000 Broadway revival of The Rocky Horror Show.

Beyond Broadway, DeLaria has recorded several vocal jazz albums, once stating that it’s her “personal goal to bring be-bop jazz back into the gay and lesbian community". Her 2008 album The Live Smoke Sessions can be streamed on Spotify.

Though DeLaria has done film work in The First Wives Club, Edge of Seventeen and Ass Backwards, she is perhaps better known for her time spent on television. From 1999 to 2011, she had a recurring role as Madame Delphina (and Professor Del Fina) on the soap opera One Life To Live. She voiced the character Helga Phugly on the short-lived animated sitcom The Oblongs and held small roles on Matlock, The Drew Carey Show, Will & Grace and Californication.

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