x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Required reading: feuds for thought

We all love a good feud. Here are some of history's most significant.

Elizabeth & Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens by Jane Dunn, Harper Perennial, Dh77.
Elizabeth & Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens by Jane Dunn, Harper Perennial, Dh77.

Last week, the rapper Azealia Banks tweeted the pop princess Lily Allen: “Your husband looks like a thumb.” Allen, marshalling all the erudition available to her, replied: “Don’t go there … or your totally unnecessary security detail may actually have something to worry about #wannabe”. In a follow-up tweet, Banks told Allen she had “ugly children”.

Say what you like about Banks but she’s definitely not just a C-lister who will Twitter-troll more famous people to draw attention to the fact that her new single #ALTJAM has just been released, right?

Really, Banks is just playing on an eternal human truth: we all love a good feud. So, while you’re waiting for Banks vs Allen Part II, take a moment to remember some great (and even more historically significant) feuds from the past.

• Who knows how the historic feud between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots might have played out if Twitter had been around in the 16th century. But read Elizabeth & Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens by the historian Jane Dunn to learn how Elizabeth was threatened by Mary, who many English Catholics believed to be the rightful Queen. Elizabeth had Mary executed in 1587 and, says Dunn, never really forgave herself (#guiltyconscience).

• Next, turn to Blood Feud: The Hatfields and the McCoys to learn about the Wild West’s most famous, and violent, feud, between the Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky. It raged for more than a decade and claimed more than 10 lives.

• Today’s Wild West is Silicon Valley, where fortunes are made and lost at the drop of an organic latte. Read The Accidental Billionaires to revisit the creation of Facebook. The world’s most popular social network was the subject of a feud between the founder Mark Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss brothers, who claimed Zuckerberg stole their idea. In 2008, he settled with them for US$65 million (Dh239m). That’s one pretty lucrative feud right there. Azealia Banks, take note.

artslife@thenational.ae

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