Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


IN THESE PERHAPS overly nationalistic times, it seems appropriate to review national characters, emblematic personages of the world. Plenty of countries get by with a generic Mother This or Father That, but I’m interested here in more personalized entities.

Here are selected tidbits in Parts 1 and 2, today and tomorrow. To promote international goodwill, I list them alphabetically by country of origin.

Australia’s Little Boy from Manly. It was 1885, and Australia was embarking on its first overseas military adventure. Its Patriotic Fund received a £25 donation “with my best wishes from a little boy at Manly.”

The Little Boy from Manly, drawn by Normal Lindsay during Australia’s 1916 Conscription Referendum.

American-born Australian cartoonist Livingston “Hop” Hopkins transformed this Manly, New South Wales, kid into what Wikipedia calls “a symbol of Australian patriotism or, among opponents of the adventure, of mindless chauvinism.”

As so it is with other national personages.

Canada’s Johnny Canuck. Originating in political cartoons in 1869 as a younger cousin of Britain’s John Bull and the U.S.’s Uncle Sam, Johnny was wholesome and simple-minded, resisting the bullying of these and other guys.

An editorial cartoon, c. 1910. Guess who the wholesome one is. Or just look at his hat.

Johnny had good legs: He returned during World War II as a teenager fighting Nazis. In 1975, he reemerged as a Captain with superhero status, red and white tights, and a red maple leaf on the forehead of his mask. In 1995, Captain Canuck warranted inclusion in a series of Canadian superhero postage stamps. Two comic books of his adventures were published in December 2010 and March 2011.

France’s Marianne. Marianne is noteworthy as being beyond the generic Mother Wherever. She arose in the 1789 French Revolution as a symbol of freedom and of opposition to monarchy. Thus, Marianne’s reputation waxed and waned with changes in French government.

A First Republic Marianne, as displayed in the Luxembourg Palace, seat of the French Senate.

There were the First Republic (1792–1804), Napoleon I’s First Empire (1804–1814), Bourbon Restoration (1814–1830), July Monarchy (1830–1848), Second Republic (1848–1851), Second Empire (1852–1870), Third Republic (1870–1940), Vichy Government (1940–1944), De Gaulle Provisional Government (1944–1946), Fourth Republic (1946–1958), and Fifth Republic (since 1958).


Liberty Leading the People, by Eugène Delacroix, 1830.

Marianne isn’t the only one performing topless (c.f. Hermann the German in Part 2 tomorrow). ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019


  1. kkollwitz
    April 24, 2019

    Interesting bit from Wiki- “The official busts of Marianne initially had anonymous features, appearing as women of the people. From 1969, however, they began to take on the features of famous women, starting with the actress Brigitte Bardot. She was followed by Mireille Mathieu (1978), Catherine Deneuve (1985), Inès de La Fressange (1989), Laetitia Casta (2000) and Évelyne Thomas (2003).”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: