When Maxim Gorky arrived in the US in 1906…

When Maxim Gorky arrived in the US in 1906, he initially received a warm welcome. President Roosevelt, Mark Twain planned to meet him. But when it was reported that Gorky was accompanied not by his wife, but by his mistress, his hotel threw him out and he got cancelled. Gorky on a goodwill and fundraising mission for the Bolsheviks. But in 1906 this didn’t mean much to Americans.

It turned out the woman accompanying Gorky was not, in fact, Mrs. Gorky. She was Maria Andreyeva, a star of the Moscow Art Theatre. Sure, she was another ardent Bolshevik, but apparently that wasn’t the problem. She and Gorky weren’t legally married. That was the problem, considered by the media to be a moral blemish worse than anarchism. American morality, was made of different stuff.

The fork was once considered…

The fork was once considered immoral, unhygienic and a tool of the devil. The first dining forks were used by the ruling class in the Middle East and the Byzantine Empire. In 1004, Maria Argyropoulina, niece of the Byzantine emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII, was married to the son of the Doge of Venice. She brought with her a little case of two-pronged golden forks, which she used at her wedding feast. The Venetians were shocked, and when Maria died three years later of the plague, Saint Peter Damian proclaimed it was God’s punishment.