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Consequences in Alternate History: The Garibaldi Problem

Makemakean

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I can vaguely remember having heard of Garibaldi biscuits before. Frankly, I was expecting @Thande to go directly down the Babylon 5 path with Garibaldi, where, ironically, when I started watching it with the @Ares96 I was continuously thinking that it was kind of weird having this character on a space station in the future in a science fiction world be named Garibaldi, when the name in my mind is so much associated with this bearded, romantic 19th Italian revolutionary and adventurer. :p
 
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Makemakean

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People really oughta know more about Cassius Clay.
I first learned of Cassius Clay from Rand Paul's first speech in the Senate in 2011. Regardless of what you think of Rand Paul and his policies, it actually rhetorically is a very good speech, in that he notes that the Class 3 Senatorial Seat for Kentucky that he had been elected to had previously been occupied by Henry Clay, and that people had been telling him that they hoped he would take a page from the American Statesman who was known as the "Great Compromiser" and learned to adopt a more pragmatic attitude.

Paul noted however that he felt kind of awkward about how Henry Clay's willingness to compromise was held forth as a great virtue when the very issue he was known for compromising about was, well, err-... slavery, to appease the South, and that he personally much more idolized Henry's cousin Cassius, who was a fierce abolitionist and refused to compromise on that issue.

Now, Rand Paul was of course saying all this to provide rhetorical backing and indicate that "I was elected as a Tea Party Republican and I intend to vote and argue and behave as an uncompromising Tea Party Republican", and all that that entails. Still, very good, very powerful speech.
 

Yokai Man

Well-known member
I actually didn’t know what Garibaldi biscuits were before watching an episode of Brainiac where they’re mentioned,where I thought it was weird for a biscuit to be named after a famous Italian revolutionary and freedom fighter.

Garibaldi came up a lot in talks back in the times of Cuza and Carol I,Romanian Republicans identifying with him and often praising him to ridiculous extremes.Caragiale in his play Conu Leonida,which makes fun of them,has the titular character ramble to his wife about how Garibaldi praised them during the coup d’etat against Cuza,which Leonida and others presented as a revolution,despite nothing of the sorts actually happening.

It’s actually a recurring joke in Caragiale’s work regarding the mystification of the events of 1866 by liberals and some radicals who wanted to prove they actually did fight for the people in the streets and didn’t just plot in the dark or just did nothing til Cuza actually left.
 

Ares96

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I can vaguely remember having heard of Garibaldi biscuits before. Frankly, I was expecting @Thande to go directly down the Babylon 5 path with Garibaldi, where, ironically, when I started watching it with the @Ares96 I was continuously thinking that it was kind of weird having this character on a space station in the future in a science fiction world be named Garibaldi, when the name in my mind is so much associated with this bearded, romantic 19th Italian revolutionary and adventurer. :p
He was named directly for Giuseppe Garibaldi, because he heads the B5 guard force and Garibaldi was the leader of the Redshirts.

EDIT: Well, that should teach me to read the article before making the obvious comment.
 

Thande

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Thanks for finding the images as always Andy.


He was named directly for Giuseppe Garibaldi, because he heads the B5 guard force and Garibaldi was the leader of the Redshirts.

EDIT: Well, that should teach me to read the article before making the obvious comment.
Yes, I should say I didn't get that reference until you explained it.

Literally nobody in the UK seems to know who Garibaldi is now because of the biscuit (which is the point of the article - misfiring tributes). Go to any Italian city and you can find British tourists laughing at all the streets etc named after him "Haha they must really like squashed fly biscuits!"
 

Hendryk

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I didn't know about the Garibaldi biscuits, but here on the continent we have Leonidas chocolates, and when you grow up on them it takes away a lot of the gravitas of the Battle of Thermopylae.

Likewise, in China, if you mention Lafayette (or 老佛爷 "Old Grandad Buddha" as his name is transliterated), people will assume you mean the department store rather than the general.

Wellington gets a private joke of sorts in the France Fights On TL: when the RAF suggests basing the eponymous bombers in Corsica of all places, the French high command consider it an offense to the memory of Napoleon...
 

Thande

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I didn't know about the Garibaldi biscuits, but here on the continent we have Leonidas chocolates, and when you grow up on them it takes away a lot of the gravitas of the Battle of Thermopylae.
That's an almost too-good parallel. I imagine Belgium may be the same with respect to Lady Godiva.

Likewise, in China, if you mention Lafayette (or 老佛爷 "Old Grandad Buddha" as his name is transliterated), people will assume you mean the department store rather than the general.
In some parts of the US they probably think first of the towns named after him, too.
 

Thande

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I have a weird personal version of this that involves military aircraft. I can't think of the American football positions "Fullback" and "Flanker" (an old name for a wide receiver) without thinking of the reporting names for the Su-34 and Su-27.
Fictional case, but I imagine most people can't take the MiG-31 Firefox seriously anymore given the browser.
 

SenatorChickpea

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Fictional case, but I imagine most people can't take the MiG-31 Firefox seriously anymore given the browser.
'Never as widely adopted as its manufacturers hoped, the design was nonetheless known for rarely crashing. Its many design innovations were copied by market rivals, and increasingly it relies on specific geographical markets. It remains widely used in Russia and the Middle East, and its designers hope that continued upgrades will keep it relevant into the coming decades.'
 

Gary Oswald

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Lovely article @Thande. Nothing new to me but nicely told.

I've never actually encountered a Garibaldi biscuit. I only know about them because that was my dad's one comment when me and my sister would watch b5.
 

Ciclavex

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In some parts of the US they probably think first of the towns named after him, too.
In some regions, I imagine it’s certainly possible, but I think you underestimate the Marquis de Lafayette’s position in the American pantheon of Founding Fathers. He’s considered a relatively minor one, nowadays, but he’s still there. The reason why everything’s named after him is in part because there was a time, in part when we identified much more closely with the early phases of the French Revolution, in another part when we identified him as The Son George Washington Never Had (a perspective helped by, er, Washington saying so himself) we considered him one of the most important.

I’d say that anywhere where the Revolution is even a little more than just a name-check, the man Lafayette is remembered. A very, very slimmed down, mythologized, and yet flat and more stereotypical Lafayette than actually existed, and one who is perpetually nineteen years old, but at least to some degree the name is fairly well-remembered.

EDIT: Then again, I may be overestimating the average American’s grasp even on our own mythology.
 

Kato

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I think I learned of both the existence of both Garibaldi the man and the biscuits at exactly the same time; a friend doing A-Level history at the time made the obvious joke, which fell rather flat for this reason.

Now Bourbon biscuits while reading Henry V in year 8 on the other hand.

(Also the town of Nice).
 

David Flin

Voila, a viola.
I think I learned of both the existence of both Garibaldi the man and the biscuits at exactly the same time; a friend doing A-Level history at the time made the obvious joke, which fell rather flat for this reason.

Now Bourbon biscuits while reading Henry V in year 8 on the other hand.

(Also the town of Nice).
Then there's reading about the Crusades and the siege of Jaffa.
 

Thande

Directly Elected Mayor of the Western Hemisphere
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There’s also the example of Earl Grey, who as PM reformed the British constitution and brought Britain along the road to democracy, as well as abolishing slavery. Yet, ask anyone apart from a history buff today and they’ll point to the tea.
He also managed to sleep with just about everyone else's wife along the way - basically nobody in the 1830s would believe that the tea was the one thing people would remember about him.
 
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