I have been watching the series called The Borgias. I have concluded that political intrigue and the ways that power are used have come a long way. In a sense it is the perfect way to cap off a summer of political watching in the U.S. today. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

I had read a few books on the Borgias and I’m sure this series would feel less intense if watched an episode a week rather than in a marathon. Rodrigo Borgia became Pope Alexander the Sixth. His uncle was also a Pope. As Alexander VI, Rodrigo was recognized as a skilled politician and diplomat, but was widely criticized during his reign for his over-spending, sale of Church offices (simony), lasciviousness, and nepotism. He was elected Pope in 1492 and died in 1503. He had four children with his long time mistress who most of Rome was aware of. He also had at least one more mistress and another child during his papacy.

I was watching this with a summer filled with current day political silliness. I had to remind myself that we’ve come a long way. Our politicians are different. As far as I know they aren’t out poisoning their rivals or beating the spies. We do still practice torture though so there is that.

Other than DeGaulle whose wife and mistress both attended his funeral, mistresses are generally not publicly acknowledged today. Of course before I say progress there were the women of Bill Clinton so maybe not so much progress.

Borgia married off his daughter, more than once to further the political positions for the Vatican. I think we don’t do that in America today but then I think of the photos of child brides in India. Progress? Maybe a little. The women in this series did not have anything approaching equality.

The church in Borgia’s time was a huge political force. Your kingship was not real until the Pope blessed it. Good that we have at least tried to separate church and state. Then I remember George W. Bush saying something like God told him to run for President. We are still susceptible to the “God is on my side” arguments.

It has been a fun marathon TV experience. I do think we have made some progress and if the late 1400’s are what the current day Republicans mean when they say they want to go back, count me out.