Tuesday, 23 February 2016

royal-flush or en suite

After rioting and much public discontent of Fuad I of Egypt’s particular penchant for exercising his royal prerogative and dissolving parliament when it was seen encroaching on his power finally convinced the king to restore the previous constitution that brought Egypt and the Suez back under the control of British influence, reportedly he lamented that soon there will only be five royal houses in the near future, “Britain—and diamonds, aces, hearts and spades.” If not for an interesting and informative article from Mental Floss, I would never have suspected that King Fuad’s vote of no confidence might be referencing a contemporary craze in the 1930s that was promoted by an Austrian psychiatrist called Walter Marseille who thought the additional cards—comprising a deck of sixty-five—would make games—bridge specifically, more challenging and engaging. The fifth suit of the English tarot nouveau was the Crowns or the Royals (Eagles in American decks). Though Marseille’s theory of skill-building through gaming didn’t quite catch on, his other works (let’s play global thermal war) involving higher stakes had lasting influence in weapons disarmament and peace-keeping.