Vaguely Interesting Snippets | 17 December 2013

  • Only one cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church has ever been executed whilst serving in office. Cardinal Fisher wore the distinctive scarlet robes of the most senior ‘princes of the Church’. The scarlet is intended to remind the cardinals that they must be willing to sacrifice themselves completely to the church, even if that means shedding their blood. Few have faced violence – their standing in the church usually protected them from the anger of kings, parliaments and mobs. But Cardinal Fisher stood in the way of  the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon and this infuriated the king. He survived a series of assassination attempts before finally being executed by beheading in 1535.

  • The first published use of the term ‘Cold War’ was in an article by George Orwell entitled “You and the Atom Bomb”. The prescient piece was published in Tribune on 19 October 1945.

  • Chinese TV is covered by a series of restrictions on what can and cannot be depicted. Unsurprisingly, content which would stir up political tension is banned. Some of the other taboos are more surprising – according to the Economist, programmes depicting time travel are not permitted. Dr Who may be popular around the world, but is far too dangerously seditious for mainland China.