My Big Fat Status Update

We all know someone who posts them, but never do it ourselves . . .

This is my big fat status update:

Everyone’s getting set straight
Sorry for causing upset
Keeping silent any longer
Just wouldn’t sit right

Enough is enough is enough
To justify what just has to be said
No stones left in need of turning
In the chew on being force fed

Piece of mind home truths
Be rest assured of the best
Scroll down to roll-up roll-up
Gif the popcorn King of Pop

Unapologetically righteous
Never mind the sorry it starts with
Like it or leave it
Disagree and get blocked

Header image an excerpt from the below Before Waterloo, Henry O’Neil, 1868.


Social Media 19th Century style

Before Waterloo is often found used as the cover for William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (1847).

The painting depicts the Duchess of Richmond’s ball, an event that took place in Brussels on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo.

Despite the association with a real event, the female attire shown is apparently more modern than that worn in 1815; to have been accurate would’ve offended the Victorian sensibilities of 1868.

At the ball, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, was informed Napoleon had defeated the Prussian army; an unexpected turn of events that meant the despot wasn’t all that far away, with little to no opposition between him and the British; a factor sending the latter into panic mode.

The ball also appears as a culminating feature of Vanity Fair.

Originally published in parts, the book is a satire of the times. It shows the self-obsession and hollow behaviours dominating the lives of the upper-classes as they attempted ascendancy of the social ladder.


Vanity Fair‘s first cover (illustration also by Thackeray).

By setting such trivialities against the backdrop of something so devastating as the Napoleonic wars, they are stripped naked and shown in full sycophantic ignoble glory.

Vanity Fair reveals numerous aspects of life at the time. One particular and popular activity was to wear one’s best and ride in a buggy or carriage somewhere like Hyde Park while hoping to be noticed by other notable persons in the name of being remembered when the likes of invitations to balls were handed out.

Timing could be everything.

The method might be different, but the principles—having the right profile pic, knowing what time to post on social media, etc—are the same as today; perhaps the biggest (maybe only non-superficial) difference being the improvements to the lot of the lower classes meaning they’re now well and truly in on the act too.

Thanks for reading 🙂

N. P. Ryan.


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